Stay virtual connected with loved ones this Thanksgiving

FORT SMITH, Ark— Families across Arkansas will be getting together to celebrate thanksgiving this week but things will look different because of the health crisis. State Health officials warn this isn’t quite the time to hop around from home to home for dinner but there are creative ways to come together and not miss out on seeing your loved ones.

Owner of How Eventful, Stephanie Hoffman suggests making use of your outdoor space including your patios, garages and even turning your front porches into a dining space. Health Experts suggest when getting together in small groups being outdoors is better than being inside because of the increased airflow. Hoffman said grab your heaters, blankets and make it more comfortable.

Hoffman said you can also bring your loved ones into your home virtually this year. Whether you use a smartphone, IPad or computer you can connect with your family and friends while cooking or having dinner. Hoffman said get creative and play games together. Another idea is connect virtually for a toast and everyone can say what they are thankful for.

Virtual Thanksgiving tips

  • Set up and check device ahead of time
  • Connect to television
  • Use a speaker
  • Good lighting and angles

It’s not a bad idea to have a practice run especially for those family members who may not be so tech savvy. Also, Zoom is getting rid of its time limit on thanksgiving day giving families plenty of time to catch up and swap recipes.

Keeping the festivities within your immediate household is a safe way to celebrate and it will help cut down on how much you will cook and spend this holiday.

Hoffman said you can save more money by creating a simple menu where ingredients overlap in several dishes. For example, carrots can be used in salad, stuffing and be roasted as a side dish.

Don’t forget to make good use of your leftovers. Turkey can be used for sandwiches during the week and almost everything can be thrown into a pot for some soup. You can also pack a few meals and throw them in the freezer for another day.

Save money for Thanksgiving

  • Make budget and plan
  • Check your pantry before going to store
  • Buy generic brands
  • Limit menu to a few dishes
  • Look for deals and coupons

When it comes to decorations, Hoffman’s advice is to make use of the natural elements around you. Dried corn kernel makes a great filler in clear glasses, leaves and pine cones can also add to you festive fall decor.

This thanksgiving is happening during challenging times and these tips will help to stretch your budget and keep you connected with your loved ones.

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