How to Celebrate Thanksgiving During COVID-19

Many families are trying to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving, given the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the past often involved a lot of family bonding and close contact that could put the spread of the coronavirus at risk this year.

Fortunately, the CDC has published a guide to alternative Thanksgiving ideas that can help you be careful as you enjoy a day of food, fun, and gratitude. Whether you choose to have a Thanksgiving dinner outside or are trying to decide how to celebrate Thanksgiving alone, here are some ways to make your celebrations COVID-friendly.

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What are the CDC guidelines on Thanksgiving celebrations?

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention It is clear that meeting someone outside your immediate home poses a high risk of spreading the virus. However, there are ways to minimize risk by doing all or most of the following:

  • Spending time outdoors instead of indoors.
  • Staying six feet or more away.
  • Wear a cloth mask to limit the spread of breath droplets.
  • Wash your hands often and clean surfaces more often than usual.
  • Stay home from all events if you feel ill or know you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year will be to take all of these tips seriously and switch parties and gatherings in response.

One notable point is that serving food made by someone else not shown to be the main spreader of COVID-19, so as long as cooks take normal precautions to keep their food hygienic, bringing and sharing dishes is not considered a major risk.

10 Ways to Have a Safe Thanksgiving During COVID-19

one. Make a small guest list.

The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving and minimize the spread of COVID-19 is to not have large groups, especially large groups from multiple households. Consider keeping your Thanksgiving celebration only for those who live in your home.

2. Host Thanksgiving celebrations in the backyard.

If you live in a place that still has reasonable outside temperatures during Thanksgiving week, you might consider having Thanksgiving in the backyard. People can talk from distant lawn chairs and enjoy dishes of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie at their outdoor Thanksgiving dinner.

Make sure your group is committed to the rules you want to follow ahead of time, such as wear masks as long as you don’t eat or drink, and maybe only having one or two people inside the house at a time to carry food or use the bathroom.

The best Thanksgiving backyard ideas involve thinking ahead about how you want to protect each other from the spread of the virus. Setting the standards can help everyone embrace the ‘new normal’ of meeting during COVID and not have to worry.

Outdoor Thanksgiving buffet with pumpkins, cakes, and fall decorations
svitlini / Shutterstock

3. Get creative about the heat outside.

When you discover the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving, you may find that you live in an area with a fairly cold climate at this time of year. There are still options. Renting or installing an awning can provide some protection from rain or snow, and one to three walls in the canopy It can reduce the wind without enclosing the space and trapping the flow of clean air.

Outdoor Patio Heaters they are a great idea to spend time outdoors. You can also consider making your meeting exciting. When you go on a hike, play Frisbee golf, or take a bike ride with the family, you expend more energy and stay a little warmer. Thanksgiving celebrations outside can be fun even when it’s cold.

Four. Use lots of disinfectant and cleaning wipes.

It is advisable for hosts to assume that they will need a few more containers than hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes or solution than usual. Stock up, without exaggeration, so that it does not run out.

5. Set clear rules about masks for in-person meetings.

If you decide to meet people in person, take your role as a host or hostess seriously. Let people know what the expectation will be in your home regarding masks, because it is so easy, after a glass of wine or a turkey dish, to feel like relaxing rules that are there to keep everyone safe. Allow yourself to be the strictest and you can keep the likelihood of the virus spreading much lower. Find ways to make it easier for everyone, like adding skins to your table settings.

Decoration and setting of the Thanksgiving table with masks for protection during the coronavirus
rawf8 / Shutterstock

6. Use video calling apps with built-in games.

While many people see Thanksgiving as food-centric, you can still share elements of family bonding even if everyone is in their own homes. Instead of a “normal” video call, look into some of the apps that make it easy for families to play games.

7. Have a video call while the big game unfolds.

If everyone in your family prefers to spend the afternoon watching their favorite soccer team play, just fire up a video calling app and chat and cheer while watching the game from everyone’s homes. You’ll still enjoy a bit of camaraderie, and you can even plan to make or order the snacks for the same game day!

8. Host a car celebration for those who are isolated.

One way to make someone’s Thanksgiving brighter is to come up with some pop-up Thanksgiving ideas for someone who is isolated. Have the family drive around the house, leave a breathless Thanksgiving gift close to each other, or place cards, decorations and festive messages in your yard.

Fall Leaves Garden Decor for Outdoor Thanksgiving or Fall Holidays
Gorlov-KV / Shutterstock

9. Plan carefully for overnight visitors.

If someone is coming to town from outside your home, make some plans on how to give them their own part of the house to minimize shared germs. You can also consider using a hotel (even if you normally don’t). Hotels are working very hard to keep rooms spotless right now and avoid in-person contact with things like mobile check-in, which can be safer than sharing a house or apartment with family.

10. Consider postponing or canceling if your area is at a peak.

It needs to be said: If your area is in the midst of many cases or a major spike in hospitalizations, consider the benefits of postponing or canceling the holidays. Even if you are fairly certain that no one in your group is vulnerable, it is part of everyone’s responsibility to stay safe.

If you are quarantined or unable to travel, here is how to celebrate Thanksgiving without your family:

Just because you have to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving without a family this year doesn’t mean you have to abandon the holidays. Here are some unique traditions you can start with, and who knows? You can find something new that you like for the future.

1. Write some thank you notes to those for whom you are thankful.

Instead of watching another show while you’re home alone, consider writing thank you notes or emails to those you care about. It’s a way to make an impact and make someone smile even when you’re figuring out how to celebrate Thanksgiving alone. The holiday element of gratitude is actually a source of joy for many people, and it can make it personal this year.

2. Choose shared recipes and make a video call.

If you and your family love the culinary element of the holiday, work together to select a few recipes online and prepare the exact same meal in your own kitchens. As you cook, stir, and serve, have an open video call with the other chefs in the family to chat in the kitchen, and then sit down to eat and talk about food together via video call.

3. Make your favorite Thanksgiving alternatives.

If, on the other hand, some Thanksgiving foods aren’t your thing, this is the perfect year to ditch them and replace them with something you love. It’s a great year to experiment and find the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The bottom line

It is best to assume that this year is not ideal for trips and indoor parties, unless all members of your family have the ability to quarantine 14 days at home before arriving at the party. Any meeting indoors, otherwise, carries some risk of spreading the virus. Consider how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely by creating new traditions, sharing memories through video calls, and focusing on showing gratitude to others.

Frequent questions


What are the safe Thanksgiving activities during COVID-19?


You can still prepare and eat great food, watch a game on TV, and even play silly games through a computer, all without having to have social contact through virtual celebrations. If you’re hosting meetings in person, consider holding them outdoors. You can also plan celebrations by car.


Should I travel on vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic?


Each point of contact with other people increases the risk of traveling on vacation, so think about interactions at airports, gas stations, restaurants, and other points of contact. Each makes travel less safe and more likely that you can transmit the virus.


How do I keep my spirits high during COVID-19?


Finding ways to care for others and express your gratitude to them can be a good way to encourage yourself. Creating new traditions – from an outdoor soccer game with your home to making homemade gifts for future winter vacations – can prevent sadness during social distancing.


Who is most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic?


While anyone of any age can become seriously ill, many of those most at risk are those over the age of 60, those with chronic respiratory or other health conditions, and those living in cohabitation situations such as nursing homes. .

Laura Leavitt is a writer and teacher in Ohio. He has written personal finance stories for Business Insider, The Billfold, The Financial Diet, and more.

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