Looking for some ideas on how to host Thanksgiving, but need assistance getting creative during a global pandemic? My Big Day has a helpful list for you!
Keep it small - The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is with just your immediate family. Traveling is still considered risky - hotels, airports, planes, and gas stations are more crowded during the holidays. Hold your immediate loved ones close and sit down for an intimate dinner featuring everyone’s favorites.
Swap recipes - Try something new and feel closer to your family at the same time by swapping recipes with grandma via email or text. The 2020 holiday season may leave your relatives – particularly the older and more vulnerable – feeling lonely. Involve them by reaching out for recipes or decorating tips and spending time on a phone or video call while you’re cooking.
Go virtual - In addition to individual video and phone calls, many creative planners are already gearing up to host Thanksgiving dinner virtually on a simultaneous video call. Invite friends and family (you can even send a paper invitation, if you want to be fancy) to gather around the (virtual) table and eat together. After all, what would Thanksgiving be without Aunt Judy’s unsolicited advice and Grandma’s etiquette corrections?
Enjoy already-COVID-friendly traditions - There are plenty of Thanksgiving activities that are already COVID-friendly: watching parades and sports on TV, playing family board games, and going for a walk or run post-turkey. Others can be modified, i.e. moving your Black Friday shopping online this year.
Give thanks - There are countless activities to be found online (check out My Big Day’s “Saying Thank You” Pinterest board [https://www.pinterest.com/MyBigDayEvents/saying-thank-you/] for some of our favorite ways to say thanks) to encourage kids and adults alike to express what they are grateful for. It is especially important this year to remember what we do have, when so much seems missing or different. You may surprise yourself and find that you appreciate Thanksgiving this year all the more for its simplicity and quality time at home.
Finally, if you must invite someone from outside your household:
Host outdoors - Try moving your festivities outdoors (weather permitting). Not only is it a fun change of pace to spend the day outdoors in the fresh air, it reduces the risk of COVID spreading among your party. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a barbecue-style Thanksgiving dinner.
Clean before and after - This is another one that’s important if you’re hosting a guest from outside your home. You’ll want to be extra-diligent this year about cleaning your home and, especially, dinner table before and after your guest arrives. Make sure you take the same approach to bathrooms and doorknobs, known as high-touch areas. Ask guests to wash their hands before they come to your house, and use hand sanitizer when they arrive and periodically throughout the day.
Consider a buffet - By far the safest way to host a meal this season is to have each guest serve themselves. Have clean utensils and a plate already set out for each guest, so they can bring them to the buffet rather than reaching into a shared utensil cup or stack of dishes. Consider using disposable utensils, plates, and napkins, or for an eco-friendly approach, ask guests to bring their own place setting from home that they’ll take with them when they leave. Also encourage guests to clean up after themselves by having a foot-touch or already open trash can ready for any unfinished tidbits of food.
Mask up - It may feel extreme, but you can reduce the risk of COVID spreading to your family and friends by having everyone wear a mask except when eating or drinking. Remember, the more alcohol people consume, the less likely they are to wear a mask or to wear one properly. If you don’t want to spend the day dishing out reminders, it may be best to limit the alcohol this year.
Get tested and stay home if you have symptoms - Guests who are traveling should get tested before hopping on an airplane and travel only if they have a negative test and no symptoms, to minimize risk to others. The same goes for hosts: Even if dinner is an hour away and the turkey is in the oven, the safest option for everyone is to cancel. Here is a list of symptoms to watch out for:
Stay safe, be creative, and enjoy this (unusual) Thanksgiving!
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