How to Set Up a Thanksgiving Meal Exchange or Side Swap

There’s something interesting going on with my group of friends and even some families I know. With the COVID restrictions in place for gatherings and the “recommendations” to not gather for Thanksgiving, people are looking for ways to connect with their family members. Of course there are tons of ways to meet with your family virtually and celebrate a social distancing Thanksgiving, but what about those beloved holiday dishes?

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While it’s not too late to just call the whole thing off and order a full Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant, we’re planning something different this year. I miss my mom’s mashed potatoes and gravy, my husband’s grandmother’s cranberry ice and my father in law’s stuffing. We were looking forward to my sister in-law’s green bean casserole and I’m sure there’s something that I make that someone out there is wishing they could have a bit of.

We’ve been told time and again that it’s not likely that COVID can be transmitted through prepared food, so if no one in your household is sick, wash those hands and get to work! Let’s get together with our families for the holidays, separately!

Create a Meal Trade Sign-Up

Set up a shared Google document or put together an old fashioned email chain with a list of all of the parts of the best Thanksgiving meals. Allow friends or family members to sign up for their famed dishes, or assign the ones you know everyone can’t go without.

Pick-up or Delivery

Set a time when all of the parts of the meals should be ready, either on Thanksgiving day or the day before. One way to execute the meal distribution would be to have each person do a socially distanced drop on the porch of each family member so everyone can see one another, with family members stepping up to assist with those who are older and cannot get out. To save energy, coordinate your drop off with picking up that person’s contribution while you are there. You can also have all of the items delivered to one home and the “host” can assemble the bags and set them out to be picked up.

How to Package the Meals

Keeping in mind the number of family members each person represents, you’ll want to pack items up in containers that they can be heated in.

These aluminum pans with lids are the size we use for our family of six.

The pie pans with lids are a great size for packaging whole meals for reheating or smaller servings of a favorite side dish.

Be sure to add a little note with reheating or storage instructions.

Add a Virtual Sit Down Dinner to the Agenda

Set your own table and pull up the tablet or laptop and enjoy a family meal with your loved ones via a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Zoom has removed the 40 minute time limit for free accounts for Thanksgiving. Even Facebook has a great video platform through Messenger and Rooms. Toast to 2020 and being “together” as a family and then dig in!

How is your family celebrating this year?


2 thoughts on “How to Set Up a Thanksgiving Meal Exchange or Side Swap”

  1. Pingback: 10 Things To Know For Thanksgiving in 2020

  2. Pingback: 20 Ways to Celebrate a Socially-Distant Thanksgiving

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