As we near the end of 2020, many Americans are concerned about the upcoming holiday season. Just as we have had to get creative to celebrate other occasions – such as virtual birthday parties and drive-through graduations – so, too, will we need to change our family gatherings this winter. Fortunately, there are a number of creative solutions that will allow you to safely observe Thanksgiving in the era of COVID-19. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions.
Our Top Tip: Stay Home
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, has warned citizens to resist the urge to travel this week. As cases rise rapidly around the United States, the safest way to observe Thanksgiving is to celebrate from the comfort of your own home. They warn that gathering with friends and family who do not live with you poses a significant risk of spreading COVID-19.
Host a Virtual Thanksgiving
Just because we can’t gather physically doesn’t mean that you have to abandon the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner. Consider hosting a virtual meal with loved ones who don’t live with you. As this idea gains popularity, tech giants are providing helpful channels for long distance holiday gatherings. For example, video communications company Zoom has announced that they will lift their 40-minute meeting limit for Thanksgiving Day.
Here are a few tips from MPR News for navigating a virtual Turkey Day.
- Keep an agenda – A flexible schedule will help everyone to set aside enough time to catch up and cover any important topics.
- Elect a moderator – Choose a family member to facilitate the call. They can ensure that everyone gets the chance to speak. This is especially helpful if you have a big, opinionated family!
- Mind your manners – As with any gathering, there should be a shared sense of respect for everyone at the “table.” Avoid touchy subjects that will result in arguments, especially in these politically charged times. Additionally, practice proper Zoom etiquette by muting yourself when you aren’t speaking.
- Send in your best snapshots – Have everyone send the photos they’d like to share to the moderator ahead of time. They can screen share and tell stories during your gathering.
- Play a game – While we can’t throw the football around the backyard this year, virtual games are a great substitute. Create your own trivia or get competitive on a site like Kahoot!
Plan a Special Thanksgiving Delivery
One of the hallmarks of a traditional American Thanksgiving is an array of delicious dishes, some of which are only cooked once a year. If your loved ones live nearby, consider safely preparing those time-intensive meals and delivering a plate to their door. You can do this in a way that is fully no-contact by leaving food on the porch.
Reflect on What You’re Grateful For
This year has been a challenge for all of us. Instead of dwelling on what you’re missing out on this holiday season, focus on the meaning behind Thanksgiving. Set aside some time on Thursday for a gratitude activity, such as writing out the things you’re grateful for or delivering thank you notes to loved ones.
Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- Which simple pleasures are you grateful for?
- Look around the room. Write about everything you see that you’re grateful for.
- What’s something you’re glad to have today that you didn’t have a year ago?
- Which accomplishment are you proudest of?
- Open the door and look outside. What’s something you see that you’re grateful for?
- What do you like about your job?
- Write about a friend or family member you’re grateful for.
Look on the Bright Side This Thanksgiving
For those in recovery, the holidays are challenging. Spending time around those who are drinking can be difficult, and you may have strained relationships with some of your family members. The resulting stress can be a catalyst for relapse.
Instead of being upset by changes to this Thanksgiving, look at this as an opportunity. You can protect your sobriety while creating new traditions and connecting with loved ones in different ways.
If you’re feeling nervous about navigating the holidays in sobriety, Lakeside-Milam is here to help. Our program spans the full continuum of care, ensuring that you receive the support you need at every phase of recovery. To learn more about our outpatient and aftercare services, please contact the Lakeside-Milam admissions team.