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How to make the most of a virtual Thanksgiving

From setting up a virtual background, to going over proper video call etiquette, it's important to be prepared for a 2020 Zooms-giving.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Thanksgiving in 2020 will look different for many families. Some may be opting to host a Zoom get together with friends and family instead of meeting and eating in person.

But, having a "Zooms-giving" doesn't mean the traditions can't continue virtually.

This year, instead of family around the table, it may be your laptop. Meeting with family through a screen is different, but a Zooms-giving doesn't have to be like your regular work conference calls.

Find ways to make it enjoyable and plan ahead.

You can spice up your calls with a customized virtual background, transporting you to a designer home, the beach or even outer space.

To accomplish that, all you have to do is find an image you want to use, go to your video call window, click the up arrow next to your video icon and select "choose a virtual background."

Then, click the plus sign to find your picture you just downloaded, and all of your virtual background dreams come true.

Also, decide if you want to spend the whole Thanksgiving dinner talking with your family, or maybe you just want to do "shifts."

You could join a Zoom room for a pre-meal blessing or come together to talk about what you're thankful for at some point.

You don't all have to be eating the exact same things, which can either be a relief or a whole new challenge. Whether you swap recipes with family or order takeout, anything goes.

Whatever you decide to do, just making time to at least see family, even if it is through the screen, is something that may help get you through the holiday.


While video calling may seem like second nature at this point, there are some etiquette tips you need to know before logging in for a Zooms-giving.

Just because you know how to operate the video call, doesn't mean your other family members do.

Here are some etiquette tips to get you through a successful and hopefully not stressful Zooms-giving.

First tip: the mute and video buttons are at the bottom of your screen. If they are off, there will be a red line through the icon.

If you can't hear other people, check to make sure your volume is turned up on your phone or computer.

Next: don't keep your microphone on all the time, especially if you are actively eating food or you have a loud background. No one wants to hear that.

If you are the host of the meeting, you can go in and mute people on your own.

Another tip: don't talk over others when they are talking. This should be a no-brainer, but it's important to let others speak and unmute yourself when it's your turn to talk.

Finally: don't do embarrassing things on camera or start fights through the screen.

The holidays are a lot anyway, so instead, just be happy to be with each other and be on your best behavior.