This is the seventh blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.
Thanksgiving is coming. It is Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 in Canada and the third Thursday in November in the USA. With the second wave of the pandemic in full swing, at least in my area, it may very well turn out to be a virtual celebration. Here are twelve tips on how to plan a safe virtual Thanksgiving celebration.
October 7, 2020 by Deborah Esplin
In my area, outside and inside gatherings have now been banned. We are in the full impact of the second wave. However, when I started the research for this blog post, it was still possible to have a small outdoor gathering. Now, we know that Thanksgiving will be a virtual celebration in my area. Other parts of the country and the continent may still be able to have some kind of celebration in person, but not in my area.
The first Thanksgiving recorded in Canada was in 1578 when Martin Frobisher served a meal of tinned meat and mushy peas upon touching land in Newfoundland. In 1606 Samuel de Champlain held a large feast in November for the colonists so they could fatten up before the lean winter coming. It was a strategy to reduce starvation.
Harvest celebrations are common all around the world. In North America, the indigenous populations have had harvest celebrations. In the UK harvest celebrations are also common. It is said they were adopted from the celts.
In Canada, Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1957. And it is standard in practice across the country and very similar to the American Thanksgiving. A typical Canadian Thanksgiving meal would include a turkey, often cooked with maple syrup, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rice, corn, cranberry sauce, and some kind of pie.
Traditionally family and close friends that do not have family around gather for a long and large meal and spend a few hours eating and socializing. Thanksgiving is considered a very important holiday for families to gather together.
Therefore, not being able to have Thanksgiving with families celebrating in person is going to be a shock and disappointment for many people. But there are ways to do this without being physically present with each other.
How To Have A Virtual Thanksgiving
Here are 12 tips for you.
1. Start Planning Now
To avoid being depressed on the day about being alone and not celebrating, start planning now how you will connect and celebrate with family. With email, video chat, telephone and social media groups, there are lots of ways to get together and brainstorm about how to make holiday fun.
2. Get Creative About Ways To Get Together Virtually
Thanks to technology, we have many choices about how we can still celebrate together from our own homes. There are so many options for connecting through social media and video chat. I’m sure that each family has figured out the options they like best. Set a time and a date to connect over the weekend.
It could be just to have a conversation or play a game or people can set up their devices in the kitchen and cook together. We have many options now to connect while being physically distant.
3. Hold A Contest
It could be a house or garden decorating contest, a table decorating contest, a cooking, or a pie-making contest. It could be a craft contest with the kids. Then you can review the results, share them on social media if desired, and even give out awards.
4. Send Flowers To Family Members
Especially for older members in the family that may find it very hard to be alone for Thanksgiving, they might appreciate receiving flowers as a reminder that you are thinking of them and holding them in your hearts.
5. Send A Gift Basket
A gift basket is another possibility. Maybe someone in the family just had a baby or someone else is all alone. A gift basket can be a great gift to cheer people up.
Here are some options for gift baskets:
6. Have A Cooking, Baking Competition
Decide on something that you will each make and then compare the result. Whether it is cooked turkeys, the stuffings, the pies, or side dishes that are made. Share recipes and have a good laugh. You can even have a competition to make each other’s recipes instead of your own favorites and see who likes which ones the best.
And if your family is close, you can drop off your result for tasting.
7. Stay Adaptable And Flexible
We are going to have to do things differently this year, but that does not mean that we can not celebrate. It also doesn’t mean that we can make this a fun and memorable holiday. It just means we need to be creative about how to make it fun and special.
Remind yourself that being flexible will make the holiday easier and make it more fun.
8. Adjust Your MindSet
Prepare yourself mentally for the fact that you may not be celebrating with your family in the same room. Accept that fact. We are living through a very unusual time and to come out of this pandemic with fewer deaths and less damage, we have to keep our distance from people that do not live in our household. None of us like this fact. None of us want to celebrate Thanksgiving alone or just with our immediate household, but, at least in my area, we do not have a choice this year. I would rather give up being with the extended family this year, to help keep us all safe.
Reframe the negative and figure out how to make it positive despite the downsides. Thanksgiving can still be fun and we can still celebrate. It will just be different. Not bad, just different.
9. Stay Positive
A positive mindset will help you find fun and creative ways to celebrate remotely. Keep reminding yourself to be positive. Start your day with a positive affirmation. It could be a reminder of something you enjoy in life, or something that you appreciate, or something that you want to do that day that will bring positivity into your life.
We have to celebrate this way this year, but it will not be like this every year. At some point, the pandemic will end. And we will have in-person, extended family gatherings again.
10. Don’t Get Mad, Don’t Get Sad, Take Action
Use your energy to figure out your plans for the weekend. It is okay to be mad and sad for a bit, but taking action will help you to feel better in the long run. If you take action, you will have a tangible result at the end. You will be able to be glad and proud of your Thanksgiving celebration this year.
11. Say Thanks
Everyday, think of something you are grateful for and say thanks for it. This could be a part of your morning coffee, your first few minutes of waking up, or during your daily exercise. Make it a daily habit to think of one thing and say thank you for it.
It has been scientifically proven that the practice of gratitude is beneficial for people’s health, as described in this article in Forbes Magazine.
12. Cook And Deliver
If you have family or friends nearby, you can always cook your Thanksgiving dinner and then deliver a care basket of the cooked food to them. Even if you can’t say hello and just drop the basket at the door, still you are bringing cheer and home-cooked food to people. That is always appreciated. You can always chat after by phone or video.
These are just some ideas. Please comment below on other ideas. Let’s use our brains, our hearts, and technology to make this a great Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada and in a few weeks to the USA.
Here is the companion video to this post.
There are other posts in this series:
Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.
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Please leave a comment. How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? I would love to know what you think.