COVID-19 & Thanksgiving

By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, November 16, 2020


5 safer ways to celebrate at home

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the country, health experts are advising everyone to rethink their traditional holiday gatherings. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is with people within your household, according to the CDC.

While your Thanksgiving may look a little different this year – there are still ways you can make the holiday fun and festive for the whole family. Try these five ideas to create new Thanksgiving traditions for 2020:

DIY Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot running events are traditionally held in communities across the country on Thanksgiving Day. Whether your family has participated before or not, you can still go for a run or walk together while your turkey is in the oven. Make it more fun for the family by wearing festive costumes or walk like a turkey (or other animals) along the route.

Make a recipe together (apart)

Thanksgiving just doesn't feel the same without Uncle Jerry's stuffing or Grandma Barb's pumpkin pie. Distribute family-favorite recipes ahead of time so everyone can make them in their own home. Take it to the next level by hopping on a video call to prepare the dish together either on Thanksgiving Day or a few days in advance.

RELATED: Why family meals are important

Host a "side swap" 

Making an entire Thanksgiving meal is no easy feat. Let each household handle their own protein but ask each extended family member (or neighbor) to make their favorite side dish and arrange contactless drop-off at each other's homes. Consider these simple mashed sweet potatoes or easy roasted vegetables as your contribution!

Connect with technology

We may be far away from our family members this Thanksgiving but thankfully we have technology that can help bring us together. Schedule a time to connect on Thanksgiving Day over Skype, Zoom or another free platform. Access conversation starters or get game ideas from The Family Dinner Project's Virtual Dinner Party Guide.

RELATED: Gratitude challenge worksheet for kids

Share your gratitude

Remember: The purpose of Thanksgiving is to practice gratitude. Even though Thanksgiving is different this year, challenge yourself to still choose an attitude of gratitude. Pick one gratitude practice:

  • Write down 5 things you are grateful for in a journal
  • Share what you are grateful for aloud with your family
  • Let an extended family member or friend know you appreciate them through a call, text or video chat 

As you make plans for Thanksgiving and other winter holidays, consider how your plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Find more recommendations on holiday celebrations and small gatherings from the CDC here.