Thanksgiving can always be a bit stressful with all of the food and décor preparations. But this year may look a little different and have a bit more stress and uncertainty as the worldwide pandemic still prevents many of us from being with our loved ones or enjoying the holiday with our usual traditions. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. Here are some tips on how you can enjoy Thanksgiving in person or virtually while being safe and healthy.
1. Wear Masks
Wear a mask at your Thanksgiving gathering and whenever you leave the house. Wearing a mask indoors can be especially important if family members who don’t live in your household are attending. Of course, you can take your mask off while enjoying the feast. However, don’t use sipping on your drink as an excuse to take of your mask throughout the celebration! Try to keep your mask on as much as possible and make sure that it fits securely over your nose and mouth.
2. Reduce Travel
Many families will still travel during Thanksgiving this year. However, airports, gas stations, bus stations, and other forms of transportation can increase exposure to COVID and illness. If you’re going to travel, make sure you wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, sanitize your area, and try to reduce contact with other individuals. You may also want to opt for a direct flight instead of a flight with a layover or even driving yourself instead of flying — if time permits, of course.
3. Scale Down the Guest List
While you may usually invite many friends and family members to your Thanksgiving dinner, try to keep the guest list short and reduce the size of the gathering. The more people who are gathered together, the higher the risk of spreading illness or infection. Additionally, the size of your gathering may be determined by local or state regulations. To ensure home safety, celebrate Thanksgiving with members of your own household. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with others. You could arrange a drop-off meal for those who live naerby. You can prepare a plate and leave it on the doorstep of a loved one to help reduce potential risk of infection.
4. Keep it Short and Sweet
Another one of our holiday safety tips is to keep your Thanksgiving meal short and sweet. Longer gatherings can be more of a risk than shorter gatherings — especially since being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more can greatly increase your risk of getting sick. You could keep dinner and festivities shorter than usual, or even just invite guests over for dessert.
5. Maintain Distance
If you can, try moving your Thanksgiving feast outdoors instead of seating everyone at your dinner table. However, we know that many locations are cold by Thanksgiving. If you can’t eat outdoors, make sure you have plenty of space indoors. Try to seat attendees 6 feet apart to maintain distance and help reduce the potential spread of illness. You can also open the windows for better ventilation inside your home. And you should make sure hand sanitizer is readily available no matter where you are eating.
6. Be Careful while Serving
Families may conduct their Thanksgiving feast in different ways. Maybe you eat family style with all of the dishes on the table, or maybe you prefer to go for a buffet. This year, you may want to have individuals designated to dish out foods to help limit the amount of contact guests have with each other. Think about it this way: If everyone were to serve themselves, then everyone would touch the serving utensils, essentially coming in contact with everyone in the group. By having a single person or just a few people in charge of serving, you can reduce this exposure. Servers should carefully wash their hands and wear gloves if available.
7. Share Virtual Experiences
Technology has allowed us to stay connected with loved ones across the country. Think of creative ways to share virtual experiences this Thanksgiving. Maybe you could have a family video chat going on during the day or even the feast. You could say a Thanksgiving prayer together or spend time talking about what you are grateful for this year. These traditions don’t have to stop just because you aren’t in the same place.
8. Coordinate Dishes
If you aren’t able to meet together, you can still enjoy the same feast. Coordinate with your loved ones on a menu and prepare the same dishes. This can help you enjoy all of your classic Thanksgiving dishes and provide a sense of connection with those who aren’t with you. You could also try new recipes together and decide if they should be a permanent part of your Thanksgiving menu. You can even arrange to start eating at the same time for a further sense of connectedness.
9. Shop on Cyber Monday
We can’t talk about Thanksgiving without mentioning shopping! Stores often have huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales — some of which start on Thanksgiving itself. To stay safe this year, avoid the stores on Black Friday and opt for online shopping on Cyber Monday. This can help you reduce contact with large groups of people while still getting those killer deals.
Want more holiday shopping safety tips on navigating Cyber Monday? Check out our previous blog post: Senior Safety while Shopping on Black Friday & Cyber Monday.
Although Thanksgiving might have some extra considerations this year, we hope these tips help you and your loved ones stay safe during this Thanksgiving. For additional information on how you can help keep seniors safe from illness and infection this year, feel free to reach out to our team of experts. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!