Thanksgiving in the time of COVID: How to celebrate during a global pandemic

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Thanksgiving dinner by Jed Owens.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash 

Plans have been disrupted throughout all of 2020 and Thanksgiving is no exception. Rising COVID-19 infection rates have made gathering for the holidays a risky and complicated affair, but New College students are finding ways to celebrate and be thankful despite all of the restrictions. 

Thesis student and Catalyst staff writer Sofia Jimenez will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Harlem with New College alumni. Jimenez has been living in New York for most of the semester and said that her friends “are her support system [there] and being with them feels like home.” She will be celebrating near Central Park, which she said “puts her in a holiday mood.”

Jimenez and friends will spend the day cooking. While Jimenez said that she is “not much of a cook,” she will make beet salad with walnuts and feta. There will be more than ten people present at the celebration, but Jimenez feels comfortable since she has been seeing these people frequently throughout the pandemic. 

The pandemic did cause Jimenez to change her plans, though. She will not be flying home to Florida to visit her immediate family, which Jimenez said was “a little upsetting.”  She made this decision because “taking a flight right now for only a couple of days is frivolous.”

Third-year transfer student Katherine Hacic will be spending time with her immediate family, just as she would in any other year. While her family does not all live together, it is a small group of only seven people who have all been careful to take all possible precautions because Hacic’s brother is immunocompromised. Hacic and her family members who could have potentially come into contact with someone with the virus will all get tested before Thanksgiving day. 

Hacic is “not really worried” about the gathering and knows that she and her family are taking the necessary precautions. 

On the other hand, visiting student Noah Glass does “not necessarily” feel safe with his family’s plans. This year, his mom will come down from Louisiana and they will spend Thanksgiving at his grandparents’ retirement community in Englewood, Florida. Usually, the retirement community hosts a large potluck for all of the residents, but this year, Glass said that they will have a “tiny, quarantine Thanksgiving.” 

Glass’s mom tested negative for COVID-19 this week and his grandparents and the other residents in their community get tested regularly. Glass said that he knows that he and his family are taking as many precautions that they can while still being able to be together for the holiday. 

Jimenez, Hacic, and Glass all said that they were thankful for their own health and the health of their families and friends. Jimenez added that she was thankful for her “family, friends, and unemployment checks.” Glass said that he was “thankful that Trump didn’t win the election.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests celebrating virtually or with your immediate household. They strongly advise against travel and large gathering. Read more about their guidelines and tips here

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