How to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during a pandemic


Jocelyn Mintz

During Turkey Day, you should still follow all the necessary safety guidelines.

By Sasha Blake

Whether your family chooses to spend turkey day baking pumpkin pie, engaging in awkward political conversations or watching football, this year’s Thanksgiving presents unique challenges. The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including Thanksgiving festivities.While some traditions may have to go on hold, we can still think outside the box to celebrate safely.

For many, food is the highlight of Thanksgiving. Pandemic limitations may shrink the size of gatherings, but people can still get creative in the kitchen. Take this opportunity to try cooking for yourself, and maybe even test out a new recipe.

Every year, junior Aksel Bell prepares himself for the weeks of turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving, but this year his family is trying something new.

“Usually my grandma cooks our turkey,” Bell said. “But for the first time ever, my mom is attempting to cook ‘tofurky,’ which is a vegan turkey replacement made out of tofu.” 

 Try to continue past family food-making traditions in the safety of your own home. Each year, junior Charlotte Johnson and her mom bake an apple pie to bring to her aunt’s house in Massachusetts. This year, they plan to keep this tradition alive, even at home.

“Even though we’re not going to Massachusetts like we usually do, my mom and I are still going to bake a pie to keep the spirit alive,” Johnson said. 

Smaller Thanksgiving celebrations also have their advantages. Holiday preparations can often take hours, and staying home can minimize the usual resulting stresses.

“I’m actually kind of excited to have a more relaxing thanksgiving,” Johnson said. “Usually everybody is pretty stressed out about being late or making sure everything is perfect.”

If your Thanksgiving ensemble extends beyond your household, you should try to maintain social distancing guidelines by celebrating outdoors. You can purchase heat lamps, which make cold weather bearable, and enjoy a meal together six feet apart. 

Virtual gatherings are another great way to celebrate Thanksgiving safely with extended family. This option presents the benefit of two separate kitchens: families can cook their various preferred dishes while connecting with relatives simultaneously. 

The CDC has advised against traveling, so if you and your family are planning to take the holidays on the road, make sure to follow the necessary safety precautions. This includes getting a flu shot before the trip, staying at least six feet apart from those outside your immediate family, wearing a mask and washing your hands regularly. 

Junior Jaiden Vikram plans to travel to New York to visit his relatives and celebrate safely.

“My family is getting tested, and we are taking all necessary precautions so that we can spend Thanksgiving together,” he said.

The pandemic has cost our nation over 250,000 lives. With winter weather and an accompanying increase in indoor gatherings approaching, it’s important to be increasingly cautious. Instead of risking our or a family member’s health, we should all look for ways to have a fun and safe holiday experience.