A Little Riff . . . Sound of Music Style
Rekindling the Inner Fire

A Different Kind of Holiday

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!



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Yep. It stinks but it's important. I can't read that article because I'm not a subscriber but I'm hoping Charlie Baker is one of the governors who participated. He had a press conference yesterday and pretty much yelled at all of us to not travel and not gather in big numbers.


I was so happy to be passing by the freezers at the store yesterday as they were restocking turkeys, so I had my pick -- a nice 12-pounder came home with me. Our menu is much more simplified than usual... will still have the makings for a good turkey soup, though!


It will be different and it will be okay (and we will be okay too...if we mask up and keep distances, etc.). Fletch and I have decided to stay home. For the first time EVER it will be just the two of us for Thanksgiving (C&M are still going to her uncle's in NJ). Even the year Colin was teaching in South Korea my Dad was still alive and joined us. Anyhoo...I am going to cook a turkey (like Bonny I LOVE the leftovers...turkey sandwiches and turkey soup). I've already made a cranberry chutney. I'll make the usual sides. Only one pie though and I let Fletch pick (pumpkin - my favorite). I promised to make other pies a week or so later. And Colin texted inviting us for dinner Wednesday since we won't be with them Thursday. Sweet!!


Well said Kym. Our governor and his wife went on TV a few weeks ago to ask people to consider canceling gathering and then last weekend we got the new stay home order. Seems people cannot make good choices without a mandate. I need to get to the store and purchase a much smaller turkey since we won’t be having a gathering this year. Hope there are some left!


I think delayed gratification is one of the hallmarks of being a mature adult? I will forego seeing extended family in hopes that we will all have a better chance at being alive for Thanksgiving next year. John has told me that he can saw a turkey in half on his bandsaw if I can't find a smallish one, but I'm not quite sure I'm willing to try that. Plus, fewer people and our regular turkey means more leftovers for me this year!


Our governor has been begging us to limit our gathering to single households for a while now. I caught a glimpse of the joint statement but can’t remember where. This Saturday/ Sunday looks like reasonable weather wise so, I just invited my sisters and brother in laws over for pumpkin pie by the fire pit. Mid afternoon pie is ok, right? This Saturday is our 50th wedding anniversary. The first Thanksgiving of married life was spent in a restaurant in Miami Beach. I vowed it would be my last without family. This year I’m spending it as a twosome to make sure my family is with me next year and the months ahead.

Kathy Boyer

The vaccine promises are sounding great. It gives me hope. Yes I will be treating my birds!

And we are having a little turkey breast. Zoom .. and the National DOG SHOW (I am glad the Masters was a week ago. I always tell my husband that the DOG Show Is My Masters and I want the tv remote for the whole thing! Right down to Best in SHOW


With the numbers going up in such a scary way, I am really glad that we all decided a while ago to do Thanksgiving in our own households. I miss big family dinners terribly, but now is not the time to let our guard down, especially with the big news about the vaccines. I keep thinking about what we say at the end of the Passover seder every year, "Next year in Jerusalem," and how we could extrapolate to every holiday we've had to celebrate this year -- "Next year in person, with everyone we love!"


Allegheny county has had scary, scary numbers over the past week. Our lovely and brilliant Dr. Rachel has said only gather with those you live with! Safer apart is a very good thing. And I am so thankful that we have technology to keep us close apart! Thank you for sharing everyone's ideas! I have gained some inspiration from others! :)


What a helpful post! Helpful in that it perked me up! (I'm rather late catching up on blogs as this week winds down...this summary is a lot of fun.) Now I'm off to check out that tutorial for the birds!


I do hope whatever you all decide to do you have a wonderful celebration.


We're going to miss hanging out with friends this year, but it isn't the first time we'll be fixing our own T-day dinner. If the weather allows we'll dress up in our very warmest winter gear and head over to the garden to chat with my niece and her family. We (she and I) feel we must at least make a nod to family time!


It will be just Smokey and I this year, but I welcome the opportunity not to cook a huge meal. Younger Son is going to set up a Zoom call for him, us, Elder Son, and Girlfriend. I suspect the internet may be a tad slow, since everyone and her great-uncle are doing the same thing. But that's okay. I was proud of my two governors, WI and MN, for joining in that letter. It's scary here.


Well - I am late to the commenting party as usual. Since our kids moved so far from home, we are somewhat used to quiet holidays. We usually try to mark the day with an outdoor walk on a trail but this year may be sticking to our neighborhood. If it isn't snowing or sleeting, the trails will be busy. Anywho I am going to roast a turkey breast and make a few favorite sides. One pie will be plenty - an apple galette. I wish our governor was among the more sensible ones. We plan to zoom with my siblings over the weekend. So fun to read everyone's plans.


I'm definitely cooking less, but we will still have all the fixings. This is the first time my bf and I will do thanksgiving without his family (last year his sister hosted and we feel better about no one hosting this year). We will do the turkey and I will make a pie and mashed potatoes, but everything else is either pre-bought, out of a box or just not included. I'm looking forward to a turkey day with him and his kids where I get to watch football and they play video games and we will break for food and a board game or two

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