How To Have A Safe Virtual Thanksgiving During The Pandemic | 12 Tips

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.

how to have a safe virtual thanksgiving

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:

Gourmet Gift Baskets 15% off 

Chocolate Gift Baskets 15% off

Baby Gift Baskets 15% off

Anniversary Gift Baskets 15% off

Gourmet Chocolate Gift Basket

Bon Appetit Gift Basket

Movie Night Gift Basket

Spa Luxetique Vanilla Spa Gift Basket

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:

5 Best Ways To Test Your Face Mask And Top Tips To Choose A Face Mask

What Should We Do To Prepare For The Second Wave Of The Pandemic | 12 Tips

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

Safe Home Delivery Tips And Should You Wash Your Groceries?

Best Practices Against Covid In The Home 5 Tips To Keep Your Food Safe

9 Tips On How To Stay Safe While Shopping During Covid


Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Please leave a comment. How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? I would love to know what you think.


What Should We Do To Prepare For The Second Wave Of The Pandemic | 12 Tips

This is the fifth blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.

Do experts think there will be a second wave? What do you need to do to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic; coronavirus, COVID-19, according to experts? Should you get a flu shot or other vaccinations? What else should you do to be ready? Here are 12 tips and recommendations, from experts, on what you should stock up and things you should do to be ready for the second wave. Winter is coming. Cold and flu season is coming. We need to prepare.

September 8, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Will there be a second wave?

Experts say there will be a second wave.    It has already started in some areas of the world. Some countries in Europe have started their second wave as case numbers start to rise. During the summer some areas of Asia started to see coronavirus case numbers rise.

The question that experts can’t answer is how bad will it be? In the Spanish pandemic, the second wave was actually worse than the first. To prevent the second wave being as deadly, experts have the following tips to help you.

What To Do To Prepare For the Second Wave of COVID

One of the key elements of the tips and recommendations below is to reduce the times when you need to leave the house or go to public spaces, reduce your contact with sick people, and have your home and mental outlook prepared for the second wave of coronavirus.

Items To Stock Up On To Prepare For The Pandemic

Stock up on non-perishable foods

It is a good idea to have a one-month supply of non-perishable food in your home so that if you get sick or can not go out for any reason, you will still have the food you need, on hand. If you can stock up on non-perishable foods then you can also reduce the frequency of your visits to the grocery store of the frequency of home deliveries. Look at my article on safe shopping and my article on safe home delivery for more tips.

Stock up on essential medicines

Make sure that you have at least a one-month supply of essential over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines. Anything you can do to reduce the number and times that you leave the house is a good plan over the next 6 months.

Ensure to have a supply of face masks and hand sanitizer

Stock up on essential supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, if you like to use them. Alternately, you can watch my video on how to make your own surface sanitizer or disinfectant following the recommendations of the Canadian government. Check out the video here.

Stock up on cleaning products

While you are stocking up, also make sure to have at least a one-month supply of soap (dish and hand soap), bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. All of these are good for cleaning surfaces and getting rid of coronavirus. You can check out my blog post, 5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID, where I talk about how to clean the surfaces in your home to eradicate the COVID-19 virus.

As well, stock up on distilled water if you have essential machines that require it.

Things To Do To Prepare For The Second Wave

Get regular appointments out of the way

As much as possible try to schedule regular appointments to be carried out in the near future so that you get them out of the way before winter, before cold and flu season, and before the second wave really takes hold. Plan your regular appointments like teeth cleaning or dental checkup, regularly scheduled medical appointments, hair cuts, eye doctor visits, etc.  for the near future.

This way these regular appointments that you have periodically will be taken care of and you will be able to stay away from these places during the second wave. Of course, this does not apply to emergency needs. Those are important to take care of whenever necessary regardless of the pandemic.

Get a flu shot when it becomes available

Last winter, 2019 to 2020, in the US, there were 39 million cases of the flu minimum and over 24,000 deaths from the flu. Add in the fact that we have coronavirus, COVID-19 circulating in the population, as well, it is a bad recipe. Anything that you can do to reduce your chances of getting the flu and staying healthy will reduce the risk that you get hospitalized for the flu and reduce the chances of your immune system being weakened by getting the flu.

Anything that you can do to prevent a possible hospital stay means the beds are kept free for COVID cases and you reduce your exposure to the virus. Anything that you can do to keep your immune system strong, is also to your benefit.

