Socially Distancing for Holidays

Thanksgiving: a well-loved American holiday filled with turkey, pumpkin pie, and… masks?  This year, with rising COVID-19 rates and increased restrictions over travel and gatherings as we approached the winter season, Thanksgiving looked much different than it has any other year before.  

Despite the desire to spend the holidays with our extended families, families shouldn’t have gotten together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Even though many are playing it safe this holiday season, others felt as though Thanksgiving gatherings were acceptable as long as everyone is cautious and self-aware.  “Other than not flying, family should be together using plain, common sense,” Dr. Gelman, a teacher at Perkiomen Valley High School, said.

Although Thanksgiving is normally a holiday surrounded by family that wouldn’t usually be seen on any other occasion, it seems that the smartest and safest thing for everyone to do this holiday was find other, distanced ways to celebrate with our loved ones.

“Older relatives shouldn’t be kissed directly on the face, but with proper ventilation as in keeping several windows open a bit, I don’t think there is any danger of families spending time together,”  Dr. Gelman said.  He, like many others, believed that Thanksgiving should’ve gone on as usual only with a few extra precautions.

While it is possible to gather with little to no risk of infection, many people do not have the time or resources to make that situation a reality.  For example, “have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community” said the CDC.  While this accommodation can work for some, others do not have access to outdoor spaces, living in areas that are too cold, or just aren’t able to provide for people in a completely sanitary way.

While it logically makes sense that getting together with others without the correct precautions isn’t the right way to go, it isn’t always easy to make decisions without getting our emotions involved.  This year has been a very difficult one for most of us, so it is understandable that people want the comfort of being with family on the holidays.

For example, every year my family hosts Thanksgiving in our house.  We usually invite all the extended family in the area, but this year, we decided that the safest option for all of us would be to celebrate on our own.  It was a difficult decision, especially because we want to spend as much time with my grandparents as possible, but it was clear that in this situation it was much better to be safe than sorry.

While Thanksgiving may have felt a little lonelier this year, I’m sure we will all be able to enjoy our meals while looking forward to the many years to come where we can once again celebrate together with full confidence that our loved ones are safe.

We all value the ones we love, but this year, to show those people that we care about them, the best thing that we can do during the holidays is keep our distance and ensure that everyone is as safe as possible.

Photo: “Thanksgiving Feast” by StarMama is licensed under CC BY 2.0