PEKIN, Ill. - Thanksgiving is often a time we gather together and celebrate our thankfulness for our family and friends. We know many people will not be able to gather with extended family and friends in person this holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development staff offer a few great ways to share your gratitude and connect with those near and far this Thanksgiving:

  • Call a relative and tell them why you are grateful for them
  • Set up a Zoom call or Google Meet to virtually gather with friends and family.  Use some conversation prompts, such as “Gratitude conversation starters” ( to express your gratitude together and learn a lot about each other as well
  • Write notes to your family members and share something you are thankful for or a favorite memory that involves them.
  • Create a shared experience. Encourage family/friends that would normally all be together to make a special recipe you all enjoy wherever you are, write a Thanksgiving poem everyone can read, or create a playlist of music everyone can listen to. Ask everyone to take a photo of them enjoying the recipe or reciting the poem.
  • Read a book together – have someone pick out a favorite Thanksgiving book and read to family on a virtual chat.
  • Grateful scavenger hunt – on a virtual chat, have each person find something (a photo, a memento, etc.) of something they are thankful for.

For more information about the physical and psychological benefits of being grateful and incorporating gratefulness into your daily life, check out:

SOURCES: Judy Schmidt and Emily Schoenfelder, 4-H Youth Educators serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties