Thanksgiving celebrations during a pandemic

Families decide whether to host virtual or in-person celebrations


Graphic by Abby Prywitch.

Abby Prywitch, Editor-in-Chief

Celebrating Thanksgiving might look different for some families this year due to COVID-19. This year, families have had to make tough decisions on what they want to do in regards to their Thanksgiving celebrations. 

In previous years, families would celebrate with relatives from near and far and gather inside one’s home to have a feast. Due to the coronavirus and the CDC recommendations, a big feast might not be on the table for a lot of families. 

Sean Bricker, sophomore, is one student who will be moving his Thanksgiving celebration virtual this year due to current circumstances. Bricker’s family will be celebrating with his mom’s side of the family through Zoom. For Thanksgiving, Zoom will be removing the 40-minute call limit so families will have an unlimited amount of time to visit.

“My family and I chose to do it because I suggested the idea to them so that my family and I wouldn’t have to celebrate Thanksgiving alone,” Bricker said.

Like Bricker,  junior Peyton Heimburger will also be having a Zoom celebration. Heimburger’s celebration will look different for her family this year because normally they have a lot of people over to their house, but to protect their family they will not be getting together in person.

“We chose virtual just because our older members of the family are more susceptible and we don’t want to give them COVID,” Heimburger said.

Heimburger will be celebrating virtually with her immediate family and family friends.

Other families will still be having in-person celebrations.  Freshman Malia Shabanksy will be celebrating in person with her dad’s side of the story at her grandma’s house. 

“We made this decision because we thought it would be best and more fun,” Shabanksy said.

For all of senior Maxwell Biven’s life, he has celebrated Thanksgiving at his uncle’s house with around 35-65 people attending depending on the year. The tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner at his Uncle’s house started 45 years ago well before Biven’s was born, but this year will look a little different for Bivens. He will only be celebrating Thanksgiving with his mom, dad and sister at home.

“My aunt and uncle decided for all of us that having a gathering in person was not a healthy option,” Bivens said. “At that point with restaurants being limited to outdoor seating and curbside pick up my parents, sister and I decided doing it at home would be the safest choice.”

 Freshman Jiyah Owens will also be celebrating in person this year, but her family did make some changes in response to COVID-19. Her family will be coming to her house this year to celebrate.

 “We are celebrating at my house instead of my grandparents. Our house is a bit bigger so there’s more space so we can be safer,” Owens said.

 Her family chose to do it in-person so they could still spend Thanksgiving together.

 “We chose to celebrate in-person because we don’t want the virus to stop us from being with our loved ones and having a good time,” Owns said.

Freshman Yani Shapiro will also be celebrating in-person with her family. They made this decision because her family all lives close together and have been socially distancing from others outside of the family.

“This year will be a little bit different because usually, we would go out to do some activity with the family but this year we’re staying home and celebrating,” Shapiro said.

As cases continue to rise, The CDC released a statement saying virtual celebrations or celebrating with only members that live in your household will put you at the lowest risk for contracting COVID-19. Some of the recommendations the CDC released include that hosts check the infection rate of where the people who will be attending live, limiting the number of people who are attending, staying six feet apart, and avoiding direct contact. They also recommend that if it is possible to stay outside and wear masks when not eating both inside and outside.

This holiday season, families must make a tough decision to decide how they want to celebrate. Thankfully due to technology such as Zoom those who do not feel comfortable with an in-person celebration have alternative ways to feel connected during the pandemic. Check out this graphic made by the CDC regarding Thanksgiving celebrations.