How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving During COVID-19

November 23, 2020
family hiking

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a special opportunity to connect with family and friends around a shared table. Given the challenges 2020 has presented, it might feel like an in-person gathering is as needed as ever this Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, with the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across our nation, including in our communities in Colorado, Utah and western Kansas, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is by spending it only with the people you live with. It’s a sacrifice that could save the life of your loved ones – especially those in your family most vulnerable to illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu.

Here are a few creative ways to make the most out of this year’s Thanksgiving:

  • Host a virtual meal with friends and family. By scheduling a time to share a meal with others viz Zoom, FaceTime or other video conferencing apps, we can still enjoy the company of those we care about most.
  • Get outside for some pre-meal exercise. Fresh air and physical activity is good for your mental and emotional health, too.
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you’re grateful for and sharing them with friends and family.
  • Make the most of your time inside by watching a favorite holiday movie with those you live with. Puzzles and board games are fun activities to enjoy with household members, too.

Keeping this year’s Thanksgiving virtual is the safest way to get together this year. It’s important to remember that even if older family members like parents and grandparents are perfectly healthy, our immune systems change with age and make it more difficult for elderly adults to fight off attacks from viruses like the novel coronavirus.

If you insist on having Thanksgiving in person with people you don’t live with, please consider these recommendations from the CDC:

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose when not eating, and make sure all attendees understand at the outset what the expectations are for mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing.
  • Maintain a distance of six feet or greater from non-household members.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and do it frequently.
  • Avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared or handled.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable or recyclable items like food containers, plates and utensils.
  • Have your meal outdoors with a limited number of non-household guests.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, open windows and doors to promote the circulation of fresh air.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that we’re in the midst of the most dangerous surge of the pandemic yet. We must take individual and collective actions to slow the spread of this disease and to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. Making difficult but smart decisions this Thanksgiving will help ensure your entire family can spend many future Thanksgivings together.