Ahh, Thanksgiving, time to…yeah, this sucks. No two ways about it.
Experts have all but begged us to skip traditional Thanksgiving with our families this year, noting that the prospect of massive gathers from people that come from numerous communities is a perfect caldron to allow for (even more) explosive growth of COVID-19. There’s no question that Thanksgiving has the potential to be deadly for hundreds of thousands of Americans, as we’ve seen with every holiday since COVID-19 began.
Need further proof of the danger that Thanksgiving presents to all of us? Just look at what happened in Canada. Canadian Thanksgiving is October 11. Experts there begged Canadians to skip their usual holiday. Many listened. Many did not. The result: Massive spikes.
Okay, fine, you get it. We have to skip our usual Thanksgiving this year and turn another life event digital. God, this sucks. I mean, let’s all be clear about it. This sucks. So, how do you cope? Some thoughts.
First, yeah, we’re all tired of Zoom…but it’s better than nothing. To their infinite credit, Zoom is waving their forty minute limit on free calls in an effort to get people to stay home. Yes, of course this is marketing, but let’s give credit where credit is due, it’s a good move. I’d even go one step further if you are truly worried about Thanksgiving: Get your damn laptop and put the person who is missing in the seat where they would normally be. Want to really sell the illusion to yourself or your kids? Set a place setting. Does it sound silly? Sure. Who gives a damn. We’re eight months into a flipping pandemic. Go to town. Do you. All that matters on this one is that you and your family feel good.
Second, if you’re going to sell the illusion of togetherness, do it. Arrange the Zoom call and make sure your family is eating at the same time. If they are close by, do what my wife is doing: Make a “care package” meal for the family, and have them pick it up (outside, while wearing a mask). Eat at the same time. It’s not the same. Of course, it’s not the same. But again – we’re so blessed when you get right down to it. We have the ability to be together, even if we cannot actually be together. Can you imagine if this happened in 2000? Even 2010?
Third, start a new tradition. What works for you? How can you celebrate without truly being with all of your family? What event can you do together that will make the day more special, even if you aren’t in the same room? I’d add one twist to this: Whatever your new tradition is, be it a game, movie, special walk – make it something expandable. Remember, God willing, this will have passed by next year. What can you do that you can incorporate your family into when we’re all together again next year?
Fourth, practice some self-care – and maybe “us” care. This sucks. Don’t pretend it doesn’t. If you have kids who desperately want to hug Grandma and Grandpa (sigh), let them feel their pain. Don’t tell them nothing is wrong – allow them to express their feelings and their pain. From there, take care of them. Help them work through their pain, and then do something nice together. My wife has introduced our kids to “spa baths” where they get a bath, but with bubbles, candles, and spa music – and then I have to put a damn towel in the drier so they have warm towels…anyway, it’s a nice touch. But do something nice for yourself and your loved ones.
I get it…I really do. We’re all so, so tired. But, again, we’re blessed…there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We have to get through this tough winter, and a better day is likely ahead.