As the holidays approach, Americans have begun wondering what to do about family gatherings. Is it safe to travel this Thanksgiving? Should we fly or drive? Today on the blog, we encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19. We’ve put together some fun Thanksgiving alternatives that can bring some cheer to the 2020 holiday season.
First: Is It Necessary?
Before asking whether or not it is possible to travel safely this holiday season, we encourage you to reflect on whether it is necessary. While we all enjoy gathering and sharing a communal meal, in the era of COVID-19, it is probably wiser to adjust and spend Thanksgiving at home with your immediate family or housemates. Today, we are in a so-called “third wave” of coronavirus; on November 13th, the nation reached a record high of 150,000+ cases in a single day. Hospitalizations have surpassed the numbers from April. If previous holiday spikes are any indication, this could spell trouble for Thanksgiving gatherings.
It’s a fact of COVID that when people gather, the virus spreads. According to Vox, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day all resulted in a boost of new cases. Last Thanksgiving’s travel numbers paint a grim picture: in 2019, more than 31.6 million people flew to visit family, while an estimated 50 million drove to see loved ones. While the current state of the country will doubtless decrease those numbers, with no clear guidance from the government, it is up to each of us to decide whether to leave our homes and gather with loved ones this November.
Added Risk This Thanksgiving
To compound our indecision, consider that other major holidays in COVID have centered around time spent with friends and neighbors. On top of this, they have also taken place during periods of warmer weather, when people can spend time outside. Even though these events have spread the virus, those factors have given a buffer to the elderly or sickly.
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, on the other hand, usually involve spending hours in an enclosed space with a large group, typically including older or more vulnerable relatives. The cold weather keeps everyone indoors.
When you add in the normal holiday stressors, you may realize that adapting your traditions is the way to go in 2020. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite recommendations for a safe Thanksgiving.
Host a Virtual Thanksgiving
Our first piece of advice is to fire up the old webcam and connect with your loved ones in a virtual Thanksgiving dinner. You can use Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype – whichever video chatting platform you prefer. Consider planning your meal together so that everyone can partake in the family’s favorite dishes or break with tradition entirely and order a pizza. It’s 2020 – all bets are off. With this approach, you can still see and eat with your family and friends while keeping everyone safe.
Host a Dinner for Your Bubble
You may have heard some buzz about COVID-19 bubbles or pods. These are people you see often and with whom you have close physical contact. Many countries have created guidelines recommending that citizens pair up with one other household for support, fellowship and social interaction. Think about the people in your bubble; they’re probably facing the same tough holiday choices that you are. In response, throw a Friendsgiving to remember: a small gathering of the people who you see on a regular basis. We encourage you to follow CDC best practices when selecting your group and planning your event.
Bring Food to Your Loved Ones
If you live near your in-laws, parents or other family members, you can still enjoy some traditional Thanksgiving meals without in-person interaction. Prepare those time-intensive specialties and drop them off at your loved ones’ houses. That way, everyone can enjoy their favorite holiday dishes without endangering any at-risk family members.
Break with Tradition This Thanksgiving
For those in recovery, the holidays are a notoriously difficult time. Large family gatherings can include difficult questions about addiction, pressure to drink and arguments about politics. Consider viewing 2020 as an opportunity. Instead of feeling stressed out, embrace change. Start your own Thanksgiving tradition from the comfort of your own home. Make a list of the things you’re grateful for and be sure to include your sobriety. If you need any help or support along the way, we’re here for you.
Addiction Treatment During COVID-19
For those struggling with addiction in the era of COVID-19: you are not alone. Cumberland Heights is here to provide comprehensive, evidence-based care. Our staff is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that our campus remains a safe place to recover. For more information, contact us online or by calling (800) 646-9998.