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by Ellen Blake
There are no easy answers this year
This year, for the first time since we moved to Texas more than twenty years ago, we planned to travel to New York to join our extended families for Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving dinners are generally quiet, and though special with my husband, myself and our three boys, we miss the chaos of the holiday with our large, loud families.
We made our plans in April, confident Covid-19 would be long gone by November. We looked forward to seeing everyone in person instead of via zoom. It’s just not as much fun online. But here we are near the end of October, and the numbers of cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again.
Do we stay or do we go?
We really want to go; we have not seen our families since January. Also, we have elderly parents who do not do well with the isolation and really could use a visit. We certainly don’t want to spread germs to the older adults, both close to age 90 – but we do worry a lot about their lack of stimulation during this crazy time. We take strict precautions, but of course know nothing about those we might come across in the airport or car service. Do we go and try to keep some distance between us and family members? Or does it make more sense just not to go since we can’t quarantine for 14 days? Like all families this year, we have a difficult decision to make. Do we spend time with extended family, which is important to us, or keep strict Covid-19 protections in place?
How will you handle Thanksgiving in 2020?
How do you envision your holiday meal this year? How many people do you invite? Who do you invite? Do you eat together inside at the table? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the safest way to deal with Thanksgiving this year is to dine only with people who live in your own household.
Everyone has different comfort levels. If you are comfortable only around those who you are around often, like family members who live in your home, then don’t invite others to join you. Some people are back at work or perhaps college students; though they may take precautions, you don’t know the status of those with whom they interact daily.
If you are not in a high-risk category and can accept a little more risk, then you might relax a bit. Still, it’s not wise to invite more than ten people to your Thanksgiving table. And if at all possible, bundle up if the weather is cold and host your meal outside. Serve hot apple cider to help keep people warm.
Accept that Thanksgiving will be different this year
We made the decision not to travel to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. We are sad, but that’s what felt right for us. We plan to share dessert and coffee via zoom – -the whole meal is just too much. And to make the holiday a little more special, each family plans to prepare their favorite dessert and then send the recipe to all. It isn’t the Thanksgiving any of us want, but it can still be fun.
Don’t pass on the holiday altogether – make the best of it. The situation is difficult, but out of our control, so try to accept it, be grateful for what you do have and look forward to more traditional type of gathering in 2021.
Let us know how you plan to make your Thanksgiving special this year!