Last Friday, I wrote a blog post about hope and gratitude when it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday this year. In the post (which you can read here), I explained my heartbreak at needing to change our plans this year . . . because of Covid. (Aren't we all just so tired of saying that?) But change our plans we did. Because it's the right thing to do. And many of you shared how you'll be changing things up this year, too.
Just a couple of days ago, James Hamblin wrote an essay called Cancel Thanksgiving for The Atlantic. Hamblin writes, "few things sound nicer than sitting around eating with friends and family, after so much isolation and worry over this decades-long year." But . . . then he goes on to explain that we're in "precarious moment" in terms of the pandemic, with infectious-disease experts giving us some very straightforward advice:
- limit activities to those essential to life
- don't gather socially
- don't travel
- don't celebrate Thanksgiving in anything resembling the modern American way
Of course, this is a very unpopular message, and few of our country's leaders are brave enough to deliver it. (Although just today, in the Washington Post, seven governors - 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans - published a joint statement imploring people to re-think their Thanksgiving plans and stay home this year.) (And a shoutout here to my own state's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, one of the seven governors.)
In his essay in The Atlantic, James Hamblin tells us "this is a moment for creativity," and encourages us to think about what we like most about the day -- and then to think about how we can make that happen in a different way this year.
In my house, we've decided to cook our same menu (although we'll do the cooking ahead of time and over the course of several days) and then pack it up to deliver to my dad and to Brian and Lauren so we can all share the same meal - separately - on Thanksgiving Day. And I've sent Erin several of my recipes so she and Keith can try them at their own dinner this year. And we've got a family Zoom planned, as well. (Erin and I are also planning to do our annual gingerbread house decorating via Zoom this year. It won't happen on Thanksgiving Day, probably, but sometime over the weekend. I'm putting together a "kit" for her, which will soon be on its way to California.)
Many of you who commented on my blog post are planning to celebrate in similar ways:
- Most of you are planning on family Zoom get-togethers.
- Almost all of you are scaling back the number of people gathering around your tables, just keeping it to your household and maybe including a couple of family members from your "bubbles."
- Some of you are changing up your menus (Kay), or scaling back the amount you'll be cooking or the size of your turkeys (Carole), but some of you are cooking just like always (because who doesn't want those leftovers!) (Bonny).
- Several of you are coming up with creative ways to share your family recipes with kids - even incorporating cooking-together FaceTimes. (Kat)
- A couple of you are excited about starting new traditions (this will be Sarah's first time cooking a turkey, for example), while others are figuring out clever ways to carry out your usual traditions (Kathy will still be making treats for the birds in her yard as she does each year -- and this year, she's put together a tutorial in case you want to try this, too).
- Some of you are keeping your fingers crossed for decent weather, which would allow for family hikes or campfires, and might make getting together with others possible and safe (Patty and Geri).
None of us like the changes we're making to our usual Thanksgiving traditions -- but we're finding ways to make it work and keep our families safe. Like Geri said in her comment last week, "With such encouraging reports regarding a vaccine I want to make it to the finish line, healthy, whenever that is!" That's what it's all about: Keeping ourselves - and our families and friends - safe and healthy!
It's going to be different.
But we're going to be okay!