How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving During the Pandemic

Thanksgiving 2020 just isn’t going to look the same, there is no way around that. With cases rising all over the world the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is predicted to bring in more cases.

After Canadians gathered for their Thanksgiving meals on Oct. 12, there was a sharp rise in the number of already climbing cases in the country in the subsequent two weeks (the typical incubation period for the virus is between 5 to 14 days). “Many of the cases that we are seeing now are the result of spread over Thanksgiving when families gathered together,” said Deena Hinshaw, the Chief Medical Officer for the province of Alberta in an Oct. 22 update.

This grim information does not mean that you can’t still enjoy turkey with your loved ones, it’s just an opportunity to think outside the box. It may inspire you to throw out the recipes you use every single year and opt for an entirely new menu OR order from restaurants who have been so desperately hurt over this time. Or you may be seeking just the opposite, wishing to replicate your traditions because you find them comforting in these uncertain times but worried to do it in person. Or, perhaps, you have family members that you’ve quarantined with or have all agreed to safely have a Thanksgiving together in person but with some precautions. Regardless of which camp you fall into, we’ve put together a list of low-stress ways to safely celebrate Thanksgiving amid the pandemic.

Virtually Gather Around the Table

Yes, we get it. We’re all getting a little tired of Zooms but we think this virtual call idea might be a little more fun and exciting then your typical sitting in front of your computer trying to focus on a tiny little box in a screen.

Start by enhancing your viewing experience by taking advantage of other larger electronics you might have. Do you have a large TV in your living room next to your kitchen? Broadcast your computer display on your TV and hook up your audio to your speakers, your far-away family will feel more life-size right away!

Is the best part of Thanksgiving for you the joy and frenzy of cooking together with family and friends? One way to re-create that feeling is for each household to prepare the same batch of recipes independently. Just share the recipes on a shared spreadsheet with an easy to use grocery list. Each family can buy the same ingredients and you can broadcast your cooking experience on the large TV you have set up in or close to the kitchen. And if you’re family is the competitive type why not have a little “who made it best” competition to really up the ante??

When the cooking is over sit down virtually and enjoy your feast all together. Don’t forget to incorporate your annual traditions like around the table/Zoom gratitude shares and breaking the wishbone.

Celebrate In Person with a Few Adjustments

If you do choose to get together in person with your family here are some ways to stay safe while enjoying your time together:

Dine Al Fresco –

If you live in a warmer climate, consider taking advantage of the nice weather by throwing an outdoor party. It’s easier for multiple people to gather at a safe distance outside, whether it’s a park or your own backyard.

Keep it Short and Sweet

The fact is, the longer you are together, the higher the risk. So have your guests arrive right before you serve dinner (see below for serving style suggestions) and take off right after pie. It may be short and sweet this year but silver lining is you might get to avoid some wine induced political discussions with Uncle Joe!

Swap out Family Style Serving for Plated Dinners

Unlike some germs, there’s no indication that COVID-19 can spread through food, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, one way to stay extra safe during your dinner is to have just one person serving and handling the food. The designated person should wear a face mask and gloves while plating to decrease any possible exposure. You can also use plastic silverware and paper plates – talk about an easy clean up.

Another way to minimize family style serving contact is to order in Thanksgiving dinner through your local restaurants.

Support your Local Restaurants

If the chaos of cooking doesn’t sound appealing this year why not cut yourself some slack and support your local restaurants who have been hit hard over the past 8 months. Restaurants across America are offering takeout Thanksgiving meal options. Simply order, pick up and just like that you have a 2020 Thanksgiving in front of you ready to enjoy! Added bonus, if you are doing a virtual Thanksgiving and your virtual guests have the same restaurant in their area, you can all order and enjoy the same thing. And make sure to send the establishment an extra Thank You for all that they do!

We WILL get through this pandemic and hopefully next year we will all have something extra to be grateful for as we sit around the table mask and worry free. But for now, we hope these tips helped bring some joy into this holiday season.

Read also:

Don’t Let your Menu go to the Dogs

Why Restaurants Shouldn’t ’86’ Marketing Efforts During COVID-19 – Top 5 Ways to Connect with your Guests

COVID-19 Relief is Emerging. Where to Turn for Help