As 2020 pushes on, we begin to enter unchartered pandemic waters: holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and so is the anxiety of planning a family holiday during the COVID outbreak. Turkey day will likely look different than in years past, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bust. We put together some ideas of how you can celebrate Thanksgiving during a pandemic, even if you’re miles away from your loved ones.
- Dine together virtually.
Many states are offering guidelines on who should gather for the holiday. Many attendance recommendations suggest it should be immediate family members only, leaving the spare bedrooms empty for those who would often travel to join the festivities. And while we can’t fully mimic Aunt Betty’s wet kisses and Uncle Lewis’ jello molds, there are ways we can feel as if we’re under the same roof.We are fortunate to live in an era where technology is at our fingertips. Most will agree that in-person holiday traditions cannot be topped but the ability to virtually connect is better than nothing. Whether it be while you’re cooking, for the grand toast, or during the feast; broadcasting your family who is doing the same thing can bring you together.
Hint: If possible, stream the feed on a TV or computer screen to give it a more in-person feel.
- Organize a meal exchange.
One of the best parts of hosting a family dinner is dividing and conquering. Many family members get an opportunity to showcase a culinary specialty by bringing a dish of their choice. If you live within driving distance of your family, there’s no reason to stop this tradition and a meal exchange among families is still a possibility.Google Sheets is a great resource to allow organized planning from a distance. Put together a menu, a list of items needed for dinner, or start with a blank template and share the link with family. This allows each member to sign up for a dish and prevents the risk of having duplicate sides.
When Thanksgiving morning comes, have one member of each household drive around or meet in an agreed-upon location to do an exchange. This allows for every extension of the family to enjoy the delicious and unique platters put together and provides a feeling of togetherness.
- Ship tradition.
In America, it’s not uncommon to have families span thousands of miles. States apart and time-zone differences may hinder your opportunity to organize a FaceTime or socially distanced meal exchange. But the one thing that will surely be missed? Nanny’s homemade pumpkin pie that no one can replicate.While it can make more work for those who participate, the ability to ship a temperature-controlled package gives a great opportunity to bring traditions across state lines. If your famous side dish will be missed from the family gathering, consider safely packing it up in Tupperware and sending a piece of home across the country.
- Single servings instead of a buffet.
Many thanksgiving meals involve an elaborate buffet of all our favorite holiday traditions: mashed potatoes, creamed corn, yams, turkey, and the list goes on. The family lines up in an orderly fashion to load their plates with the delicious goodness, licking their fingers along the way. Most years, we wouldn’t have it any other way, but not during a pandemic.This year consider delegating the position of head chef. The head chef can serve up all the dinner favorites for each family member, helping to prevent any potential cross-contamination around the dinner table.
- Go untraditional.
You’ve heard it a million times. 2020 has been anything but traditional. So, if the inability to gather with loved ones has got you down, why not go with the untraditional flow and try something new that may brighten your holiday a little bit.Have you been dying to make fondue at home? Go for it! Had your eye on the new Thai place in town that happens to be open for the holiday? Order takeout! Looking to spend your day giving back? Volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen!
If you’ve ever had an untraditional holiday bucket list, this year may be the year to check the boxes. Do something that makes you happy this Thanksgiving, while keeping you and your loved ones safe.
This year probably won’t look like what we are accustomed to but remaining vigilant is critical during a pandemic. We will all miss the chaos, laughter, and memories that fill the walls of our home during the holiday season but can look forward to the brighter days that are ahead. And if you do plan to travel, cook, or participate in any form of traditional holiday celebrations, don’t forget about these Thanksgiving Tips.
From our Seltzer Group family to yours, have a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving holiday!