Thanksgiving 2021: How to Keep Gatherings Safe and Festive

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Imagine this: the room is full of holiday decorations. The table is set with colorful centerpieces. The whole family is there, munching on the biggest turkey at the center with all those salads and sweets. Everyone is laughing their hearts out.

The calendar says it’s the fourth Thursday of November. Only you can’t do all these because we’re still in a pandemic.

We’ve entered year two of the pandemic, and we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving like how we used to. It’s been sad. Thanksgiving has always served as our annual reunions with our family and friends. However, we can’t hold Thanksgiving parties as big as we used to because of the restrictions.

But as they say, there’s no stopping Thanksgiving, not even the pandemic.

Holding Celebrations in the Time of COVID-19

Last Thanksgiving, 40% of Americans still thought of preparing face-to-face celebrations with a group of not more than 10 people. This only shows how Americans will always have plans for Thanksgiving.

Vaccinations are ongoing, and things are getting back to normal. You might want to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for your family and friends. But what should you consider?

While there are no gathering restrictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise people to avoid holding big events. CDC defines large gatherings as events that involve people coming from different households. Examples of large events are concerts, festivals, and grand weddings. Those who will hold large events need to follow the CDC safety guidelines. Healthy behavior and safety protocols should be observed.

While an intimate celebration may not count as a large gathering, the CDC still tell people to consider the following:

  • COVID-19 cases in your area: The higher the cases, the more at risk your guests will be.
  • Possible exposure in the event: The longer the trip, the more exposed your guests will be.
  • The location of the event: The poorer the ventilation is, the higher the possibility of spreading the virus.
  • The duration of the event: The longer the event, the higher the risk of getting infected.
  • The number of guests: The more guests, the more people are at risk.
  • Safety protocols: The more guests you interact with, the more you are putting yourself at risk.

Taking all these considerations, you can now plan to hold a small Thanksgiving dinner. It doesn’t have to be grand. It only takes some adjustments when it comes to planning. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare for a minimalist gathering while still observing safety protocols:

  • Hold the dinner in your garden

Outdoor spaces are safer than indoor spaces where ventilation might be poor. It is also easier to observe distancing outdoors. If you have your dinner in your garden, you will not only allow fresh air. You will also enable your guests to move around in a wider area. By not allowing your guests inside will also keep your home safe.

  • Consider preparing solo meals for everyone

You can be infected with the virus if you touch anything infected and if you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. This makes sharing of food and eating together very risky. You can still prepare your family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. But you can consider serving it per pack for everyone’s safety. And as much as possible, stay at a safe distance when eating together.

  • Make sure you sanitize your linen, napkins, and utensils

Your guests will be spending most of their time at your table. However, your table can also be the most touched surface on your Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure your linen is disinfected. You might want to check out companies where you can rent table linen. Make sure they offer sanitation services, too.

You can also ask your guests to bring their utensils and tumblers. This will reassure you that no one will be sharing their utensils as it can be very risky.

  • Stick to ten people or below

It’s very tempting to invite more people knowing they have already been vaccinated. Although vaccinations offer protection, it does not provide immunity. It’s still always best to keep your gatherings small so it is less likely to be a spreader of COVID-19. By inviting only a few, you will also limit your family’s exposure to people outside your household.

Thanksgiving will always be a tradition, and not even the pandemic can keep us from celebrating it. Just because the party is small doesn’t mean it’s less meaningful. At the end of the day, it’s still about being thankful we are all alive and safe during this pandemic.

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