4 Steps to a Happy Thanksgiving in 2020

happy thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the busiest travel season of the year. Each Thanksgiving millions of couples and families, plan and execute trips to their relatives homes in cars, planes and trains. It’s a busy, hectic, stress-inducing but beautiful time of year. 

This year however, Thanksgiving that we’ve all come to dread and love in varying degrees is going to look a little different. This year many of us will be at home. Alone. With our immediate families trying to recreate the magic that is Thanksgiving. 

If that’s not what you’re used to, or maybe you’re just thinking of skipping the holiday all together this year, we have the 4 steps to holiday happiness and harmony that just may be able to preserve the festivities and your sanity. 

Step 1: Resist the Urge to Skip Thanksgiving 2020 

Most people enjoy Thanksgiving and the thought of having to navigate Thanksgiving in the year we’re having is enough to make anyone want to throw their hand ups and say “I GIVE UP!”. But we urge you to resist that notion. 

Why? Because for many of us this year has felt like one, ever-repeating day. Most of us are waking up each day feeling like we’ve already lived the day we’re about to have. The same is true for our kids. Maybe this Thanksgiving won’t be the big, sprawling, loud, and chaotic one you’ve always enjoyed but it will be a day that stands out as different in a sea of days that are all the same. 

Even if you just choose to eat pumpkin pie on festive plates and watch Thanksgiving movies – it can be beneficial to your (and your family’s) mental health to enjoy the novelty of the holiday. 

Step 2: Accept Thanksgiving 2020 will look different from Thanksgiving 2019 

Following CDC guidelines to limit indoor gatherings to just a few people and avoiding travel likely means Thanksgiving in 2020 is going to look different from Thanksgiving in 2019. Accepting that is key. This situation we are in is not permanent. We will get through this. They will find a vaccine. Things will go back to normal. These are near certainties. 

This year will be an outlier in more ways than one. The holidays are not the exception. 

Step 3: Make a Realistic Plan 

So if you aren’t able to travel to your families homes or host your own event what are you going to do? Well that is up to you. If you’ve never hosted Thanksgiving before or this if your first thanksgiving together – take it slow. Plan a small turkey and a FEW easy to master sides. 

If you normally host a few dozen people over, scale it down to match your immediate family. Spend your cooking time preparing food they love and lean into the intimacy of it all. If you aren’t a cook, don’t force it. Order a nice Thanksgiving take out from a local restaurant, set out some fancy plates and enjoy it just the same. 

Overworking yourself trying to recreate your mom’s famous thanksgiving 22 dish spread at home, alone, with your two toddlers nipping at your heels is not realistic. Take into account your unique circumstances and plan a day around what is possible and what you even want. 

Step 4: Embrace the Meaning of the Holiday 

The beauty is Thanksgiving is about being grateful, about looking around at your life and realizing that you have enough. You are enough. Embrace the meaning of the holiday this year.

If this is your first thanksgiving as a married couple, relish the opportunity to spend it all alone with no extended family to occupy your attention. Make out while you’re cooking – no one will be watching you! 

If you’re a family of 6 that usually has to wake up early to drive 6 hours, put on nice clothes and socialize with aunts and uncles whose relation to you was never clear – enjoy sleeping in and cooking in your jammies on Thanksgiving day. 

This year WILL be different, but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. We all have so much to be thankful for this year – even if at times it doesn’t feel that way. 


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