No, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be depressing.
Sure, it’s going to be different. But it doesn’t have to suck.
First, reality check: Public or private indoor gatherings of any size are banned in Philly, and food and drink are prohibited at outdoor gatherings, except for outdoor dining at city restaurants. And they’re not advised outside of Philly either: Rising case counts just make it a really bad idea.
But Thanksgiving can still be really meaningful. We’ve got everything you need for a holiday everyone can feel thankful for.
» Here are Philly’s current COVID-19 guidelines: inquirer.com/phillyguidelines
A virtual dinner may be a necessity, but it doesn’t have to feel like a work meeting, according to Tiffani Rozier: “Two words: good planning. Make sure the plan includes a designated leader, a shared theme, menu, and timeline. This strategy works for a Friendsgiving as well. Choose a virtual ‘head cook,’ such as an auntie, and have a pre-holiday cooking session so everyone can ask recipe and cooking questions.”
You can still feel connected, even if you’re apart. Elizabeth Wellington has tips. Make a playlist, so everyone can dine to the same tunes. Drop off a cocktail kit so everyone can toast with something fancy. Do a cookie bake-off, and show off the decorated treats. Cook the same meal, so you’re sharing food even though you’re not sharing space. (Or order the same takeout, and skip all the kitchen work.) Make the same decor: A centerpiece, maybe, or placemats. Play charades after dinner. A little creativity, and planning, can go a long way toward bridging the distance.
Some family connections are strained this year, and it may be harder to bridge the divide because you can’t be in the same room, face to face. But if the election, the protests and the pandemic are painful topics, Elizabeth Wellington has new ones, including conversation prompts that may actually even make you feel closer. Try prompts around What are we thankful for? as well as What can we learn about our family? and, of course, What does the future hold?
If you are seeing friends or family anyway, and we don’t recommend it, there are ways to make an outdoor Thanksgiving a little safer. Think about how big your yard is, make it lunch instead of dinner, mask up when not eating, and think about making it alcohol-free.
If you want something different than a frozen bird from the supermarket, Jenn Ladd has a list of spots where you can get a fresh bird:
Everything you need is at inquirer.com/food/recipes, including:
No problem. Jenn Ladd has found restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving dinner for takeout or outdoor dining.