A family surrounds a computer with Thanksgiving dinner on the table for Zoom Thanksgiving.

Is Zoom Thanksgiving Here To Stay?

The new tradition originated as a pandemic necessity for celebrating the holidays, but its convenience might keep it going for years to come.
November 21, 2021
7 mins read

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving has not been the same. The once huge gatherings around the dinner table have transformed into making small talk with immediate relatives, like a normal family dinner. Numerous people relied on Zoom Thanksgiving last year to stay connected with their long-distance family members. Let’s take a look at how Zoom changed the way Americans celebrate their top nine Thanksgiving traditions.

Top Nine Zoom Thanksgiving Traditions

1. First on the list is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year, the parade will return, and you can once again purchase tickets to see it in person. However, countless individuals that do not pick up tickets will still be watching it on their television sets at home.

2. The second tradition is to break that forsaken wishbone for good luck. Because of the recent travel restrictions, people were not able to engage in this tradition like they normally would. Zoom Thanksgiving made it possible to stay connected but impossible to take part in breaking turkey wishbones with long-distance relatives.

3. Third is the long-time traditional feast, consisting of turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussel sprouts, green bean casserole and, of course, who could forget pumpkin pie for dessert. Copious numbers of people who flocked to their parents and grandparents hoping to get out of the cooking for Thanksgiving Day were sorely disappointed when COVID-19 made it infeasible.

Instead, they were left trying to make it all on their own. People who have never cooked a turkey before were now struggling to make sure they did not overcook it and make it dry or undercook it and get people sick. This became a new turning point for individuals that normally stay away from the kitchen.

4. The fourth tradition is the after-dinner nap. Turkey contains tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin. Serotonin is then transformed into melatonin, a hormone in your body that helps induce sleep. This tradition, however, was not affected by COVID-19 or anything else. If you eat turkey, chances are you’ll get sleepy at some point. Zoom Thanksgiving or not, you can always take a nap after eating.

5. Thanks to Zoom, many people were also still able to take part in this fifth tradition: sharing why they were most thankful. Video calls made it possible to stay connected and see your loved ones, even if you were miles apart.

6. While tradition number six, watching an American football game, can be executed from anywhere, family members that butt heads over which team is going to win had to do it via video or phone rather than face to face.

7. Tradition number seven is a somewhat new version of Thanksgiving that’s been dubbed “Friendsgiving,” or getting together with nearby friends whom you consider family. Some people celebrate it on Thanksgiving, while others do it up to a week early or late. This year, even more people are participating in this newer holiday.

8. The eighth tradition is the turkey trot, where people gather to run together, which ranges from just around the block to up to half a marathon. Thankfully, this custom can be done both in style and in person once again this year.

9. And finally, at number nine is the dreaded (or delightful) Black Friday shop-till-you-drop holiday shopping madness spree. Because of COVID-19 and the changing perspectives on Black Friday/Thanksgiving evening shopping, more stores are closing for Thanksgiving altogether.

Many people are now choosing to shop online so they do not have to go out in the dark, cold morning to get that great deal. Meanwhile, some stores are making their items available before Thanksgiving, so you do not have to rush off after eating and you can spend time with your loved ones whether in person or on a Zoom Thanksgiving call. So, now that the Black Friday rush isn’t quite as craved and you’re left wondering what to spend the idle minutes doing on your Zoom Thanksgiving, call or check out this website.

Why Might Zoom Thanksgiving Live On?

Most Americans are once again still planning on a virtual Thanksgiving this year due to the COVID-19 delta variant. They will still do an online Zoom Thanksgiving to stay in touch with family members who live out of town, for safety reasons if nothing else. 62% of Americans are hoping for a more normal Thanksgiving, but that may not happen just yet. An unprecedented number of people are planning out their holidays earlier this year by way of Zoom Thanksgiving or other smaller group gatherings, meaning fewer trips to fewer houses.

Doctors have recommended getting fully vaccinated if you are going to travel for Thanksgiving this year. Several experts are explaining to the masses that if they are fully vaccinated, they can try to enjoy a more normal Thanksgiving. If you are worried about the delta variant that is still circulating, you can of course try out Zoom Thanksgiving. For people not vaccinated or concerned they will be around others that are not vaccinated, it is recommended that you: one, distance yourself like normal; two, use better ventilation, like opening windows or getting air cleaners for tight spaces; three, continue to wear your mask indoors; and four, limit the number of people you invite to your house. Keeping it small sounds like a winner.

I have heard from quite a few people that they plan to continue the new tradition of Zoom Thanksgiving. Firstly, it helps to keep costs down. If you do not travel, you save a ton of money on gas, tolls, train tickets, buses, airplanes, etc.

The second thing it cuts down on is dealing with those family members you just cannot stand: older aunts that love to pinch your cheeks, the cousin no one has a good relationship with or that in-law that just isn’t right for your family who keeps you biting your tongue. Hmmm, there is that. Good point.

Third, you can do things on your own schedule; because Thanksgiving is on Zoom, factoring in drive time is not a concern. These are all valid points to keep the Zoom Thanksgiving going.

So, no matter how you celebrate your Thanksgiving, the main thing is to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Make sure to try out a Zoom Thanksgiving if you feel the need to so that you can keep everyone happy and healthy while still seeing the smiling faces of your family and friends.

Angelica Rovinski, Arcadia University

Writer Profile

Angelica Rovinski

Arcadia University
English with a concentration in Creative Writing

I am a single mother of three girls. I enjoy reading, writing, bowling, camping and spending time with my family. My kids come first. I made the Dean’s List last semester.

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