What will Thanksgiving during COVID-19 look like?

A mother holding a thanksgiving turkey is joined by her child as they both wear masks. Photo courtesy health.clevelandclinic.org

The holiday meant to be spent with our families where we give thanks and share a meal may look a little different this year.

Since large gatherings are currently frowned upon by the CDC, many states are wondering how their families will safely gather for their traditional Thanksgiving celebration? This question, among many others, is one that people are beginning to need answers to as the holiday season quickly approaches.

In previous years, many families would take this opportunity to gather with their loved ones, who could possibly live miles away, and spend quality time with them while they can. Unfortunately, this opportunity could perhaps be taken away, although, this would not be the first occasion that COVID-19 has prevented us from partaking in.

Sabrena Eleazer, a wife and mother of three, plans to alter her plans this Thanksgiving due to the current circumstances.

“I’m planning to have Thanksgiving at home with a smaller than normal number of family and close friends,” Eleazer said. “This will allow the same fellowship that we are accustomed to but in a controlled and responsible setting.”

Although Thanksgiving is still more than a month away, the CDC has already released a set of guidelines for Thanksgiving this year. One of the lower risk recommendations that the CDC released was having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family. This is seen as an effective way to “celebrate the holiday while social distancing,” according to CBS News.

Pam Rentz, an out-of-state student at Florida A&M University, plans to fly home to Maryland this Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with her parents. To say the least, Rentz is not too excited about a virtual Thanksgiving this year.

“I know they say Thanksgiving is about family, but I can’t eat mac and cheese and collard greens through Zoom,” Rentz said. “Thanks, but no thanks.”

A family surrounds a computer while enjoying dinner. Photo courtesy cbsnews.com

Rentz is not the only person who feels that a virtual Thanksgiving is less desirable. Jordan West, a second year physical therapy student at Florida A&M University, shares similar feelings.

“Zoom is not as meaningful as actually being there with your family,” West said. “It can devalue the tradition.”

Many wonder whether a vaccine will soon become available to the public so that they can finally gather with their families for the first time in months. According to CNN Health, this idea may not be too far-fetched.

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted an optimistic forecast about coronavirus vaccines Wednesday, promising some vaccines by the end of the year,” as stated by CNN’s website.

This may mean we will receive a vaccine, but it is unsure if we will receive one by the end of November.

Not only will COVID-19 affect Thanksgiving itself, but it will also affect the day after Thanksgiving, which we all know as Black Friday. This is the day where stores have sales that they refer to as “doorbusters”, making it one of the busiest shopping days of the year as people prepare for Christmas. For this event, the CDC recommends shopping online for Cyber Monday rather than in the stores themselves.

Although some key components of Thanksgiving have to be altered, it does not have to be all bad. As long as we are surrounded by our loved ones – virtual or not – the feeling we’ll get around the dinner table on that Thursday will still hold the same meaning. It is all about having the Thanksgiving that fits your desires, needs and circumstances.