Celebrating Thanksgiving During COVID

A family having Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving celebration used to be about getting together in large groups, sitting over a table, and sharing a meal. Spending time with one another in close proximity and enjoying how thankful we are to be able to gather. COVID-19 has brought new sets of challenges we have never imagined. At the moment, we are dealing with the onset challenges of COVID. No longer can we gather in large groups and in close proximity. This does not mean that Thanksgiving is lost or impossible. Thanksgiving comes down to being thankful for who and what we have. There are ways to celebrate while still protecting ourselves and our loved ones.

The Importance of Thanksgiving


The intoxicating smell of the turkey roasting in the oven, the wonderful sound of laughter and merry celebration, the taste of the delicious stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey, and the sight of all those you love together and happy. Thanksgiving is a time for celebration. We sit around and give thanks for our loved one and the moments that are important. It is also a time to marry tradition and make traditions of your own. Families celebrate thanksgiving in a variety of ways, that’s what makes it so wonderful. Thanksgiving is still an important holiday to celebrate, and with the proper precautions still can be just as meaningful.


Consider a Virtual Thanksgiving


We know that face to face interaction can be much more fulfilling. However, for those who are at a higher risk for COVID, you may want to consider a virtual Thanksgiving for you and your loved ones. This can include your household creating a large skype call to eat dinner together. For the sake of safety and new distancing guidelines, a more viable option may be to practice a virtual Thanksgiving.

  • Before- Plan a meal prep of sorts. This can include choosing recipes your whole family could make and even starting your video chat early so that you all can still “cook” together. Get the kids involved with kid-friendly recipes. Consider sending care packages of sorts to each other before Thanksgiving. These can be cute little gifts to open during your video chat.
  • At Thanksgiving- Create loads of activities you can play together over video chat. Things like Pictionary or charades are still possible and encouraged. You could create a thanksgiving bingo as well, or even have an ugly Thanksgiving sweater contest!
  • After the meal has ended- This is the time to share what you’re thankful for, and to even plan on how you will be celebrating next time! This can provide hope for next year, maybe celebrating a little closer.


Celebrating In Person


Thanksgiving during the pandemic may look a little different. If you want to organize a small get together with family, it’s important to plan is accordingly and safely to ensure that all your loved ones remain healthy. There are some rules from the CDC to follow when organizing.


  • Consider the number of COVID cases in your area. If you live in a hot spot take deep consideration on having a physical event with loved ones.
  • Consider the location of the gathering- it`s best to gather outside, set up tables that are separated by distance and household, and even have people bring their own food to eat to avoid contamination.
  • Don’t let the gathering last too long, the longer the gathering the longer the risk of exposure.
  • The number of people at the gathering should be kept to a minimum, and consider where people are traveling from, have people quarantine first if they’d want to travel from hotspots.
  • The behaviors of the people attending both before and during the gathering is important. If you know that some members are not practicing social distancing measures to the best of their ability, consider their attendance. Be sure to have people wear masks, provide extras, when in closer proximity and practice proper handwashing and social distancing.


We know it can be difficult to make all of these changes and still let it feel just as meaningful. However, these changes are necessary to keep you and those you love safe and healthy for the next Thanksgiving. If you’re having difficulty talking to your children about these changes, check out these tips from GWC to help you stay supported and knowledgeable.