Let’s Talk Thanksgiving Dinner and COVID-19

Let’s Talk Thanksgiving Dinner and COVID-19

November 3, 2020
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain

How do we do it safely? 

My favorite holiday pastime is watching my mom prepare a turkey the night before Thanksgiving dinner, to put it in the oven the next morning, and cook it all day until dinner time later that evening— just for all of our family to gather around the table and enjoy it together. Can’t you just smell it already?

Well, it smells like this year’s traditions are going to be slightly different. With Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade being virtual and football games being closed to spectators, we may have to find new traditions this holiday season. With flu season approaching and COVID-19 still lingering, it’s likely that families won’t be gathering as closely as we once were for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The CDC has released guidelines detailing how families can gather, but safely. Here are some tips to celebrating the holiday safely with family: 

  • Limit the amount of people in one location at one time. 

Covid cases are more likely to arise from indoor gatherings that do not offer proper social distancing. If you’re thinking about hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, try reserving invites for your immediate family, and think about inviting extended members of your family for a Zoom video pre-dinner drink instead. 

  • Follow social distancing guidelines and advise your guests of your safety protocols. 

Make sure your invited guests haven’t exposed themselves to the virus within the previous 14 days before Thanksgiving dinner, and don’t be afraid to ask family members to self-quarantine or limit their possible exposure for 14 days leading up to Thanksgiving. 

When your guests arrive, ask them to properly wash their hands using soap and water, and have hand sanitizer, as well as extra masks, available for use. Also, try having one person serve the food using proper protective equipment, like gloves and a mask. This way you avoid multiple hands touching the food. These precautionary measures will only benefit and ensure your family’s safety. 

If you’re co-parenting and you’re unsure if your co-parent’s family or friends have had any exposure to Covid-19 or anyone else with Covid-19, be sure to discuss your concerns. Make sure you are both on the same page in terms of precautions for the safety and well-being of your child(ren). Keep in mind that everything is for their best interests. Don’t be afraid to ask where dinner is, who will be present and what precautions will be in place to limit exposure. 

  • Try accommodating dinner outdoors. 

The bigger the dining space, the better! If the weather is nice, think about having an early dinner in the yard or on the patio. Maybe think about renting an outdoor heater for the day so everyone stays cozy and warm. The less time groups gather indoors, the less risk of exposure and the easier it may be to social distance. 

  • Limit traveling. 

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, make sure to check the updated travel guidelines to make sure you’re not traveling to a hotspot, and potentially exposing your family to the virus. Avoid traveling through airports to get to your families. If you can drive instead, that may be a safer option. The safest option, of course, is always to stay home altogether. 

  • Create new traditions with your family. 

If having your traditional dinner at home or traveling to see your family isn’t ideal for you and your family this holiday season, try creating a new tradition to bring back the excitement of the holidays. Maybe cooking dinner for someone that’s high risk and can’t go see their family, and leaving it at their doorstep. Take a trip to a pumpkin patch or orchard. Maybe even share your Thanksgiving recipes with your family and friends so everyone can enjoy the same foods at home, and no one is missing out on grandma’s stuffing and auntie’s mac and cheese!