Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely in 2020

Published on November 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re full swing into this Holiday season. As we talked about in our how to guide on Halloween, celebrating the Holidays and connecting with friends and family can be a substantial way to increase your mental health during these times.

The following information are guidelines we’ve borrowed via the Center for Disease Control (CDC), but absolutely should not supersede guidelines and mandates set by your local, county, or state officials. Remember that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. 

Celebrate Virtually!

If you haven’t seen the McCormick commercials, they basically show you that Thanksgiving can be celebrated with the whole family virtually! Hop on a zoom call, facetime, or google hang out with the family and cook each others favorite dishes! Then everyone takes the dishes they’ve made and eat it together virtually, you can have the same laughs, the same conversations, as if it were any other Thanksgiving dinner (with the added bonus of NOT having to wash all those dishes!).

Celebrate with the people in your household!

Do everything you do with extended family on Thanksgiving with the members of your household! Watch movies, look at family photos, play board games, watch sports, there are plenty of things you can do with your household during this Thanksgiving!

If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take these steps to make your celebration safer.

Wear a Mask

Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19. Make sure your mask is covering your nose and mouth, is secured under your chin, and fits snugly against the sides of your face. Stay at lease 6 feet away from others who do not live with you. Just like when we go grocery shopping, or have to be outside of our homes, keep social distancing. Remember that people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or the flu, so keep 6 feet away (that’s about two arm lengths) from others.

Wash your hands

This is the most effective way to protect yourself and others during this Thanksgiving. We touch almost everything, from surfaces, food, items, our faces, etc., so it is important that we wash our hands effectively and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  In a pinch you can also keep hand sanitizer with you (that has at least 60% alcohol) so that you can keep your hands clean when a sink and running water isn’t available to you.

Attending Thanksgiving

If you’re heading over to a family member’s house for Turkey day, there are ways to make everything safer for your household and for those you are visiting. Do things like bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils. Avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared or handled (like the kitchen). Try to use single-use items like dressings, condiments, plates, food containers, etc. WEAR YOUR MASK and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.

Hosting Thanksgiving

If you’re having guests in your home, there are steps that you and folx should follow to make Turkey day safer. Have a small outdoor meal, being outside helps disperse particulates in the air add social distancing to the mix and it makes it a lot safer for you and your guests. Limit your number of guests. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items. If indoors, make sure to open some windows to keep the air circulating.

Everyone can make Thanksgiving safer. Whether you’re staying in with your household, visiting a small family gathering, or hosting a small family gathering, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be cancelled due to COVID. It’s also important to communicate. Communicate your intentions with your family, friends, and guests, let them know your comfort levels, and talk about what everyone can do to make celebrating safe.

We also know that the holidays are particularly hard for a lot of youth and families. If you’re reading this and you or someone you know needs help you can always call or text our California Youth Crisis Line at 800-843-5200. We’re available 24/7 for youth and families whenever you need us.



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