In this 2020 year of COVID, Thanksgiving may look much different than what we are accustomed to.
The surge in cases across the country means many of us are rethinking our holiday plans. It can be incredibly disheartening to think of missing visits from family and friends in order to protect loved ones. If you are foregoing the big family get-together this year, there are some creative options that can still make it a time to be grateful for. Here are some of the Two Point Capital Management team’s collective ideas.
In as many ways as COVID has made the world feel socially distant, the creative use of technology has also made the world feel a little smaller. Platforms and apps like Zoom, which many of us use for business, can help bring family gatherings back to life. In fact, families that have never had the time to make cross-country trips can now, albeit virtually, enjoy the meal together.
In cases where everyone is local, consider cooking a meal and delivering each family member’s portion via contactless delivery like the restaurants do. Or swap favorite side dishes at an outdoors location, wearing masks, the day before the holiday to sustain the sharing that typifies Thanksgiving. Or each household can boost the economy and order from a local family-owned restaurant.
However you arrange it, you can then eat together with friends and family via Zoom—so the people you love can still break the same bread from the same “room”. We’ve seen families planning to place a laptop right on the dining room table if there is one particular person that will be absent this year.
Don’t forget to check with your loved ones’ assisted living or nursing home to see if they might also be hosting “virtual dining” for the day. With a little technology, you can keep vulnerable folks safe and sound but also a part of your family’s celebrations.
If you live in a warmer climate or the weather continues to be outdoor friendly where you are, you can certainly take Thanksgiving to the backyard. Set up a socially distant picnic, BBQed turkey on the grill and immediate family bringing their own side. A bonfire where you drink cider and hot cocoa is a great place to go around and share what everyone is thankful for out in the fresh air. Just think, if guests are a tad chilly they won’t stay as long and clean-up outside on the deck will be a breeze!
Go completely off the grid! Since Thanksgiving won’t be what you are used to you can always do something completely different with the folks in your household or immediate family. There will be fewer comparisons to last year or wistful reminiscing if you start a whole new tradition. Try dessert for breakfast, breakfast for dinner, sloppy burgers, vegan pizza, or whatever is a fan favorite in your household.
Spend the time together watching silly movies, bingeing on your favorite Netflix series or traveling down memory lane with classic movies on Disney+. Puzzles, card games, Scrabble, whatever means relaxation to you is all on the table—but no sneaking in work projects. You can even challenge your out-of-town family to do the same and compare notes at the end of the evening or post your favorite moments to Facebook or in a group chat.
You could certainly also go entirely the opposite direction. Instead of your regular dinner for 20 with the game playing in the background, make it a fancy affair for your immediate two, five or six. Challenge your housemates to put on the ritz and come to dinner in black tie and gowns or fancy dress apparel. Thanksgiving meets Great Gatsby. Many of us used to spend a good amount of time at formal affairs, but in 2020, not so much. It might be fun to dig through the closet and pull out some fancy clothes that haven’t seen the light of day for a while.
Decorate your home. For many of us, this will be the first of a run of holidays that could look and feel very different this year. In a normal year, we may not always have the time or energy to turn our home into a winter wonderland, but there is something about walking into a home filled with holiday decor that just makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. If you usually wait until December, take the day to drag the goodies out of the basement or hop online to order some decorations. Use the day to make some magic. Show off your light-stringing skills by inviting friends to a holiday decoration drive-by car parade to kick off the holiday season.
When we first started planning for this blog post, we envisioned including tips for safe travel. But the pandemic situation on the ground is so fluid that we feel the best advice is to direct you to the CDC website for guidance or to your own state or county medical experts. We know there are times when people face unavoidable travel (such as the college student returning for the semester), but good advice today might be not so appropriate tomorrow.
Much the same is true for testing protocols. The best way to keep your family safe is to ensure, in advance, that everyone with whom you gather (or live) is COVID-FREE. But test results are really only accurate from the moment you are tested until you come into contact with another person. Unless you are completely quarantined, your status can change on a moment-to-moment basis. Again, best to rely on the most up-to-date official guidance you can find.
It is almost a guarantee that no matter how you choose to celebrate, the holiday will look a little, or a lot, different than what we are used to. Getting back to the spirit of the day may be your best way to fight the disappointment of missing traditions, family and friends. There is a certain magic in gratitude that really does trump turkey, as hard as it sometimes is to believe.
Take those moments to notice and acknowledge the people, places, things that have brought you joy even in this difficult year. In the end, the biggest thing about this year might be the health that allows us to be together once again next year. By downscaling in 2020, we can accelerate a routine to normal celebrations in 2021.
However you end up spending your day, we wish you love, light and gratitude. Please know that one of the things that we are most grateful for is you.