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Nov 24, 2021
It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time spent with the people you love but can only take in small doses — all while taking in large doses of food, football and libations. Last year, Thanksgiving came in the middle of some of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, turkey day and other winter holidays around the world are hitting at a time when both common folk and experts are feeling more optimistic about where we are at in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless, there are still precautions we should be taking to reduce risk, especially if you or someone you love is immunocompromised or unvaccinated. Here are some tips on how to survive the pandemic holidays!
Navigating a Changing World
1 - Stay Up to Date
Last year, amidst widespread lockdowns, it was safe to assume you should stay in place for any given holiday. This year, that isn’t quite the case. Most countries have eased their travel restrictions domestically, if not internationally. And with vaccination rates inching upwards in the U.S., getting family and friends all together again is finally back on the table. Whatever you have planned for this Thanksgiving season, make sure to check in with the Center for Disease Control’s page on holiday best-practices.
2 - Embracing New Traditions
If you’re chafing at the idea of another round of holidays limited by pandemic restrictions, you are not alone. Many Americans will be replacing the traditional touch football game with a small family hike. Others will be sitting down to enjoy their meals together via videoconference. The downside: Thanksgiving chefs attempting to coordinate the preparation of multiple dishes will need to coordinate the timing of the meal delivery across multiple households. The upside: You can mute your crazy uncle on Zoom if need be. The best thing you can do right now is prioritize the health of your loved ones, which might involve hanging onto those masks a little longer than you thought you would.
3 - Try Giving Instead of Getting
The Thanksgiving meal won’t be the only holiday tradition impacted by COVID-19. The consumer onslaught known as Black Friday will likely be muted as well. So why not make this the year that you spend more on Giving Tuesday than Black Friday? The #GivingTuesday movement created by the 92nd Street Y in New York City in 2012, and the charity that ensued from a single hashtag has been remarkable. Plus, when you give, you feel happier, more fulfilled and empathetic. And who couldn’t use more of that right now?
The evidence is clear: Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are planning an in-person gathering over the holidays with others outside your household who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised, health officials advise that those preparing or serving food for guests wear a mask. So what do you do if a relative of yours refuses to wear one?
2 - Mask Your Contempt
If faced with a mask-averse participant, social psychologists say it is important not to talk down to them. Name-calling and condescension rarely win people over. Instead, try figuring out their motivations for not wearing one and where they fall on the spectrum of mask wearing. Emphasize compassion and empathy and how wearing a mask will protect the most vulnerable in the group. And remember: Asking someone to wear one rather than just telling them to is always better.
3 - Some Demographic Insight
It may depend on who is in your family. According to an early Gallup poll, just 42 percent of white people wear masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible, compared to 60 percent of nonwhite people. Democrats were almost three times as likely to mask up outside as Republicans, and women were far more likely to do so than men.
In some cases, alcohol will be the only viable social lubricant for the holidays. So why not try the most viscous, teeth-achingly sweet, nutritionally bankrupt beverage you can possibly imbibe? Eggnog is child’s play compared to the Tom & Jerry. The ingredients for the “batter” could not be more elemental: eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and, for the adult version, your booze of choice. (Try it with equal parts rum and brandy.) After one or two, the adults will be relaxed and the kids swooning from the sugar high.
Has quarantine freed you from the tyranny of Thanksgiving turkey this year? Why not try something bold, beefy and British: the mighty Yorkshire pudding. Crispy and fluffy, carby and comforting, it has all the essentials: meat, potatoes, a handful of veg and lots and lots of gravy. Don’t let the word “pudding” throw you — this savory treat from England’s largest county is essentially a pancake that has risen up into the shape of a crispy cup.
Some people watch football on Thanksgiving, others revel in annual roving balloon inflations, and some of us enjoy a turkey-day tradition of watching Steve Martin and John Candy in the classic 1980s comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Inspired by a delayed trip from Chicago to New York City, John Hughes (of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club fame) wrote, directed and produced the film, a buddy journey about two grown-ass traveling men trying to get home for turkey, thrown together by myriad mishaps that’ll make your holiday problems seem slight by comparison.
Quote of the Day
“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
— Lionel Hampton
What are you grateful for this holiday season? Share your thoughts, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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