Things Will Get Better: Celebrating Virtual Thanksgiving

By LIFEPlan Guest Writer: Stacy Mason, LMSW, Hudson Valley Regional Liaison

2020 is a year that has forced us all to adjust to change in how we do things. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic now threatens Thanksgiving and Holiday traditions. Many families have dug in their heels, vowing to do the holidays the way they always have.

What is the alternative for celebrating this important family holiday? How do you plan for a Thanksgiving during a pandemic? In “normal” times, the Thanksgiving holiday is among one of the busiest travel times in the year. But this year, airline bookings for November are down as much as 88% compared to this time last year. Recently, the Governor announced that all gatherings must be capped at 10 people — even in private homes.

My family plans to stay home this year. Just the four of us – me, my two sons who are LIFEPlan Members, and my partner of 11 years, Tom. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving at home. We have  never done this, and it is disappointing. But we will be OK. We will adapt to this new normal now, the same way we have since March.

We have much to be thankful for, something we constantly remind ourselves. We have been lucky to have stayed healthy throughout the pandemic. While some extended family members have had COVID, they have been almost completely asymptomatic and have recovered quickly. I have also been fortunate to have switched my Social Work practice completely to telehealth. And I’ve been able to be home with my kids much of the day every day.

I have to admit, I was never a believer in online therapy and certainly never had family meetings or get togethers with friends on Zoom. But I’ve gotten used to it, and I’m a believer now. It’s not exactly the same as the real thing, but it’s much better than a phone call, and I  almost forget sometimes that it’s not the real thing.

We were thinking that this might be an opportunity to introduce family members who have never met before. We always regretted that we couldn’t be in two places at one time, but maybe Zoom will make it possible this year?

So, set a time for dinner, and eat with your family this year on Zoom. Remember what you have to be thankful for. Stay safe, and focus on our COVID free future.  Hopefully, that will be true next Thanksgiving. Hugs to everyone out there who is struggling. Things will get better. Happy Thanksgiving!