As the reality sets in for all of us that the holidays are going to look a lot different this year because of COVID-19, it’s time to start thinking about how we’ll celebrate without the usual pomp and circumstance. Just like birthdays, graduations, and other special events have changed this year, so will Thanksgiving. There are still ways to make this day special and show the ones you love how thankful you are for them.
1. Share dinner with your loved ones over Zoom
Virtual meetups via Zoom and other apps have quickly become the norm during the pandemic. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends, while still staying safe. These virtual meetups will continue as we head into the holidays because they are an easy way to include your loved ones in special events.
Since most states are recommending that social gatherings be limited to groups of 10 people or less, and to restrict your gatherings to those who live in your household whenever possible, a big Thanksgiving dinner isn’t possible for many of us. Instead of setting out extra plates at the dinner table, we’ll be setting up devices where we can connect with our loved ones virtually. It’s not the same as being in-person, but it’s necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
2. Have an outdoor Thanksgiving picnic
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the weather is still warm this time of year, take advantage of that great weather and have your Thanksgiving dinner outdoors. The extra space will give you plenty of room to stay socially-distant from your guests, and the virus is less-likely to spread outdoors.
This is the perfect opportunity to fry up a turkey, or try something new like barbecued turkey breasts on the grill. Look at this as a chance to do something truly unique and to make memories with your loved ones that are sure to last a lifetime.
3. Host a small gathering with the proper precautions in place
Most of us are getting pretty good at following the CDC’s guidelines on keeping ourselves safe during the pandemic. They are recommending that you keep your Thanksgiving dinner limited to only those who live in your household.
If you choose to host a gathering with those outside of your household, they recommend that you:
● Limit the number of guests to as small of a gathering as possible.
● Have guests wear masks whenever they aren’t eating or drinking.
● When wearing a mask isn’t possible, space guests at least 6 feet apart to maintain
proper social distancing.
● Hold your gathering outdoors, if possible.
● If you must hold your gathering indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows and
doors, or by continuously running your HVAC system’s fan.
● Provide hand sanitizer and tissue to guests, and ask them to wash their hands upon entering the home and after using the restroom.
● Frequently clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and toilet seats.
● Use disposable plates and utensils, and dispose of any garbage immediately.
● Consider asking your guests to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to the gathering to limit
their chances of getting COVID-19.
● Ask your guests to not attend if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19,
including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
4. Perform a drive-by delivery of your Thanksgiving dinner.
If the thought of not cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner has you feeling down, don’t fret. You can still cook that giant turkey and mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes- just deliver it to your loved ones instead. Be sure to take precautions when cooking for those outside of your household by wearing gloves and a mask when preparing food, and ensuring that food is cooked properly.
Package all of the food up into disposable containers and load up the car. Make sure you let your loved ones know you’re stopping by to drop off food so that it doesn’t sit outside for a long period of time. Leave the food on the porch for them to grab once you are a safe distance away. You still get to cook up a storm, and your loved ones still get to enjoy your delicious food- all while staying socially distant.
5. Send something special to your long-distance loved ones
With many travel restrictions in place, traveling for the holidays is nearly impossible. If you still want to do something special for your long-distance loved ones to let them know you’re thankful for them, consider sending them a gift.
Doing so will not only show your loved ones you’re thinking of them, but it will also be supporting businesses that may be suffering during the pandemic. Some ideas on what to send include:
● Holiday cookies or other baked goods
● An edible fruit arrangement
● A few bottles of your favorite wine
● A fun Thanksgiving-themed apron they can wear while cooking
● A cookbook with delicious Thanksgiving recipes
● A gift card to help with the cost of Thanksgiving dinner
● A collection of your favorite holiday movies to get them in the spirit
● A pretty pie plate to hold their favorite pumpkin pie recipe
While this Thanksgiving will be anything but normal, it will give us all an opportunity to create new traditions with our loved ones. Keeping the ones we love safe should be our top priority so we can continue being thankful for them for many years to come.
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