Saying this year has been a doozy, would be an understatement. Between prejudicial hatred, police brutality, political unrest, and an uncontrollable pandemic, we’ve packed a decade’s worth of turmoil into one year. If I never have to hear the words, “unprecedented” again, I will be just fine. It’s no surprise that as the pandemic continues to rage on, our Thanksgivings are going to look very different. I’ve made the decision to not visit my family for Thanksgiving because they fall into the “high risk” category for COVID. It was a tough decision that none of us wanted to make but at the end of the day, the health and safety of my friends and family will always come first. You’re probably in the same boat. Weighing your risks and your options. I want to share a few ways that you can be socially responsible and celebrate a socially-distanced thanksgiving.
I know a Thanksgiving over zoom might sound lame but, it is still one way to be together and share in the spirit of the holiday. My extended family and I are planning on meeting for about 30 minutes on Thanksgiving and I would encourage you to do the same. You may be physically alone on Thanksgiving but you don’t need to be emotionally isolated.
Hold on to your family traditions
What’s the one thing that you do every thanksgiving? Do you watch the Macy’s Day parade? Maybe, it’s settling down after the meal and watching the big football game. Keep that tradition alive this year too. In a year full of sheer chaos and turmoil, a little routine will do your body good. I know that for me, I always like to watch football until I fall into a food coma.
Treat yourself to your favorite meal
Maybe turkey and pumpkin pie doesn’t do it for you. Treat yourself to something you enjoy. This day is still supposed to be a celebration! If you are looking to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal but you don’t want to do the heavy lifting, lots of grocery stores are offering pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal packages or individual plates. I personally bought a full Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods including an apple pie for under $100 and I have zero regrets about that!
Send each of your family and friends a personal message
This year has been a year of immense loss for so many. Take 5 minutes to privately message or call each of your family members to tell them why you love them and are grateful for them. The rewards will be two-fold. You will get joy from reminiscing about the great memories and your loved ones will know that they are appreciated in a year where you probably haven’t gotten to see them because you have been socially-distanced.
Write down the things you are thankful for
There have been so many things to mourn this year. It’s been easy to lose hope. Find the good in this year that you can appreciate. As a glass half empty type of person, my therapist regularly reminds me to list what I’m thankful for in order to remember all the things that are good in my life. Now more than ever, we need a mood-improving activity like this.
Stay Safe, Stay home
Will Thanksgiving be weird this year? Probably, yes. Do you have to forego celebrating it because you’re socially-distanced? No. Find the small joys that you can bring to the day and don’t dwell on the expectations of Thanksgiving’s past. Also if you start to feel depressed or disappointed remember, you are keeping your family and friends safe and healthy, and that in itself is a selfless act worthy of celebration.
How are you planning on celebrating this year? If you have extra tips for how to celebrate a socially-distanced Thanksgiving, please share them in the comments below.