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10 Tips for the Best Thanksgiving Video Visit

Written by James C. Lowery




Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and odds are you’ve got a lot of planning on your plate. But with all the busy preparations, don’t forget to include your incarcerated loved one in the festivities. Legacy’s video visitation lets your loved one experience the party as if they were there.  


Here are our top 10 tips for making this Thanksgiving’s home video visit a memorable one:


1.  Schedule early before the best time slots fill up. Chances are that most families will be sitting down to their thanksgiving feast around the same time. That means that you only have a few special hours on the big day. We recommend that you schedule far enough in advance to make sure your incarcerated loved one is included.


2.  Include the entire family! Now that you have your video visit scheduled, it’s time to get all the kids, siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles in on the fun. The best part about a holiday party is that you will already have the entire family and extended family in one location, at the same time. This is a rare opportunity for your incarcerated loved one to see and chat with a group of loving family members.

3.  Plan your menu early. Remember, planning makes perfect. When preparing your menu, think about your guests; how many will attend, how many are children, any food allergies, and beverage preferences. This will save you time and the headache when you go shopping.

Here are some helpful links for creative Thanksgiving recipes:

Real Simple: 24 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

All Recipes - Thanksgiving Recipes

4.  Make the decorations memorable. Your loved one’s environment is very plain. Give them something to reminisce about by making the decorations at your Thanksgiving party really pop. There are plenty of easy and affordable ways to make your Thanksgiving a day to remember. 

Here are some helpful links for creative Thanksgiving decoration ideas:

HGTV - Modern, Organic Thanksgiving Table Setting Tips and Recipe Ideas

Country Living - 35 Festive and Cozy Ideas for Thanksgiving Decorations

Midwest Living - 35 Ideas for Easy Thanksgiving Decorations

Pinterest - 1000+ Thanksgiving Table Settings


5.  Share upbeat moments and jot down a few fun and interesting topics to talk about as a backup. Try to avoid discussing the standard video visit agenda and keep the visit cheerful. Having a few pre-planned topics will be helpful in case there is a lull in the conversation. And remember to pass around the laptop so your loved one can interact with everyone at the party.


6.  Make sure all your equipment is in working order the day before the visit. The day before the visit test out your laptop, speakers, webcam, and microphone to make sure they are in working order.  This could save you time and unneeded stress on the day of the visit.


7.  Check your internet speed.  Having fast, reliable internet is important for every video visit. Check your internet speed in advance to make sure you have the proper connection for the best visit. We recommend using an Ethernet connection for the fastest connection, and a minimum of 3MBPS upload speed.   

Here is a great internet speed test site:


8.  Setup your laptop in a prime location. For your loved one’s best experience, make sure they are seated in a prime location where they can see everyone and everything. Make the laptop easily accessible for everyone.  This will help them to feel like they are part of the party rather than watching the party.   


9.  Get the cooking done early and never turn down help. Getting all your food prep and cooking done as early as possible is crucial to enjoying your party and video visit. Also, Thanksgiving is often a potluck affair, and that's the beauty of it. Let friends and family bring things, and don’t be afraid to delegate the parts of the meal that stress you out. 


10. Log in to your scheduled video visit on time. It’s the big day and it’s time to log in! Make sure you start the process a few minutes early. Remember your visit length is limited by the facility and will start promptly at the scheduled time.


Bonus Tip:

1.  Include your loved one in the planning and preparation of your Thanksgiving party. You can video visit with your loved one prior to the big day so they can help with the planning. Using their ideas for the party will help them feel more included. 


If you don’t have time to do a video visit, try using one of Legacy’s other communication services like sending a video message or voicemail. (First you’ll want to make sure these services are available at your facility). 

About Legacy Inmate Communications


Legacy is a nationwide provider and has been a leader in the inmate communications industry for nearly two decades, with headquarters in Cypress, California. The company has developed a number of state-of-the-art inmate communications platforms, such as iCON, WatchWord+, and iCONTracker. Legacy is unique in that it is a single-source provider, researching, developing, building integration, and implementing every aspect of its inmate telephone and video visitation systems. For more information, please visit: