If the world were a normal place right now, my husband and I would be busy making plans to spend Thanksgiving in Illinois and Christmas in Ohio with our respective families. But because of the pandemic and his status as immunocompromised with a long list of preexisting conditions, we’ve chosen to fly solo for the holidays this year.
It’s a bummer, but I know that thousands of other families are having to make that same difficult decision. So I put together a list of ways to make the most of Thanksgiving if you can’t be with all of the people you love.
Let’s start with the most important thing, shall we? When we started talking about what we were going to make for our Thanksgiving this year, we quickly realized that cooking an entire turkey doesn’t make a lot of sense for us. I’m not a big turkey fan, there are only 2 of us, and he doesn’t even have a physical stomach.
If you’re dining with fewer guests this year, here are some alternatives:
- Modified recipes: A woman named Charissa sent me some great options with smaller serving sizes including Crock-pot Turkey Breast, 5 Sides on One Sheet Pan, and Mini Holiday Pies.
- Restaurants to the rescue: Cracker Barrel and Popeye’s are among the many restaurants that offer a Thanksgiving dinner (no cooking? Yes please!)
- Shirking tradition altogether: Our Thanksgiving plans? Forgetting main proteins entirely and eating nothing but SIDES. Stuffing. All. Day. Long.
As we’ve learned this year, the internet has been a great asset for keeping up with family during a pandemic. That extends to games! If you’re worried about missing out on those highly competitive but treasured family moments, here are a few of my favorite resources:
- “Houseparty” is a free app that lets you play games while video chatting with friends.
- One of our favorite games to play at WayFM is “Quiplash,” a fill-in-the-blank game that is perfect for any creative family. It and several other Jackbox party games come with a “family friendly” mode to make sure the kids can play along as well.
- Ask your Gen Z nieces and nephews if they’re playing “Among Us.” It’s a free mobile game that could score you some major cool points if you can figure out what “sus” means. I was so confused for the first 5 minutes of gameplay, but once I got the hang of it, I had a blast.
If what you’ll miss most about Thanksgiving is the time for debate and discussion, consider joining our World’s Biggest Small Group. Maybe, instead of the usual political debates and disagreements, you can find new ways to connect with family while going through the same study together.
I know, I know. It’s a cheesy one. But there’s something really meaningful about going around the table and saying what you’re thankful for. And I get it, it’s been a tough year. My family has been hit with health issues, job loss, and a lot of loneliness due to social distancing. But I’ve found that feeling grateful is a fast way to get over feeling sorry for myself. So here are a few things I’m thankful for this year:
- A thoughtful husband and a cuddly dog
- A job that lets me work from home
- Family who understands why we can’t be there in person to celebrate
- The INTERNET: I mean, imagine trying to survive a plague 100 years ago.
- A place to call home, even if I’m here a little too much these days.
I don’t know what your gratitude list looks like. I’m guessing it’s different than it was in years past. But whatever is on it or even missing from it due to unforeseen circumstances, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.