Opinion: People should rethink how they celebrate Thanksgiving this year

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Family holding grace around dinner table before Thanksgiving feast. (Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com)

Camila Aguero-Salas

With people slowly starting to meet with family and friends again after months in lockdown, the holiday season may bring up a certain question: will we be able to celebrate Thanksgiving like we normally would? With no vaccine yet available to the public and with the flu season coming up, I believe families should limit Thanksgiving celebrations to the immediate family or people in the same household. 

In the United States, it is the tradition for many families to unite during the holiday season, especially for an event such as Thanksgiving. In prior years, families would have probably already made plans to fly across the country to visit a distant cousin or grandma and grandpa. Many families would have probably gathered in a relative’s house for a big potluck with more than just immediate family present. However, this year is clearly very different from previous years. The current pandemic, affecting everyone worldwide, calls for more precautions to be taken for Thanksgiving celebrations this year; even if it means celebrating very differently than we usually do.

In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, immunologist and White House advisor, gave advice for Thanksgiving gatherings this year. He explained, “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice social gatherings unless you’re pretty certain that the people you’re dealing with are not infected…” Dr. Fauci has a really great point in that people will need to be very cautious about who they invite to their homes if they do decide to have a gathering, in order not to risk anyone spreading the virus.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have curated a list of guidelines for this year’s Thanksgiving including, “Have guests bring their own food and drink,” and “Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together,” among many others. Knowing who is attending a gathering and having conversations with them beforehand is especially important to make sure that the person has not been exposed to the virus recently.

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It may be hard and even sad to celebrate Thanksgiving this way, which is understandable. With such a hard year, many people may feel the need to be with family and friends right now. Though, what matters most in these uncertain times, is the safety and health of the people that we love. There are other ways we can be with our loved ones this year, such as a zoom call or sending one another a family recipe. By spending this Thanksgiving a little differently, people can help slow the spread of the COVID-19, and consequently, help in the return to a normal where we can gather with our family and friends once again.