A COVID-19 Thanksgiving

We all have to make our choices about how or whether to gather during this holiday season.

Two of our kids live with us still, so they’re obviously in. We have five other kids, and of course my mom and my brother, and Margaret’s dad, all of whom usually come. But because of COVID-19, we have invited only one of our children to join us, and only because he has no other options.

It’s challenging to make this choice. We will miss having everyone here.

Thanksgiving table
Our Thanksgiving table a couple years ago. The china was my grandmother’s, Rosenthal from Germany. The water goblets are from Walmart.

This fascinating article from the Spanish El País newspaper explains (in English) how the coronavirus is transmitted through the air. Even if we all wear masks, even if we are all six feet apart, if he is contagious and spends even an hour inside with us he is likely to infect some of us.

So we won’t dine at our big table. Instead, we will set up card tables in the garage. We’ll open the overhead door and light a propane heater.

I’ll miss the formal table this year, but it’s better than leaving our one son out.

Did you choose differently? Are you inviting your people in, or going to someone else’s home, for this holiday?


21 responses to “A COVID-19 Thanksgiving”

  1. J P Avatar

    We are empty nesters and will celebrate Thanksgiving in the empty nest by ourselves. In the past we have had all of our children, their plus ones and others from both sides of the family, some years going beyond the 10 person capacity of our dining room.

    But I guess it will be better than last year when we had to cancel on Wednesday evening because my mother took a bad turn and we expected her death at any time. So we may be the only ones who can count Thanksgiving this year as an upgrade.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow, yes, this year is an upgrade for you then, for sure! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

  2. yuri rasin Avatar

    Happy Thanksgiving Jim. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in France…. but we celebrate Black Friday which is insane. We exported an event that celebrates consumerism instead of exporting something very special that we can appreciate in families.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      One sorry export from the United States to be sure.

  3. Doug Anderson Avatar

    For a number of years we alternated Thanksgiving dinner between our home in New Jerasy and our son and his family’s home in Tampa. There would be six of us for dinner. But in recent years our granddaughter has been playing in Thanksgiving weekend soccer tournaments so they have been having their Thanksgiving dinner in restaurants and we have been inviting friends and neighbors who would otherwise be having Thanksgiving dinner alone or in some anonymous setting. Our dining table seats six comfortably but we have sometimes had as many eight for dinner.

    This year we are having just one guest. Our friend John is 90 years old. He lives alone, within walking distance of our apartment. Both he and we have been limiting our contacts and, in particular, not having anybody but a very occasional workman in our homes except for mutual visits. When it is too cold to leave the windows open I run the central AC blower to circulate the inside air through the HEPA air filter.

    All the best,

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Good on you for taking care of your friend John this year. I hope it’s a lovely celebration!

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Happy Thanksgiving Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Same to you my friend!

  5. fishyfisharcade Avatar

    I hope your Thanksgiving is enjoyable for you all, despite the sacrifices required. If I were to offer some words of optimism, then consider that it’s likely to be a noteably memorable occasion to be able to look back upon in later years. Make pictures of it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      True! I’ll go get out my camera.

  6. Michael McNeill Avatar
    Michael McNeill

    Your plan sounds perfect for a really memorable day – I’m sure you will all make the most of it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s what this year is all about!

  7. brandib1977 Avatar

    My parents and aunt are retired and go few places. I’m working from home again and am ultra careful when out so we all felt safe celebrating together indoors. It was strange though because my mother usually invites “stray people” – those relatives and friends who might have nowhere else to go. So it was quiet.

    I have a friend who opted to skip the big meal and instead had a bonfire with her two grown kids and two granddaughters tonight. Pumpkin pie and cider for everyone!

    I’m glad you got to have some family together and am sorry there were so many hard choices. If it’s any consolation, empty seats at the table for one year are better than empty seats forever.

    It still sucks.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Jim.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Now that a vaccine is in the offing, perhaps next year we can have the Thanksgiving we really want.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Yeah, I suspect that next Thanksgiving will look a little more familiar.

  8. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    We usually go to Tammy and Mark’s house for Thanksgiving and there is usually around 10 or 12 there. This year we know so many people that have had the virus or are recuperating from it ( including Tammy and Mark ), that Jerry and I had our little dinner at home. Everyone usually comes to our house for Christmas, but I think this year it will just be the two of us for that also. Michael has already said that they are staying home in Columbus for Christmas. Keep your mom safe !! And yourselves.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Can I just admit that I look forward to the day I go to one of my kids’ house for Thanksgiving? They cook, they clean — we go home!

      I’m sure Christmas will be light here, as well. I’m glad you and Jerry are staying safe this season!

  9. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    It was just us and our two boys at home. Same as it has been the past 8-9 months. During our meal, we had my mom set up on a nearby tripod for a video/Facetime to chat with us (she’s eastern standard time and my dad had already gone to bed). Lots of FaceTimes with family and friends during the day!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Can you imagine this pandemic without FaceTime and Zoom? We’d all be so much more isolated.

  10. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    Very wise choices Jim. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, but I have quite a few friends and colleagues in the US, especially Southern California. I noticed on my Facebook feed that many of them have celebrated as usual, and I really do hope they don’t find themselves regretting this in a few weeks. My wife works in the public health system here, and we are very aware of the consequences if this thing gets out of control. Stick to your guns and keep your family safe, it will pass eventually :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m encouraged by news of effective vaccines. I’m eagerly awaiting word on safety and side effects.

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