Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the day of giving thanks and the official start of the holiday season. Normally something to look forward to, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused concerns about how, or if, a holiday gathering should be held.
The short answer? It’s still doable, but precautions need to be taken.
Get The Shopping Done Early
This one tends to be on the party host’s to-do list every year: get what you need early to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping. Sometimes it gets done, sometimes it doesn’t.
This year, get it done early.
Crowds continue to be a huge factor in contracting the coronavirus, and the holidays traditionally serve as the best time to experience shopping crowds. So plan on actually getting the shopping done early so nobody (hopefully) has to keep running out to grab stuff that was needed.
Check the holiday hours of the stores a few weeks before Thanksgiving and plan accordingly. Also, if anyone coming to dinner has plans to participate in a Turkey Day 5k or holiday marathon, maybe ask if they can skip the race this year.
Keep The Guest List To A Minimum
The 2020 holiday season will present several new challenges to the party host, not the least which includes social distancing. Some basic precautions can be observed, such as the constant wearing of masks when not eating and drinking and spreading out the party space to include outdoor areas.
However, the most effective way to limit the possibility of harmful exposure will be to limit the number of people at the party at one time. The California Department of Health, for example, recommended inviting a maximum of three households to a holiday gathering. If the average family households clocks in at four members, that’s only 12 individuals.
Air supply and ventilation remain two of the key factors in limiting the spread of the virus. As such, more space and less people will be the ideal situation. Also, make sure none of the guests bring along surprise guests this year.
Maybe Hold Off On The Singing and Shouting
Singing probably won’t present too many challenges to most households; Thanksgiving guests usually don’t break out into carols over dinner, and as long as nobody turns on the karaoke machine or settles down for a post-dinner acoustic set, singing should be held to a minimum.
Shouting, however, might be a challenge. Never mind the fact that even small gatherings can get loud; the election just occurred, and tempers could still be raw, especially if all the ballots have not been counted by the time dinner starts.
It’s tempting to announce to everyone that politics will not be an acceptable topic of conversation. However, should that not be an option, state some ground rules such as only one person speaks at a time, no interruptions allowed from anyone, and encourage the speakers to provide backup information.
Uncomfortable situations don’t have to go hand-in-hand with holiday gatherings. That will be especially important to remember this year, because regardless of where the party guests fall on the political spectrum, everyone will be exhausted from getting through 2020. Plan for anything, and hope for the best.