Ahh Thanksgiving. Family, turkey, mashed potatoes, pie, and football are some of the traditions American’s look forward to enjoying every year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still present and many areas are seeing a spike in cases. Things are going to be different this year. Especially for those who are used to travelling far to visit loved ones. The CDC states that Thanksgiving travel increases the chances of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Not to mention if you are travelling from a hot-spot state, you may need to quarantine before or after travelling.
Family gatherings may be putting loved ones at risk this year, especially grandparents and elder relatives. If you must travel, the CDC insists that you must avoid these activities in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These activities include:
- attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your house
- participating or watching a crowded race
- attending crowded community gatherings such as parades
- going to crowded shopping stores
- and sharing food and drinks with relatives or people not in your household
There are ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that the CDC recommends to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Rethink dinner plans (low/ moderate risk)
Most Thanksgiving celebrations revolve on eating a big meal together with the people that you love. Everyone gathers around to enjoy good food together and give thanks for the great things in life. Here are some safer alternatives:
Virtual dining (Low risk)
This is the best and safest option to connect with the people who cannot travel to spend Thanksgiving with you. Set up a time to eat over Facetime, Skype, or Zoo. You can even celebrate the annual traditions virtually such as asking everyone what they are thankful for or sharing a favorite memory. Virtual dining is a great way to catch up with the ones you love in a COVID-19 friendly matter.
Eat with housemates (low risk)
Eat with the people in your household. The gathering may be smaller than usual but that doesn’t mean you cannot go all out. Make your favorite dishes and enjoy eating great food with the people closest to you. Sharing food with your housemates can be comforting during this crazy time.
A good idea is preparing dishes for family members or neighbors who do not live with you and are at higher risk for COVID-19. You can deliver a pie or some mashed potatoes to their door step. Interacting with others is essential for our well being in order to maintain some healthy connections. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness have increased as a result of the stress of the pandemic.
The holidays are a time where family and friends come together. Prioritize relationships during this time because the pandemic has reminded everyone that we are all in this together.
Have a small outdoor dinner (moderate risk)
If dining with your household is not going to cut it, the CDC encourages people to host an outdoor meal with a small group or family or friends who live in the neighborhood. Have rules implemented still and keep gatherings to having no one with symptoms. Remember to remind guests to wear a mask, distance, and wash hands.
Visit a fall farm (moderate risk)
Google pumpkin patches or orchards near you and get in the Thanksgiving spirit! Most of these farms have implemented COVID-19 rules such as wearing a mask, distancing, and using hand sanitizer. Pick apples and pumpkins and enjoy this experience as a family. Find a spot on the farm to sit with the ones who are close to you and reflect on the meaning of the season. You can still enjoy the benefits of Thanksgiving in a safe matter.
Relaxing and watching TV is a must for many on Turkey Day. While it may not be entirely possible to attend events, parades, local football games, or other gatherings; snuggle on the couch with your favorite people and some cozy blankets. Watch Christmas movies or NFL as the smell of mouthwatering turkey fills the room.
Feelings of belonging allow people to feel a sense of community. Even from a distance, people and friends can enjoy the sense of community. Remember if you decide to go outside on Thanksgiving to local sports events to keep your distance, wear a mask, and hand sanitize. If you always shop on Thanksgiving and the day after with family and friends, get together via Zoom or Face time and online shop at your favorite stores. You can all browse the best sales together while having yummy seconds from Thanksgiving dinner.
Overall celebrating Thanksgiving and other holidays are essential for our happiness and overall wellbeing. During these stressful and unprecedented times, it is hard not to feel anxious or down. It is important to know that coming together with the people you are close with on the holidays is a way to relieve stress and feel some sense of normalcy.