The Best Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving During Covid

2020 Celebrations Have Been A Disaster

Celebratory plans for this year flew off the rails many months ago. The Covid-19 pandemic, the quarantine, the Presidential election, the economic downturn, the loss of jobs, the stress, the isolation, the worry ... by the time Spring came along, it was hard not to complain about canceling your annual Easter celebration and that surprise trip to see grandma for Mother's Day. No summer cruises, 4th of July fireworks or big summer weddings. We've all now experienced what it feels like to go from "free as a bird" to chicken coop. We all now know what it's like to have our hopes, dreams and plans fall through.

If we didn't know it then, we sure know it now. Peace of mind, freedom of movement and good health are priceless gifts. With them, we live as free as birds. Without them, we're in danger of ending up like chickens in a coop: scraping at the ground and uncertain of where we're going or what more we can do. We must free ourselves from the coop and think more like an eagle, starting with gratitude.

The Best Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving During Covid

Though many of us are unable to travel for miles to sit down at our traditional dining tables, we still haven't lost our ability to celebrate Thanksgiving. We can still choose expressions of gratitude. Gratitude deepens our ability to savor life. Gratitude reminds us that what we have today is not promised forever, so we should be thankful for it and make choices to preserve it. This year, we can celebrate Thanksgiving by examining any loss we currently feel to understand what we might have been taking for granted but want to preserve. Have we put off visiting family or taking a special trip because there will always be a better time? Have we filled every waking hour being busy with things that don't matter instead of spending extra time working on our education, certifications, or life goals? Do we appreciate our jobs and enjoy what we do for work or is there something else we'd really rather do? The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to reflect on what we're truly grateful for and make decisions that protect and preserve those things.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. " Oprah Winfrey

How to Spend Thanksgiving During Covid

The CDC is recommending against travel, so our Thanksgiving celebration will be limited to our immediate household this year. I plan to make my tried and true German Chocolate Cake and pecan pie, corn pudding and collard greens, among other things. Then, we'll all sit around the table (I'll create a centerpiece out of a hollowed out pumpkin and and assortment of fresh flowers in fall colors), and say what we're most thankful for - no one is allowed to skip. My dad started this family tradition, and though he won't be here with us this year, we'll still honor that tradition, just us four.

Things to Be Grateful For in 2020

The best way to spend this Thanksgiving is in a state of gratitude, not reflecting on what we don't have or what we want, rather focusing on our good fortune, large or small. This Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our priorities and ensure that our lives are consistent with them. This year, I'll express my gratitude for good health, good friends, healthy food to eat, peace of mind, hope in humanity, a good career and love. I'll also express gratitude for the multitude of things I know I can take for granted: running water, safety and security, the gift of sight and sound, beautiful music, bright sunshine, midnight stars and morning frost. I wish you, and the ones you hold dear, a very Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you a spirit of gratitude and new hope for the upcoming year.

The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it." attorney and lecturer on ethics, Michael Josephson



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© 2021 by Shai Littlejohn