Thanksgiving Unplugged: How to Host a Device-Free Dinner in 2023

November 16, 2022 5 min read

Thanksgiving dinner without devices

Disconnect to Reconnect

You know the drill - phones ringing non-stop, everyone snapping and posting selfies, and texts buzzing through Thanksgiving dinner.

But this time you're wanting something different: a calm, phone-free Thanksgiving dinner. Well at SLNT we're totally on board with that and here to back up your no-device dinner plans.

Let's chart a course back to what truly matters: the warmth of gathering, the richness of conversation. In our digitally-saturated world, where screen time often usurps family time, a device-free holiday isn't just nostalgic, it's necessary. Let's embrace the spirit of the season by disconnecting from our devices to reconnect with each other. Let's switch gears from screen time to face time…No, not that 'FaceTime'!

The Case for a Screen Break: A Look at the Stats

We're spending more time online than ever before

It's time to consider these figures not as mere trends but as indicators of a need for change. The holiday presents a prime opportunity to counteract this digital overload by consciously choosing to disconnect from our devices. By doing so, we're not reverting to a bygone era; we're taking a proactive step towards improving our mental health and enriching our relationships.

Moreover, research suggests that limiting screen time can lead to better sleep, improved focus, and stronger interpersonal connections. Embracing a tech-free Thanksgiving could help us rediscover the joys of in-person interaction and re-establish a healthier balance between our online and offline lives. Let this Thanksgiving be more than a festive gathering, let it be a respite for our minds and a reset for our habits.

Here are some practical tips to help you lead the charge toward a truly connected holiday.

Prepare a Plan

Proclaiming a 'no phones allowed' rule on Thanksgiving could lead to a real-life family version of 'The Hunger Games.' To avoid the rebellion, it’s wise to start the negotiations early.

Instead, contact adults and kids beforehand to ensure everyone is comfortable with giving up their phones for a certain period. You could create a timeframe around Thanksgiving dinner where everyone agrees to go completely screen-free

But remember, clear and open communication is essential if you want everyone on the same wavelength during the holiday dinners. Get ready to discover more about your family, and be open to making compromises. Also, make sure to express to each other what genuinely matters to you during the holiday season.

Tech-Free Zones: Establish areas of your home as device-free havens.

Faraday Bag Station: To add a layer of excitement to your tech-free Thanksgiving, consider setting up a 'Tech Check-in' station featuring SLNT's Faraday bags. These innovative bags are crafted to block all signal transmissions, ensuring that phones and devices within them are completely isolated from the digital world for as long as they're enclosed. It's an interactive twist to your gathering — consider a friendly wager where the last family member to reach for their phone might be on dish duty!

Faraday bags offer a novel way to ensure that everyone fully embraces the screen-free experience. By physically securing your devices in these bags, you eliminate the temptation to look at your phone. It's a lighthearted way to reinforce the importance of the digital detox and keep everyone engaged in the moments that matter most.

turning off devices for thanksgiving dinner

Crafting the Perfect Tech-Free Table

Conversation Starters: Place conversation cards on the table, with prompts ranging from light-hearted trivia to deeper questions reflecting on the past year. It keeps everyone engaged and ensures phones are the last thing on anyone's mind.

Designate a Photographer: To avoid everyone having their phones out to capture the moments, designate someone as the official photographer for the day. This person can be in charge of taking photos and sharing them with everyone later. This way, everyone else can focus on enjoying the moment rather than capturing it.

Lead by Example: In your role as the host, setting a tech-free tone can be as simple as leading a toast without your phone in hand. Tuck your digital devices away and let your attention to your guests be the signal to power down. Your example will resonate more than any rule, and your phone-free focus might just be the highlight that turns into a cherished tradition. After all, the best hosts are the ones who are truly present.

After we’ve feasted, let’s dish out some real talk about how unplugging has plugged us right back into what’s important. And why stop at Thanksgiving? Let’s carry this tech-free spirit through the whole year.

Maintaining the Connection

Reflect Together: After dinner, initiate a group reflection. What was different about this year's gathering? How did disconnecting affect the experience? This can help set the stage for new traditions and a reevaluation of our relationship with technology.

The Benefits of Boredom: Challenge the negative perception of boredom. Discuss how downtime without screens can spark creativity, encourage deeper conversations, and lead to spontaneous and memorable moments.

Digital Detox Debrief: Consider a post-Thanksgiving digital detox debrief where everyone shares their feelings about the experience. This not only reinforces the message but also builds a communal spirit of mindfulness regarding tech use.

Closing Thoughts

As you embark on your tech-free Thanksgiving journey, it's important to remember that perfection isn't the goal, meaningful connection is. While you can strive to create the ideal atmosphere for your holiday dinner table, it's essential to be open to compromise.

Consider collaborating with various family members to find a balance that meets everyone's holiday wishes. Your ideal holiday dinner may involve a complete ban on phones, but what about music? Perhaps allowing some Spotify tunes can set the mood and make lulls in conversation more comfortable.

You might decide that phone use is permitted until the food is served or after everyone has left the dinner table.

Our device-free Thanksgiving isn't just about one day; it's a springboard toward more mindful tech use. Encourage your family to continue this practice by using a SLNT Faraday bag. Simply slipping your device into one of these bags can eliminate distractions by blocking all notifications, helping you focus on the world around you and the people you share it with.

As you plan your tech-free holiday dinner, remember that SLNT is here to support you every step of the way. Embrace the opportunity to slow down from the holiday hustle and truly connect with your loved ones, free of digital interruptions. Wishing you a warm and joyous holiday season from everyone at SLNT!

Join the Conversation

Did you take the plunge into a screen-free Thanksgiving? Share your stories, challenges, and victories with us - email them or tag us on Instagram @goslnt #gosnt - your experiences might just inspire others to try a digital detox of their own!

We strive to offer helpful guides & ideas to our readers, now it's almost Thanksgiving; we thought this would inspire some of you!