03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Mar 19, 2012

Happy Digital Thanksgiving

Each year, the milestone moments remind me that things are changing fast, and digital is emerging as the new way we learn, share and engage the world around us.
Now, Thanksgiving may seem like the least likely of the Digital Holidays. After all, for Christmas we've been tracking Santa on the Web for years, and e-commerce has replaced the slog to the mall for many of us.

But Thanksgiving, how can that be digital? After all it's about tastes, smells, family and food -- right?


Well, for those of you just discovering a Digital Thanksgiving, here's a beginners guide to going digital for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

1. The Food

Unless you're one of those folk who's going to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the local diner, chances are you're going to end up cooking something. For some that means a side dish, for others it's the whole turkey (or vegan Thanksgiving alternative). So, the question is, just where does this knowledge come from? It used to be it was handed down from generation to generation. Now, as families are spread around the country and the globe, it's harder to get a cooking lesson from Grandma. So the Net arrives to fill the gap. Video is fast becoming the teaching tool -- and entrepreneurs are filling in where Grandma once was.
One such foodie-entrepreneur is StreamingGourmet's Amy Wilson, a San Francisco-based former journalist. For her Thanksgiving Video Roundup, Wilson has assembled collections of the best videos from across the Web in the following categories: Turkey, Stuffing, Sides, Apple (pie ) and Pumpkin (pie ). Wilson's site offers scrolling thumbnail selections on Thanksgiving Turkey Video Collection; Stuffing; Side Dishes; Apple and Pumpkin Dessert.
Wilson is not alone in her culinary online video world. The number of Internet entrepreneurs and mainstream magazines making the move to web video is dramatic. Other great User-Generated food sites include Reader's Digest Taste Of Home site, as well as and epicurious.
And of course, Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes can be found here.

2. The Experience

If you can be in New York, there's no better way to enjoy Thanksgiving than standing in the cold and watching the Parade, the marching bands, and the balloons float by. But if you can't be there in person, here's a way to experience the Parade live from street level: it's Earthcam's Times Square web cam view: If you're looking for a bit of pre-parade activity, you can start here for a great collection of videos and highlights from last years parade. In addition to Miley Cyrus, the following are among the 2009 Macy's Day Parade Performers:

  1. Julie Andrews
  2. Laurie Berkner
  3. Chris Brown
  4. Cheyenne
  5. Ciara
  6. Diana DeGarmo
  7. Gloria Estefan
  8. Renee Fleming
  9. Grandma from the Big Apple Circus
  10. Natalie Grant
  11. Hall & Oates
  12. The cast of Disney Channel's High School Musical
  13. Jonas Brothers
  14. Josh Kelley
  15. Darlene Love
  16. Barry Manilow
  17. Sarah McLachlan
  18. Miss U.S.A 2006-Tara Conner
  19. Sandi Patty
  20. John Tartaglia

3. The Sports

Associate Content reports that On Thanksgiving Day itself, there will be several different football games to view. As per the Thanksgiving tradition, the Dallas Cowboys take to the field battling the New York Jets. Currently, the Cowboys have a 6-1 record under new head coach Wade Phillips. Tony Romo brings great life to this team as he leads the team down the field. Terrell Owens has also opened up possibilities for this team. That combination of offensive force makes for some great football.

4. The Family Far Away And The Recovery

Of course, not everyone can drive or fly to be together for the holidays. So here's a chance to put your web cam and iChat or Skype account to use. While it may seem a bit like sci-fi, the fact is that grandparents and grandchildren can connect via the Web -- and it's the next best thing to being there. So log in and start video chatting.
And after all that visiting, and eating and sports watching, odds are you're feeling sleeeepy. reports: "The turkey is often cited as the culprit in afterdinner lethargy, but the truth is that you could omit the bird altogether and still feel the effects of the feast. Turkey does contain L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect. L-tryptophan is used in the body to produce the B-vitamin, niacin. Tryptophan also can be metabolized into serotonin and melatonin, neurotransmitters that exert a calming effect and regulates sleep. However, L-tryptophan needs to be taken on an empty stomach and without any other amino acids or protein in order to make you drowsy. There's lots of protein in a serving of turkey and it's probably not the only food on the table. "
Each year, the traditions and connections of our lives and holidays make the transition from analog to digital. This year, having a Digital Thanksgiving is easier than ever. So use the links above, gather round the laptop -- and start cooking!