Celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thanksgiving gatherings traditionally center around time spent breaking bread with loved ones. This year, in light of the ongoing pandemic, the steep rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the recent Governor orders to limit social gatherings and non-essential activities, Thanksgiving celebrations are likely to look different for many people.

Fortunately, there are still safe, fun, and meaningful ways to celebrate the holiday together. Read on for Balanced You’s tips and resources for navigating 2020’s Thanksgiving.

Dine safely with others

The safest way to celebrate with others this year is to do so with people who live in your household – no need to leave your home and it means more leftovers for you!

The safest way to celebrate with others this year is to do so only with people who live in your household – no need to leave your home and it means more leftovers for you. Gatherings with people from outside your home are not recommended. The Governor orders impose the following restrictions on gatherings:

  • Indoor social gatherings with people who do not live with you are prohibited, unless you quarantine for 14 days prior OR quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people who do not live with you.

Please exercise caution when planning in-person Thanksgiving gatherings.  Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that you wear a mask around people you don’t live with (even close friends and family) – and make sure you are doing everything you can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The sacrifices we make now will help us save lives in the coming weeks.

Host a virtual Friends- or Family-giving

This year, Zoom has announced they will open their platform on Thanksgiving Day so anyone on the globe can make free Zoom calls with no time cap. This means you could stack virtual family gatherings and friendsgivings back to back, with no rushed travel in between. Whether you’re planning or participating in virtual celebrations, consider the following:

  • A coordinated menu can provide an opportunity for bonding. Invite everyone to share a favorite recipe to help build the menu, then eat each course together, virtually!
  • A gratitude practice can be infused into the celebration. Encourage attendees ahead of time to put together a 2020 gratitude list and build in time to allow everyone to share their top three during dinner. (For inspiration, you could share Mindfulness Northwest’s 5-minute gratitude meditation.) This will help keep the focus on the spirit of the day: giving thanks.
  • A long-distance holiday movie night can provide additional opportunity for you and your loved ones to bond. Streaming services such as Netflix can be used to watch movies together. Or, if you are using Zoom, one person can play a movie and screen-share with others. Build in intermissions for snacks, bathroom breaks, and banter.

Plan fun activities for home

If you live with others, plan fun activities to carry you through the long weekend. Here are a few to consider:

  • Shop the online sales. Many retailers have moved their Black Friday sales online. Shop away! (If stores require store pick-up, opt for contactless curbside delivery, when available.)
  • Have a game day. Play board or card games, host a karaoke party, or play a few competitive rounds of charades.
  • Watch holiday parades on TV. The Macy’s Day Parade is a classic Thanksgiving tradition that will still be available this year. If it’s a tradition you or your loved ones enjoy, be sure to build it in.
  • Get outside and move together. Whether it’s a walk, a hike, or yoga in the park, if weather permits, make plans for you and your family or housemates to get outside safely and move.
  • Exercise or stretch indoors together. Take advantage of Balanced You’s free video resources for exercises and stretches you can do anytime and anywhere, alone or with others.

Balanced You wishes all King County employees a safe, joyful, and restful holiday, from our homes to yours.

Questions? Contact balancedyou@kingcounty.gov.

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