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Planning the Best & Safest Thanksgiving

Holiday season is here! We have so much to be grateful for. Thousands will take the time to give thanks, travel and spend precious time with family, friends and loved ones. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take simple steps to make your celebration safer. Now with the COVID 19 variants, Influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV ) and cold season, those steps start with an at home COVID test, properly wearing a mask, meeting outside for better ventilation, and of course washing your hands often (or using hand sanitizer in a pinch). Also doctors recommend out of an abundance of caution, if you are not feeling well, it's best to stay home and utilize a safe and fun Zoom online meeting to stay connected to loved ones.

Since it may be safest to skip this year’s family holiday gathering if possible, public-health experts say —the decision is a personal one, and there are ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, flu, RSV, cold transmission if you choose to forge ahead. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get COVID 19 vaccinated and receive booster shot as recommended for those most vulnerable and eligible. Flu vaccines are also available at most pharmacies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued detailed guidance for a pandemic Thanksgiving and holiday as coronavirus and cases across the country and hospitalizations hit record highs that surpassed previous records stressing that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate safely with other vaccinated people”. Potential alternatives include a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends or loved ones and contact-free delivery of safely prepared traditional dishes to family and neighbors, the CDC suggested.

The CDC had issued earlier advice on how to navigate fall and winter holidays, noting that “unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic continues, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.” Keep that in mind as we all can do our part.

Sitting out this year’s big family gathering can help keep everyone safe — especially vulnerable family members — and avoid overburdening hospitals during flu season, he said.

“Unfortunately, the merriment we crave — eating, drinking and singing together in a cozy room — are among the highest-risk scenarios for transmitting COVID-19, flu, RSV, colds” Delgado told MarketWatch. “I’m optimistic that things will be very different next year, and we can adjust again this year as an act of charity to our friends, family and community.”

It's always fun to make the holiday feel festive. Here are some fun ways to mix things up.

  • Make place cards and a seating plan

  • Let everyone choose a recipe to add to the menu

  • Get “dressed up”. I, like many of you, have spent most of the last seven months in pants with expandable waistbands.

  • Make the cooking a team effort

  • Have everyone “arrive” like you haven’t been living together

  • On Thanksgiving day, designate someone as the host, then have everyone else go outside and ring the doorbell when guests would normally arrive.

  • Pour drinks.

  • Pass around the appetizers.

  • Make it feel like the festive start to a special occasion.

  • Make a playlist

  • Have a signature beverage

  • Zoom with family & friends

  • We know we all have Zoom fatigue by now, but it’s still the easiest way to see people without getting together in person. And don’t just limit yourself to the actual meal; hang out over Zoom while you’re prepping the food. Talking to someone you don’t see every day is a great way to distract you while you’re peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes.

  • Do a dessert exchange with people you trust to do it safely

  • Plan a non-eating activity

  • Most turkey trots are postponed again this year, but you can always plan an epic board game throwdown or puzzle party. Or even better for this year, gather some notecards and stamps and have everyone write to friends and family you haven’t been able to see in person this year.

Thanksgiving Guide: How to Thanksgiving

How to Cocktail

Simple Thanksgiving Recipes for the First-Time Cook

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