Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s all about family coming together to celebrate what we’re thankful for. COVID-19 has made that difficult, if not impossible, this year. You don’t have to give up all of your plans, but it’s important to take precautions to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.
Here’s how you can safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
The Safest Way to Celebrate: Stay Home with Immediate Family
The absolute safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is not to go anywhere or visit with anyone beyond the people who live with you. You may miss the family traditions and fun, but you will also protect yourself, kids, and other family members from possible infection. There are plenty of things to do at home to put you in the Thanksgiving spirit:
- Plan a meal of all your Thanksgiving favorites with your family. Cook together if you can.
- Connect with family and friends via Zoom or FaceTime. Consider coordinating meal times so you can eat “together” too.
- Watch parades, football games, and other Thanksgiving specials on TV together as a family.
- Enjoy online shopping for Black Friday — avoiding both the pre-dawn wake-up and the crowds.
If you like to do something for your local community on Thanksgiving, consider cooking and delivering meals to friends, elderly neighbors, and others who may be alone on Thanksgiving. Leave the meals at their front door, ring the bell, and wave from a distance. You’ll be helping others while keeping everyone safe.
Take Precautions with Riskier Thanksgiving Celebrations
Because of how easily COVID-19 is transmitted, anything you do beyond your immediate family and in public carries certain risks with it. You can modify your behavior to reduce these risks, but you can’t eliminate them completely. If staying home simply isn’t an option, here’s what you can do instead:
- Plan a family gathering outdoors instead of inside. Cook outside and make sure you have room for people to spread out and maintain social distancing.
- When attending pumpkin patches, festivals, and other Thanksgiving celebrations, wear a mask, use hand-sanitizer, and maintain social distancing with others.
Visiting Family This Thanksgiving
There are special precautions you may want to take for visiting family, especially if you plan a long weekend together.
- Quarantine before the visit. This reduces the chance that you spread COVID-19 during the visit.
- Share a single space with family and then plan all activities in that space. Get a cabin, beach house, or small cottage to rent together and then hang out there, avoiding public spaces.
- Wear masks when not eating meals.
- If you drive, keep stops to a minimum and use masks and hand sanitizer.
- If you fly, the airplane itself may be very safe, especially if everyone follows mask requirements. The airport, however, may be a giant petri dish. Avoid flying if at all possible.
The safest thing you can do is to stay home this Thanksgiving. Keep your celebrations small and connect virtually instead of in-person. But if you decide to get together with friends and family, take precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.