This year I am thankful for the Covid-19 vaccine and the 59.4% of the US population who care enough about others to be fully vaccinated. Many of us have been traveling, going to movies and eating in restaurants. We all feel safer about getting together with family, friends and neighbors, but my family will still be celebrating together via Zoom from all over the US. Compared to last year our country is doing better, but we’re not where many of us thought we’d be by now.
I’m hopeful that by this time next year more of our population will believe in science and vaccines, instead of myths and lies, and we can all finally return to the joyous Thanksgivings we used to celebrate.
Last year I wrote what I assumed would be a uniquely 2020 piece about celebrating Thanksgiving during a pandemic. I’m sharing it again because it turns out that with the warnings about a potential holiday surge, 2021’s holiday is another pandemic Thanksgiving.
A Pandemic Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving 2020)
Anyone who knows me knows that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Since I don’t decorate for Christmas my home is usually a Thanksgiving wonderland during November. I have multiple figurines, Thanksgiving dish towels, tablecloths and napkins, turkey platters and festive salt and pepper shakers. I even have ceramic turkey centerpieces that my local florist fills with fresh flowers each year. The menu includes turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with two different toppings, half with marshmallows and half with applesauce and cinnamon.
Ever since my dad asked us all to come home to New Jersey for Thanksgiving many years ago, and I replied by asking why anyone would want to go to NJ in late November when they could celebrate in Southern California, my home has been the Thanksgiving destination for our families. Everyone has always been welcome at our Thanksgiving table. We’ve been joined by family, friends, friends of friends and neighbors. My uncle came every year until he passed away in 1994, but the two friends he always invited continued to share Thanksgiving with us for many years after he was gone.
Of course, this year is different. Our family will be together via a Zoom call in the morning, but we will all be eating our holiday meals separately. No one is flying anywhere, and while we will all be eating variations of the traditional holiday meal, it won’t be the same without everyone being together. One family member has been lost to Covid 19 this year and another will be spending the holiday in quarantine due to a positive diagnosis. It’s been many months since any of us have gotten together, and it’s likely to be many months until we can be together again.
We are sacrificing our usual family gathering because we love each other and want everyone we care about to be safe. We will have this very different pandemic Thanksgiving so that hopefully, after everyone has been vaccinated, we can get together in a joyous celebration next year. Until then, we will continue to be careful and follow the guidelines and recommendations put forward by healthcare professionals and the incoming administration. Each of us will do our best to keep everyone safe.
Even during this mostly terrible year, there are things for which we can be thankful. I hope you will take a few moments on Thanksgiving Day to think about the good things and enjoy the holiday. If you have decided to stay home and protect the rest of us, then I am very thankful for you!
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