Holiday Gathering During Covid-ALL IS NOT LOST

I know. Most of us are disappointed that health officials are urging us to social distance for this Thanksgiving holiday. The hope, for many who have put off seeing loved ones due to the pandemic, was that by the holiday season things would be better…that we would be moving closer back to normal. But as we all know, that is not the case.

The dreaded 2nd wave of Covid 19 that scientist warned us about is here (although many would argue we never got through the first wave). The number of deaths and the numbers of cases are rising at an alarming pace. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and day by by there are new reports of cities and entire nations going on lockdown.

But all is not lost. Here are some tips on how to still have a wonderful holiday celebration with that includes family and friends:

  1. Accept that it is what it is-We are dealing with an actual pandemic that is out of control. People are dying, and irresponsible gatherings could make things worse. I don’t know about you, but if my mother, or someone else I love got gravely ill or died because they contracted the coronavirus at a gathering I was a part of, I would never get over that. It’s best to be safe, make sacrifices and limit your holiday dinner to those already in your household.

2. Follow The Official Guidelines-If you are determined to take the risk and host or attend a holiday gathering outside of your household be responsible enough to protect yourself and others by following CDC guidelines. I read through this and there is a lot of helpful information on how to best protect yourself when hosting or attending a holiday event this year (this includes suggestions on how to safely serve food/drinks). There are also details on how to do your best to stay safe while traveling.

3. Try New Traditions-One of the things we love about going home for the holidays are traditions, like mom’s apple pie or collards. But this year, if you are not going home, why not take the opportunity to try something different. That could mean veganizing mom’s apple pie or collards or some of your other holiday favorites; try making an entire Vegan spread, or ordering holiday dinner items from some of your local vegan restaurants/caterers. Who knows, maybe you can help introduce some new traditions when you gather with family and friends next year.

4. Zoom It– Whether it’s Zoom or another platform, this is the time to lean into virtual gathering. Some of us may be a little tired of virtual anything because of work. But this is different. This is a chance to still be together, sharing conversation and laughs. You can log on before dinner to catch up or maybe pray together and bless the meal. Maybe keep the meeting open (maybe in another room) so that various people chat in smaller groups or one on one throughout the evening. If you have a group of friends who are all eating solo from home… time it so that you can all eat together on zoom after you cook (or order). It’s not the same as being face to face, but it still counts as being together.

5. Honor Native Americans-To many in the Native American community, Thanksgiving is recognized as a National Day of Mourning to honor the genocide of millions of Native people when europeans came to America. Many of us were taught lies about the origin of Thanksgiving. Now that we are old enough to know better, it’s important to acknowledge what really happened and how as a people, Native Americans continue to struggle because of it.

6. Plan Ahead-Chances are we will experience some other the same shortages that occurred earlier this year due to Covid-19. Masks, disinfectants and even toilet paper could soon be scarce. That doesn’t mean you need to stock pile… but instead, just make sure you have what you need for your holiday. This includes items from the grocery store and other cooking supplies. And if you are ordering food, it might be good to still have food items at home and ready to prepare in case your restaurant of choice suddenly closes or runs out of food. Better safe than hungry.

7. Be Grateful-Most importantly, take a good look at your life and lean into what you have to be grateful for. It has been a tough year, be we are still here and there is life left to be lived. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Stay safe and stay sane.

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