Skip to content
Philly Tips
Link copied to clipboard

All the things you can and should not do when there’s a pandemic raging on Thanksgiving

No, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be depressing.

Councilperson Helen Gym greets community members as Kensington Health Sciences Academy hosts Friendsgiving, a Thanksgiving event to give away turkeys and side dishes, in Philadelphia, Friday, November 20, 2020.
Councilperson Helen Gym greets community members as Kensington Health Sciences Academy hosts Friendsgiving, a Thanksgiving event to give away turkeys and side dishes, in Philadelphia, Friday, November 20, 2020.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

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.

That’s true even if you’ve been self-quarantining, and even if you’ve had a negative COVID-19 test.

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:

Zoomsgiving? Here’s how to make it work.

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.”

» READ MORE: You’ll need a plan for Thanksgiving. Here are 4 ways to do it.

But how do we make it feel special?

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.

» READ MORE: These activities will make you feel closer to fam during a virtual Thanksgiving

If your family is divided, because it’s 2020

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?

» READ MORE: Use these prompts to talk to family this Thanksgiving during divided times

If you are ignoring the rules, don’t ignore this advice

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.

» READ MORE: What you need to know about hosting Thanksgiving this year

OK, the food. I still need a turkey. Help.

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:

  1. Godshall’s Poultry, 51 N. 12th St., 215-922-7589,

  2. Mariposa Food Co-op, 4824 Baltimore Ave., 215-729-2121,

  3. Griggstown Farm, 484 Bunker Hill Rd., Princeton, N.J., 908-359-5218,

  4. Arnie’s Gourmet Butcher & Culinaria, 219 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill, 856-428-0045,

  5. Quarry Hill Farm, 620 Quarry Road, Harleysville, 215-513-1514,

  6. Merrymead Farm, 2222 S. Valley Forge Rd., Lansdale, 610-584-4410,

  7. Martindale’s Natural Market, 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, 610-543-6811,

  8. Linvilla Orchards, 137 W. Knowlton Rd., Media, 610-876-7116,

  9. Bolton’s Farm Market, 1005 W. Main St., Silverdale, 215-257-6047,

  10. None Such Farm, 4458 York Rd., Buckingham, 215-794-5201,

  11. Howe Turkey Farm, 152 Culbertson Run Rd., Downingtown, 610-384-5508,

  12. Kimberton Whole Foods, 2140 Kimberton Rd., Phoenixville, 610-935-1444; 150 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Downingtown, 610-873-8225; 429 E. King Rd., Malvern, 484-324-2800; 222 E. Main St., Collegeville, 484-971-6055;

» READ MORE: Where to get a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving around Philadelphia

Cool, but I need recipes. Whatcha got?

Everything you need is at, including:

I do not want to cook this year. What should I do?

No problem. Jenn Ladd has found restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving dinner for takeout or outdoor dining.

  1. The Bercy/Stove & Tap/Al Pastor. Locations in Ardmore, Malvern, Lansdale, and Exton; 610-589-0500, 484-450-8890, 215-393-8277, 484-341-8886;

  2. High Street, 101 S. Ninth St., 215-625-0988,

  3. Luhv Food, 101 N. York Rd., Hatboro, 215-444-9002,

  4. Fitz and Starts, 743 S. Fourth St., 215-278-2736,

  5. Feast Your Eyes, 1750 N. Front St., 215-634-3002,

  6. Denise’s Delicacies, 2916 N. 22nd St., 215-225-5425,

  7. Hawthornes, 738 S. 11th St., 215-627-3012,

  8. Small Oven Pastry Shop, 2204 Washington Ave., 215-545-2939,

Outdoor dining

  1. Fork, 306 Market St., 215-625-9425,

  2. Walnut Street Cafe, 2929 Walnut St., 215-867-8067,

  3. Autograph Brasserie, 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, 610-964-2588,

  4., 135 S. 18th St., 215-825-7030,

» READ MORE: Don’t want to cook Thanksgiving dinner? No problem.