Safer Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in 2020

This year’s holiday celebrations may look quite different than they have in the past, and the thought of what to do and exactly how to do it is probably more stressful than ever before. There’s no denying that we’d all like to be with family and friends and have the opportunity to reconnect and bring some normalcy back to our lives. But we here at the YMCA of Central Florida want everyone to have safe and healthy holidays, so we encourage you to consider a few ways to modify your plans to keep your friends, family, and our entire community safe this season.

Virtual Celebration

The safest option—not just for high-risk individuals—is to host a virtual celebration. Over the last few months, platforms like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook Rooms, and Zoom have become extremely popular! You can plan a menu that is easy for everyone to prepare on their own, and enjoy the company of your family and friends while eating together.

Here’s a simple menu idea that you could share with your loved ones and make together:

  1. A roasted turkey breast and gravy.
  2. Classic stuffing or dressing.
  3. Mashed or sweet potatoes.
  4. Your favorite dessert.

Looking for something different? Try our Couscous with Butternut Squash, Apples, and Cranberries or our Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto.

Think of some fun ideas for dinner conversation that everyone can participate in like:

  • If you were a season what season would you be?
  • If you could be any animal in the world what would you be and why?
  • Play a game of 20 questions! Have one person think of a fun family memory and have the others ask up to 20 questions to figure out what the memory is.

While it might not be the personal touch you’re hoping for, it’s still an opportunity to spend quality time with each other!

In-person Gatherings

If you are going to move ahead and have an in-person gathering, keep your group small and intimate. Luckily for those of us living here in Florida, the weather is usually nice enough to sit outside. This would allow everyone to remain safely distanced from each other.

The CDC also listed numerous ways in which you can have a small gathering for the holidays while remaining safer. Some examples are:

  • Wear a mask while preparing food for or serving food to others who don’t live in your household.
  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
  • Have one person who is wearing a mask serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils, or have single-use options for things like plates, utensils, and condiments.
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing, serving, and eating.
  • Offer no-touch trash cans for guests to easily throw away food items.
  • Wash dishes in the dishwasher or with hot, soapy water immediately following the gathering.

Find more information on healthy holiday gatherings from the CDC.