Turkey, casseroles, family, and football all evoke a sense of nostalgia for Thanksgiving for many people. But with the Covid-19 pandemic changing everything this year, it’s hard to imagine that the holidays will be the same. This Thanksgiving, we’ll all have to decide the best way to celebrate, while still being safe. Here are some kid-friendly ideas to connect with family during the holidays, whether you can be there in person or not.
Before Thanksgiving takes place, think of a care package idea with your child. Baking pumpkin muffins and dropping them off on doorsteps, making cards, or even making centerpieces for a family member will help make your family feel like they are taking part in the fun. Making something for neighbors can also help make things feel more festive and help you stay connected to those around you.
This year, try creating a “gratitude bowl.” A week leading up to Thanksgiving, have all the households in your family network write down different things they are thankful for. Then, during a family Zoom call, everyone can take turns reading their notes aloud. This idea keeps the focus on things we are thankful for, rather than what we’re missing out on. And it’s a great way to keep gratitude at the forefront of the holiday.
After Thanksgiving is over, try making “turkey day” resolutions as a family. This can be part of any potential family Zoom calls or just a conversation with your child to end the day. What can we learn or do more of by next Thanksgiving? How can we try to show the people we care about that they are still on our minds? This can be a great reminder to everyone that we can still have a positive outlook, and that there’s a lot to look forward to, on the other side of the pandemic.
If your holiday gathering will be more than just your household this Thanksgiving, there are still ways to make it as safe as possible with Covid-19 precautions. Try to limit the number of guests you may have, and limit the amount of time spent at the gathering. Wear a facial covering if everyone will be indoors. If it isn’t too cold out, try to make airflow and ventilation a priority. Finally, try to plan ahead for the meal so the table setup isn’t as buffet-style as it once might have been. Shared set-ups may not be quite as safe as one person doing the serving.
Even though things may not be the same this year, one important thing to keep in mind is that the kids will probably have just as much fun as years past. I have two younger children, but they breezed through all holidays this year because of the workarounds and fun activities we tried to do. What matters most is connecting with those important to us in some way. So put on a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and find a way to celebrate who and what matters most to you.
We will get through this together, as a family and community who cares – and that’s worth celebrating.