This year, Thanksgiving is going to be very different for many families as Thanksgiving dinner may have to be shared on a smaller scale, with fewer people. We will see a lot less travel – especially air travel, as we all try to keep each other safe during this pandemic. For those who usually enjoy the craziness of big family gatherings, this might really put a damper on their holiday spirit. On the other hand, we could look at it as an opportunity to slow down, try new things, and maybe even create new traditions!
Whether it’s the traditional family dinner or the activities we typically take part in during this holiday week, it is possible to make the best of the situation if we think outside the box. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
- Plan an Intimate Family Dinner – When you are used to having large groups (my family gatherings can easily be 25+ people) things can get really hectic with people of all generations running around the place! This might mean having to use paper plates and plastic cutlery, to save costs – not to mention save your fine china! Hosting a smaller gathering will give us the chance to slow down, take out our fancy dishes and glasses, light some candles, put on some quiet music, and have a “real” sit down dinner.
- Try New Cuisines – Why not try some new cuisines or new twists on the old classics? This is a lot easier to do when we are not feeding a large group of people and trying to keep everyone happy (which is almost impossible, anyway). With a smaller gathering, you can afford to experiment with new or healthier foods. Think Chicken Marsala, Vegan Lasagna, or a Lentil Nut Loaf. If they are a hit, this could even become a new Thanksgiving tradition!
- Donate to Those in Need – If you are fortunate to be able to feed your small family well, consider donating the money you usually spend on a larger gathering to those in need. There are many families who have lost work, income, and are even homeless during the holidays.
- Support Local Restaurants – Consider supporting our struggling local restaurants that have had to open and close with the ups and downs of Coronavirus cases. Many are offering special holiday take-out meals as well as larger catering orders in order to survive.
- Volunteer – If you are going to be alone for the holidays or have a small family, consider ways to help others who really need it. Examples of this would be donating food items or serving at a soup kitchen for the homeless. Charitable organizations are going to need all the help they can get for distributing food and other essentials to those in need during these challenging times. So, let’s help however we can. By helping others, we actually help ourselves. Not only that, it’s a great way to get over the holiday blues.
- Get Active – Smaller groups mean more time, and a lot less to coordinate. Here is a great opportunity to take a nature hike, head to the park, or even organize a scavenger hunt. Or, just bundle up and take a walk downtown to enjoy the holiday décor, while supporting local businesses.
- Be Grateful – Last but not least, let’s not forget the spirit behind Thanksgiving: Gratitude. For whatever we have…income, good food, a roof over our heads, good health, the love of family, or the comfort of loyal friends, near or far, let’s make sure to pause and be grateful for these blessings.