Holding a group holiday dinner online is really fun! You get all the antics and hilarity, but you can turn it off. It is temporary. As a friend texted during his family seder, “I’ve muted them all and am sitting on my living room couch, just watching them.” See, you don’t even have to be eating. Just dial in.
Here’s how to do it:
- Invite people. Who do you know who’s isolated? Invite them, too.
- Menu plan. You can do a virtual potluck (each person in charge of a dish and otherwise improvising), or you can go easy and order in.
- Set up a monitor. Place it on the far side of the table so you can see everyone, and you sit on the other side. Pro tip: No one wants to watch you eat up close. The camera should be far back.
- Organize. Know that online gatherings are essentially like leading children: A lot of structure is required. If there will be more than five people, plan it out. You need:
- An opener: “Everyone show us your meal and your favorite part of it. I am going to mute everyone except the person who is speaking.” You go first, demonstrating a 15-second tour of your meal.
- A poem or prayer.
- Eating time, part 1 (this is an excellent time to praise or mock attendees’ culinary prowess).
- A group discussion: “Let’s go around and each say what our biggest challenge has been.”
- Eating time, part 2.
- A clean-up dance party (provide music).
- Dessert and/or drinking (“Who here makes you want to drink and why?”).
- An ending activity: “What’s your favorite thing about this group of people?”
- Egg hunt. Your virtual egg hunt plan.