The time of year is right; that’s not the problem. But something is wrong. Because of the pandemic, many families won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving this year. I know for certain my family won’t, not for my birthday or for Thanksgiving.
This has been a tradition we all look forward to each year. But this year we won’t be able to partake. COVID-19 has taken the joy out of the holiday season. And it’s just not fair!
A pandemic is spreading throughout the globe and touching us all with the fear of exposure. This fear will not allow hugging. And we must be extra careful when we share our food. Because face masks must be worn, it will also be challenging to see the warm smiles on the faces around the table. This also makes eating with a group a little complicated. For the most part, it feels that doing everything is convoluted and involved.
We all must deal with this pandemic; I know I’m not alone. But each individual will deal with it in their own way, just as they deal with any other issue in their life.
While I would not presume to tell anyone else how to conduct their life, people should be mindful of certain factors. One factor is, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.”
The CDC advises, “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” People should also avoid large groups in sizable places, and if these people chant or sing loudly that will put them at an even further risk. As countless people won’t wear masks because they don’t seem to have a problem jeopardizing others, many people will stay home on Thanksgiving for the same reasons they don’t want to pursue so many other interests; they don’t want to risk contracting Covid-19.
Of course, many others have found creative ways to deal with these complications and will have their own gatherings despite COVID-19. I always find it enjoyable to learn about the different ways they find to deal with them. For instance, some folks have set up “virtual” dinners. Here they can feel as though they are in the same place and even at the same table with their family and friends.
But there are other ways people have chosen to celebrate in non-traditional ways. For one, someone sent a life-sized cardboard cutout of herself to her elderly parents because she was not be able to go home for Thanksgiving. There were even a few doing their holiday meal al fresco. And one family circulated a food sign-up list and delivered favorite dishes to those who requested them.
Another family planned to order different components of their meal from area restaurants to support them. Any extra food will be packed up and shared with a few they know are struggling.
As for myself, in addition to COVID-19, I also have to deal with a life-threatening condition that easily tires me out. So, this year Thanksgiving is especially low-key and possibly more somber. And because both COVID-19 and my illness are obstacles I have to deal with, this trip would exhaust me, and with every rest stop that I would need to enter, it would feel like I was dodging bullets.
Instead of fighting exhaustion and ducking the contraction of COVID-19, I believe that staying home and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with my daughter, with whom I share an apartment, was the best possible option.