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To do this week: How to do Thanksgiving and Black Friday during a pandemic

We’ve got your last-minute Thanksgiving needs, and an easy way to work that dinner off, plus ways to support local business on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

The holiday week can be as sweet as pie, even with a pandemic raging.
The holiday week can be as sweet as pie, even with a pandemic raging.Read moreDreamstime / MCT

On the to-do list this week: This newsletter is coming a little early this week, as people take off work and pick up a plate of turkey. We’ve got your last-minute Thanksgiving needs and an easy way to work that dinner off, with expert picks of fitness equipment you can pick up for under $100. Plus, some ways to support local biz for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

And remember: We’ve collected our best articles with our best Philly tips. They’re in one place here.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.

Know this

» Ask us a question through Curious Philly:

Stay safe, do stuff

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

  1. 🌟 Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square (Holiday / in-person / outdoors / free) Ooh and ahh at more than 100,000 twinkling lights at Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, which returns for the holiday season on Nov. 19. The show, set to festive music recorded by the Philly POPS, starts at 5 p.m. nightly and occurs every 30 minutes. (Free, through Dec. 31,, map, add to calendar)

🔎 Find more of this week’s safe kid-friendly, outdoor and arts events.

Do this

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. But if you’re still figuring out what you’re going to do, fear not. For most people, it will be a quieter Thanksgiving than normal, since it’s not a good idea to travel right now, or see people outside your household. But, no matter what your dinner looks like, we have some go-to resources so you can still make it a celebration, from food, to festivities, to family. They’re all at

  1. Pro tip: Virtual dinner with family? Connect with music. Ask the deejay in your family — there’s always one — to make a playlist of your clan’s favorite tunes. Upload it to a music sharing service and have it playing in the background as you bake cookies or do art projects together, suggested Dawn Burke Sena, co-owner of the Old City restaurant Panorama and an etiquette expert. “Music doesn’t just unite us, it lifts our moods and reminds us of all the shared experiences we had with each other as family,” Sena said. Find more activities to make it feel like you’re together in Elizabeth Wellington’s piece.

» READ MORE: All the things you can and should not do when there’s a pandemic raging on Thanksgiving.

Exercise this

Gyms are closed (in Philly anyway), and it’s getting cold outside. So now might be the time to level up your home fitness equipment. Grace Dickinson asked Philly trainers for their best bets for fitness equipment under $100, so you can break a sweat, but not break the bank. Here are some of their picks (more in Grace’s full piece):

  1. Rogue Speed Rope, $17.50 and up at Don’t underestimate a basic jump rope. “It’s a full body workout, killer for the core and coordination,” says Jaime Sutton of J’aime Fitness, who prefers jump rope workouts several times a week to traditional cardio.

  2. Black Mountain Stackable Resistance Band Set, $29.99 at You can hit nearly every muscle using resistance bands, and they’re among the most affordable and portable pieces of equipment available. “You can stack them for more resistance, attach them to staircases or doors to do pulling motions, and incorporate them into all sorts of moves,” says Osayi Osunde of Fit Academy.

  3. GoFit Elevated Chin Up Station, $39.99 at All you need is a doorway, and you can transport your pull-up routine from your gym to your home. “It’s easy to set up and excellent for upper body strength,” says Platoon Fitness’ Michael McLaughlin of the GoFit version.

  4. DVRT Sandbag, $64.99 and up at “A sandbag is a resistance tool that mimics real life objects better than dumbbells or kettlebells — think heavy luggage, groceries, children,” says Katie Gould of KG Strong. “It’s super versatile because you can add or subtract weight by pouring more sand in or out.”

» READ MORE: Best home gym workout equipment for under $100, recommended by Philadelphia personal trainers

Buy this

Maybe this will be the one Black Friday without scenes of stores mobbed with shoppers. But if you’re looking for a good deal on Black Friday (or, of course, Small Business Saturday), don’t overlook local biz. After all, it’s been a very hard year for small stores, and the holiday season can really help them survive til next year. Elizabeth Wellington has advice on how to shop beyond Amazon and Target:

  1. Shop online. Many local shops have built their e-commerce muscle this year. And shopping online also helps keep everyone safe. Don’t forget to make arrangements for curbside pickup. The less contact, the better.

  2. Shopping in person? Be patient. Don’t be surprised if there is a line to get into your favorite store, because of pandemic crowd restrictions. If you find yourself waiting, treat yourself to some hot chocolate. Window shop at the other stores on the block. Stay in your car. But stick it out.

  3. Post about your finds on social. According to a study by American Express, 78% of U.S. businesses are counting on us to post on social media to help drive holiday shopping. How does that work? People are much more likely to shop based on recommendations from friends and family.

More great tips in Elizabeth’s full piece.

» READ MORE: How to shop at Philly-area local businesses on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Bookmark this

There are new restrictions in place in New Jersey and Philly. Having a hard time keeping track of what the latest rules are? We’ve got it all for you in some handy, easy-to-use guides: