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Different Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving During a Pandemic

November 17, 2020

We’re all preparing for the holidays to look a little different this year, and Thanksgiving dinner is no exception. You may be able to gather a few of your closest friends and family, but we’re going to have to make tough calls about who not to invite this year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still surging, it’s time to flip our Thanksgiving traditions on their heads and try a few different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

4 different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving during the pandemic

It’s important to reconnect with family members we haven’t seen all year for various reasons, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Here are four ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 but still celebrate Thanksgiving together.

Virtual table

An obvious alternative to meeting in person is hosting a Zoom call for your family. Once everyone agrees on a time, try placing your laptop either at the head of the table or on a lazy Susan in the middle of the table so that it can rotate and face the person speaking. Host a practice call with everyone before Thanksgiving to work out any technical kinks.

Share the sides, enjoy together

Rather than cooking a huge feast for your household, what if you split the duties? Ask the people who would normally come to your house to prepare a side dish and portion it out to share. Each household would be responsible for their main dish (turkey, chicken, etc.), but this way you can enjoy each other’s cooking together.

Schedule designated drop-off times for each household to ensure safe distancing.

Bring your own food to a picnic

Weather permitting, you could plan an outdoor Thanksgiving picnic where everyone brings their own food and drink. This can also be done on a patio, under a pavilion or on an enclosed patio with good airflow. This way, you don’t have to do all the cooking and you can still be around your loved ones.

Send or deliver orchids

The usual Thanksgiving host may feel a little down about not having the whole family over this year. Let the host know you’re thinking about them by sending a beautiful orchid to serve as a centerpiece or decoration that will last well into the holiday season.

Alternatively, order a 12- or 24-pack of mini orchids to leave on the doorstep of each family member’s house. Decorate the pots or add tags that look like place settings to substitute missing out on the real thing.

Thanksgiving together but separate

If you’re hosting at home, require your guests to wear masks when they’re not eating, maintain 6-foot social distancing as much as possible, and to wash hands before and after eating and trips to the restroom. Open windows slightly to keep air flowing, and switch your HVAC system to continuous airflow to ensure the air keeps circulating.

Here are more safe ways to celebrate Thanksgiving from the CDC.

We’re still in this together and by practicing these safety guidelines, we can still have a happy Thanksgiving.

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