My 2020 COVID Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2020. Public health experts say that the safest, most prudent approach to the holidays this year is to stay home. To be “all in this thing together” means we must stay apart. But this much separation from one another is hard. After nearly nine months, pandemic fatigue is real.

So…with this whole new Covid-19 surge, we decided it’s better to play it safe and not do anything for Thanksgiving this year. It isn’t worth the risk. But that wasn’t an easy choice. Although we’re opting to celebrate on our own and make the best of a strange situation, there is no denying that there are weird vibes in the air this year. Breaking tradition can feel really peculiar and isolating.

After a long stretch of pandemic-induced deprivation, it would have been so easy and wonderful to join our family Thanksgiving Day festivities, but we’ve made the impossibly hard decision to stay home and celebrate with just the two of us – maybe a small turkey, mac and cheese, a shared sweet potato, pumpkin pie, and a nice warm fire.

So off to the store for our purchases on Wednesday afternoon (because I don’t know about you but I don’t possess either the forethought or the space in my fridge to accommodate a frozen bird for nearly a week)! We made our way to the turkey section, but all that was left were very large, fresh, organic turkeys or frozen turkeys approximately the size of a 1978 Bronco. We bought the Bronco version. Because I like leftovers. And not spending $85 on poultry.

We thawed the turkey in the sink overnight – a complete no-no because of food poisoning and bacteria and stuff. So if I die a few days after posting this blog, you’ll know why. It was still frozen in the morning, probably because we turn our thermostat down to around 60 degrees at night, but by about noon, it felt pretty thawed. Good enough.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was different this year, but it still brought me so much joy as I watched in my jammies, by the fire, sipping my coffee. And when it ended, the dog show started, and  – no joke – my cat immediately jumped up on the TV cabinet and glared at me. When I didn’t turn it off, she proceeded to bathe herself slowly and meticulously. Crazy cat.

So we watched TV (football for Tina, Killing Eve for me), fixed some food for 2, turkey for 18, and an entire pumpkin pie (because how do you make a half-pie?), read my book (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill), wrote a blog post, and bought some Christmas presents (online, of course). It was okay.

The poet Mary Oliver said, “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” That seems just right for this holiday season. As darkness arrives and I start getting ready for bed, I know I will count my blessings tonight when my head hits my pillow; I’ll start with my pillow and go from there.

This Thanksgiving, I see staying home as the ultimate form of giving thanks and showing love to your family. Thank you to everyone who also made the super hard choice to stay home this Thanksgiving to protect our loved ones. We need this to be over, and it’s going to take sacrifices to make that happen.

In closing, let me share a little tune with you that’s most apropos:

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve nowhere to go…
Stay home and avoid the shit show (that is 2020).