Thanksgiving: Show your thanks this year by staying safe

With the air becoming cooler and the leaves falling from the trees, it is clear that Thanksgiving season is upon us. Friends, family, and food are all staples for this holiday, but this year has been one unlike any we’ve experienced before, which raises an important question: What does Thanksgiving look like in a pandemic?

The answer is not an easy one. Although it’s been months since we’ve seen extended family, the Coronavirus does not take a break on holidays. It seems wonderful to imagine a warm, loving family reunion over the holiday, but it is crucial that we do not forget about the importance of staying safe.

The CDC makes a point that celebrating virtually and/or with members of your own household is the lowest risk option. While this is not the typical Thanksgiving we imagine, the holiday doesn’t have to lose its significance. You can hold zoom calls with extended family, or try making food with your immediate family. Not following the usual traditions doesn’t mean that we are unable to make memories.

The CDC also encourages anyone who is planning to host a gathering to do so outside if possible, or in a well ventilated area with open windows. Staying six feet away from others is ideal, as is wearing a mask. Limit travel as much as possible, and limit contact with the same items, such as furniture, or countertops. Large gatherings (ten or more) are discouraged.

This isn’t the Thanksgiving anyone would’ve imagined a year ago, but that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded.  Even without large gatherings, you can still celebrate the spirit of the holiday. Let the people in your life know that you are thankful for them. Tell people what they mean to you; take time to appreciate the blessings in your life.

Being responsible about slowing the spread of this pandemic may feel like it has the potential to ruin the holiday, but you don’t have to let it. In being responsible, you are helping to keep others around you safe.  This year, we have to go beyond simply telling the people in our life that we are thankful to have them. We have to show our thankfulness with our actions, and put others first by sacrificing what we wish we could do.

Suggestions for celebrating a safe holiday include shopping online on Black Friday, preparing food and delivering it without direct contact, and watching sports or parades together at home.  For more information on CDC’s holiday guidelines, visit their website here.

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