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How to Make the Best of a 2020 Thanksgiving

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

It's clear that this Thanksgiving will not be like others before it. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are having much smaller holiday gatherings than usual, or, in some cases, going entirely virtual. While this is a difficult and heartbreaking decision for many, (this is my first Thanksgiving without my doggy niece Penny!) there are still ways for you and your family to appreciate and enjoy the holiday and each other in this unusual time.

1. Make Your Home Cozy for Thanksgiving

Make your home as warm as possible, by giving it a special Thanksgiving spruce up. Hang a wreath on the door, add some autumnal décor items: pumpkins, acorns, pinecones, pretty leaves (if you’re not a décor person, do something anyway- I guarantee you’ll be glad you did), and you can even adorn your porch or host a friendly “porch decorating competition” with your family (complete with a prize for the winning porch, of course!). In your living room, add extra pillows and blankets to make your space feel cozier, and light a candle with your favorite autumn smell. Adding a little festivity to your home will give you back a little of that Thanksgiving cheer you might be missing this year.

2. Bring in an Old/New Family Tradition

Bring your family closer together by bringing back a family tradition from the older generations- maybe a retired family recipe. Look back at old family cookbooks, or ask your elders what food they grew up having around the holidays, and recreate one of their tried-and-true dishes this year. You can also start a new family tradition- a window or porch decorating contest (yes, we love our decorated porches!), a family game night, or watch a nostalgic movie remotely together using Netflix Party. These things will not only bring your family closer together, but it will also give you the opportunity to start new family traditions that you can enjoy for many Thanksgivings to come.

3. Adopt a Family

On top of travel restrictions, an economic recession and, well, COVID, the painful truth is that many families have less money to spend on a Thanksgiving meal than in years past. If your family is able to afford to fully celebrate this season, consider giving back by sponsoring another family’s meal. There are many organizations to choose from, including local churches or food pantries by you, but I can recommend contacting your local church, food pantry, Salvation Army or visit You will be matched with a family(s); you can even choose to be matched to a similar family to your own. Additionally, this is a great way to teach your kids about giving back during the holidays, especially if you include them in the matching process.

Most importantly, it’s important to remember that while this Thanksgiving may be a difficult one, as Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q says, “It’s only for now!” Keep the faith, and know your family and friends will be together again soon. Safety first this year. And remember, despite the fact that it has been and continues to be a very difficult year, there is always, no matter the circumstances, something you can find to be thankful for. And don't forget to watch our first-of-its-kind shoppable sitcom, Adulting with Jane!

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