It is the relationship conundrum that launched a thousand squabbles: Whose family are you visiting for Zoom Thanksgiving this year?

Sure, you could drop by both families’ Zoom dinners. You could even invite the two families to one Zoom Thanksgiving if you are feeling particularly ambitious. But in this unusual year, you just might find comfort and meaning in keeping old holiday traditions alive. And no holiday tradition is older than debating which family should receive the gift of your presence.

Ready to stop bickering and start RSVPing? This discussion guide poses the questions that couples need to consider before virtual Turkey Day arrives.

Which family got Zoom Easter? Zoom Mother’s Day? Zoom Father’s Day? Zoom Fourth of July? Zoom Labor Day?

Your in-laws hosted Zoom Easter, Zoom Mother’s Day, and Zoom Fourth of July. Your parents hosted Zoom Father’s Day and Zoom Labor Day. The score is 3 to 2.

Think back to 2014—the year your parents got the holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Your third-cousin Alex clogged the toilet after Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone called what he had left in there the cornupoopia. The toilet was still wheezing when you returned for Christmas. The handle fell right off when you flushed on New Year’s Eve. And everyone blamed you for the handle fiasco even though it was Alex’s cornupoopia that had overtaxed the pipes in the first place.

Heed the lesson of the cornupoopia: Family functions can go awry when you fail to divvy up the holidays. And when you fail to buy a plunger.

Which family operates Zoom more skillfully?

Can you count on one family to arrive with cute Zoom backgrounds? Does the other family have a firmer grasp on how the “Mute” and “Start Video” buttons work? Which family will make the meal weird by sending you into a breakout room with relatives you do not remember? Is Aunt Patricia going to leave you in the waiting room for an hour like she did at her Zoom birthday party? Is Uncle Stuart going to smash the “End Meeting for All” button early in a repeat of the Zoom graduation mess?

What Zoom plans do your families have?

Different Thanksgiving moods call for different Zoom plans.

Imagine this: It is 8:00 PM. You have polished off the container of Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Oven Roasted Turkey Breast that you bought to avoid cooking. The tryptophan is kicking in. You are trying to think of anything to say to Alex other than, “Hey, remember the cornupoopia incident?” You are coming up short. You know so little about this guy. He lives in Seattle maybe? There must be something you can do with that. You once dated someone from Seattle. Never mind—you used that tidbit last year. Your eyelids are drooping. The little gallery view boxes are spinning. But wait! Your family has Zoom's Basic Plan! The 40-minute time limit is kicking in! Alex is signing off! Aunt Patricia is calling it a night!

Now imagine this: It is 8:00 PM. It is always 8:00 PM in these scenarios. No tryptophan is kicking in because the Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Oven Roasted Turkey Breast you ate is too processed to possess any real turkey properties. Your brother-in-law is explaining to his great-aunt that she can switch to gallery view by simply hitting Alt-F2. She is yelling back, “Alt-F2? Alt-FU!” This is exhilarating. You could do this all night. And you will! Because your in-laws have Zoom's Pro Plan!

Is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade still happening in some capacity this year?

This one is not relevant to your argument. I am just curious.

Is one of your families a Skype family?

Let's face it: You do not remember your Skype password. This is not the year of our lord 2006. Nanny McPhee is not in theaters. Keeping Up with the Kardashians is not in development at Bunim/Murray Productions and Ryan Seacrest Productions. The High School Musical soundtrack is not on the charts.

Will scrambling to reset your password minutes before your Skype Thanksgiving commences get you in the holiday spirit? No, not at all. Will seamlessly opening a Zoom link without ever needing a password give you a jolt of seasonal joy? Yeah, definitely.

Oh no—is your grandfather going to make the Pop-Pop Special?

This ketchup/pumpkin/garlic casserole is gelatinous yet crumbly, acidic yet syrupy, cohesive yet grainy. The dish introduced your niece Kate to the words “putrefying” and “rancid” and “fuckinghellBertnotagain.”

Legend has it (A.K.A. you started this rumor at Thanksgiving 2017 because you were bored) that this recipe is the very thing that clawed apart Alex’s insides and set the whole cornupoopia journey in motion.

On the one hand, you would not have to eat the Pop-Pop Special this year. On the other hand, you would have to look at it, and that would be a hell all its own.

Will your sister-in-law say things like “quaranbeans” and “Thankszooming” and “FaceThyme” and “social stuff-tancing”?

That might be fun. Take that into account.


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