A pandemic Thanksgiving: Tips for a different kind of holiday

Thanksgiving 2020 may require we engage in nontraditional activities, due to Covid-19, including virtual gatherings and creative pastimes, such as puzzles and games. Photo by Tabitha Turner by Unsplash.
Thanksgiving 2020 may require we engage in nontraditional activities, due to Covid-19, including virtual gatherings and creative pastimes, such as puzzles and games. Photo by Tabitha Turner by Unsplash.

Long on tradition, Thanksgiving in the United States is steeped in generational recipes and a day of routines. United Methodists, as well as many Americans, may enjoy the comfort of the customs as much as the tasty food. But in the Coronavirus era, Thanksgiving, like most everything about our lives in 2020, requires some alterations to keep the day of thanks safe.

The Centers for Disease Control has published ways to celebrate with care, including what we already know: wear masks, wash hands frequently and follow the six-feet rule.

Check out these other suggestions that you may not have thought of yet for creating a festive holiday, despite Covid-19.

Enjoy a small dinner with only people who live in your household. If you’re used to cooking for 25, a scaled-down version will require a different plan. Serving fewer around the table, however, can have its advantages, so embrace the opportunity with these ideas. If the weather cooperates, consider moving your dinner outside.

Prepare traditional and favorite recipes for families and neighbors, especially those who may be more vulnerable, and deliver them in a contactless way (i.e., leave a disposable container on the doorstep).

Go virtual. Share recipes with friends and family for favorite dishes. Then gather online to share the meal together. Find tips here. One videoconferencing platform, Zoom, has removed its standard 40-minute time limit on Thanksgiving Day for free accounts. This means you can gather all the loved ones from all over the world and chat for hours. No travel required.

If holiday shopping is part of your Thanksgiving tradition, shop online rather than in person for maximum safety – and ease (i.e., no fighting for parking spots).

Watch sports event, parades and movies from home rather than in-person where gathering among crowds may put you at risk.

Start new traditions. Creatively consider what you can do this year to make the holiday memorable. Maybe you and those in your household can learn a new game to play after the Thanksgiving meal. Weather permitting, a walk at a park or in the neighborhood might be fun for your small group. Get out family photo albums for reminiscing.

At the core of your Thanksgiving celebration, keep the main thing the main thing. Call up loved ones to express your gratitude for them, mail out Thanksgiving cards, or participate in a gratitude activity, such as making a list of what you are grateful for and sharing the list with your family and friends.

“Give thanks in all circumstances,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, even a pandemic.

*Information compiled from various sources by United Methodist Communications. You may contact Crystal Caviness by email.

Article published on November 17, 2020.