No one can dispute that 2020 has been a crazy year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in almost every aspect. So it’s safe to say that the 2020 holiday season will also be different than what we are all used to, with many age-old family traditions having to be canceled or limited. This will be particularly hard on the older generation, who are among those in the higher-risk group for COVID-19. Social distancing has already limited seniors’ in-person interaction with their families, but perhaps at no time of the year will that be more intensely felt than during the holidays, which are normally a time for family and friends to get together and share in the festivities of the season. And now that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, you may feel a bit perplexed about how to celebrate it in the absence of your family and friends. Here are some tips to help:
- Remember this is temporary – Let’s be optimistic that by the holiday season next year (and hopefully even sooner), the COVID-19 crisis will no longer be the threat that it is right now and that we will be free to be among our family and friends without fear of becoming sick. Think about how quickly the years go by and realize that before you know it, the holiday season of 2021 will be here. If you’re used to preparing large Thanksgiving dinners for a houseful of people, look at this year as a chance to sit back and relax without all the hustle and bustle that goes with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning in preparation.
- Think small – If your Thanksgiving dinner will only be for a few people this year, it doesn’t have to be small in heart. Check out these ideas for preparing a small Thanksgiving dinner (https://www.thespruce.com/small-thanksgiving-dinner-ideas-2997556). Or you can still cook a large turkey and all the trimmings and just freeze all the leftovers in separate meal-size containers that will provide delicious dinners for weeks to come. Or you can still cook for your entire family and let them pick it up so that they don’t miss out on your home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. In some way, it will probably warm your heart to know that they are eating a meal that you lovingly prepared for them, even if it’s not in your company.
- Forgo the turkey – If you aren’t a big turkey fan but always made it to please everyone else, now is your chance to cook whatever you want for Thanksgiving. Choose the favorite meal of you and your partner and make it an intimate little dinner for two. Bring out the fancy tablecloth and perhaps some candles to make it feel like a special occasion, in spite of current circumstances.
- Let someone else cook – If you don’t enjoy cooking or don’t feel like cooking this year, you still have options. Many restaurants will be open for curbside pickup or delivery, so choose one of your favorites and order a nice Thanksgiving meal. Some supermarkets also offer complete Thanksgiving meals that you can order in advance and pick up the day before the holiday.
- Plan virtual visits – 2020 is the year of video calling and teleconferencing. Just because you can’t visit in person doesn’t mean you can’t use a smartphone to see your loved ones while you talk to them on the phone by using FaceTime (for iPhone) or if you have an Android device, see https://www.lifewire.com/can-you-facetime-on-android-1999174. If your family is large, you can set up or have someone in your family set a Thanksgiving Zoom meeting so that everyone can “visit” at the same time. For information on how to use Zoom, visit https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-domaindev-st_emea&hsimp=yhs-
- GIVE THANKS! – Above all, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for all the good things in our life. Studies have shown time and again that when you focus on the positive areas of your life, it immediately improves your mood. So rather than thinking about what you’re missing this Thanksgiving, take some time to make a gratitude list, either mentally or on paper. Even if you think you don’t have much to feel thankful about, if you task yourself with making a list, you may be surprised at all the good things in your life that you take for granted. And it always seems to work. When you list the things that you are lucky to have, it just makes you feel better! If you need help getting started, take a look at this advice on How To Make a Gratitude List. (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Gratitude-List)