Get a  pneumonia vaccination

If you are prone to pneumonia, get a pneumonia vaccination. The World Health Organization recommends getting vaccinated against respiratory illnesses.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends that children under 2, adults over 65, smokers, and anyone with chronic diseases that affect the lungs, kidneys, or heart get a pneumonia vaccination.

The Center for Disease Control lists some of the illnesses that can result in pneumonia as a primary or secondary illness, where you can get a vaccination: Haemophilus influenza type B, influenza (flu), Measles, Whooping Cough, Pneumococcal, and Chickenpox.

The pneumonia vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID, but it will help protect you from getting pneumonia. Anything that you can do to reduce your chance of getting pneumonia is a good idea. Pneumonia is a very serious illness and you want to protect your lungs and your health.

This vaccination will not stop you from getting COVID but, at least, it will help prevent you from getting other respiratory illnesses that can weaken your lungs and reduce immune system strength.

Continue the behaviour recommendations

Prevention magazine recommends that we continue all of the behaviours and recommendations that were put in the place at the start of the pandemic:

    • Keep the required physical/social distance from people that are not living in the same household as you.
    • Wear a mask when you are in indoor, public places.
    • Do not touch your face when you are outside the home.
    • Do not shake hands, kiss, or hug people to greet them when they do not live in your home with you. And if someone in your home is sick, then do hug or kiss them while they are sick.
    • Follow all of the recommendations for the area where you live.

Continue frequent hand-washing

Continue following the frequent hand-washing recommendations, especially if you have been out of the home. Also, follow the recommendations for when to sanitize your hands. You can see my blog post here with recommendations. Safe Home Delivery Tips And Should You Wash Your Groceries?

Stay home when you are sick

The CDC recommends that people who are sick, even with a cold or flu, stay home for the first couple of days.  It may be hard to tell the difference, in the early days, between COVID symptoms and cold or flu symptoms. In case you do have coronavirus, staying home when you are not sure, helps protect everyone else.

Plus, even if it is a regular cold or flu, by staying home you do not spread those viruses to others. And some people can react much more severely to a regular cold or flu virus. During the pandemic, it is important to be cautious and to protect yourself and everyone else.

Stay informed of requirements and recommendations in your area

Prevention magazine, in the same article reference above, also recommends that you stay aware of the recommendations and requirements to follow in your area. Listen to the news and stay abreast of any changes in requirements to follow.

Mentally prepare yourself

Prevention magazine, in the link above, also recommends that people mentally prepare for the fact that they will need to continue to follow the behaviours and requirements throughout the winter. We need to accept that this is the new normal for a while. The pandemic is still here and we need to mentally adjust and prepare for what this means over the next 6 months.

In the northern hemisphere, winter is coming, lower light levels are coming, harsher weather is coming and people will be indoors more than during the summer. Cold and flu season is coming. The holiday season is coming.

Take the time to mentally prepare for the fact that you may not see family and friends as often or as easily as it was possible during the warmer months. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and other holidays may become distance celebrations this year. Just as we managed with Easter and Passover in the spring, we will manage these other holidays as well.

We are fortunate to live in the internet era where we do have tools to connect and celebrate remotely. Take full advantage of these tools. Talk to family and friends and plan your distance celebrations.

Consider the resources you need to mentally prepare and gather them around you. Maybe you want to talk about this with family and friends. Maybe this is a time to find a new hoppy, join virtual groups with the same interest and make new friends and connections. Find ways to stay connected with family and friends, even if it is virtual.

We will maybe have to stay away from family for a while. Outdoor gatherings will become harder as the weather gets colder. But It will not be forever. Remember this is a temporary situation. The second wave will not last forever. The pandemic will not last forever. Winter and shorter days will not last forever. The pandemic will end at some point. Winter will turn to spring. So take the second wave day by day. If you do feel you need more support than what you have from family and friends, search it out. Keeping your mind and outlook positive and healthy is very important during this time.

All of these factors will make this winter harder than usual. Mentally prepare for that. It will be tough, but we can get through this together.

Following these recommendations will help reduce the severity of the second wave and help keep more people healthy and safe.

Other blog posts in this series.

9 Tips On How To Stay Safe While Shopping During COVID

Best Practices Against COVID In The Home 5 Tips To Keep Your Food Safe

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

Check out my video on this topic.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Please comment. I would love to know what you think.