Thanksgiving Celebrations – Pandemic Style

Since this year’s holiday celebration will probably be a little different, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Be flexible and change it up a bit to keep your celebration be meaningful and safe this year.

Focus on gratitude

Ask every family member to share one thing they are grateful for each day of November. Depending your family’s size and distance, share via post-it notes on the fridge, text messages, social media, or at the dinner table.

Share with others

Drop off a favorite dish, a card of encouragement, a holiday decoration, a poinsettia plant, or a DVD of a favorite holiday movie to someone at higher risk and not able to get out much. Consider doing this once a week as a family-taking turns to think of people and small gestures that would make their day.

Host a virtual dinner with a video

  • Coordinate the time and menu and share recipes ahead of time. That way, you can all enjoy a few of the family favorites together.
  • If you live nearby, have each family prepare a dish, divide into portions, and meet in a contact-free way to divvy up the goods. Then simply heat back up in individual homes and enjoy together.
  • Prepare a special holiday toast to share what you are most thankful for.

Order a meal to go

Sometimes the stress of cooking a large meal from scratch is just too much. Many restaurants and grocery stores offer family-sized meals to-go. You’ll be stress-free and supporting local businesses. 

Play or watch games together virtually  

There are online games available for free. This site did a good job listing them:

If you’re more of a football family, gather around your perspective TVs and video chat or group text to root for your favorite teams.

For techy families

Have each family create a slideshow or video of the things they’re thankful for. Share on Thanksgiving Day.

For the kids (young and old)

  • Make “thanks” calls. Help your child make a list of people to call, email, or text and express their appreciation to on Thanksgiving.
  • Make “thank you” signs for essential workers, healthcare heroes, first responders, teachers, and others and place in your front yard.
  • Paint rocks with messages of gratitude, then on Thanksgiving Day, go on a walk together and leave the rocks for others to find and enjoy.
  • Find a COVID-safe way to give back to your community by volunteering, donating, or meeting a special need.

In-person gatherings

The Center for Disease Control has put out a pretty extensive list of guidelines to stay safe if you are gathering in person this year.

Focus on what you can do

However you decide to celebrate the holidays this year, get excited and put your energy into the things you can do to make the season special.

About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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