This year, Thanksgiving may be all about that baste, but not travel.
You’ve got a little less than a week to “Meghan Trainor” yourself to do Thanksgiving differently compared to how you’ve probably done it in the past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now advising against traveling. If you look on the CDC’s “Celebrating Thanksgiving” website, it says that “travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” So when Thanksgiving Day arrives on November 26 next Thursday, you can take a break from Zooming by eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn and Zooming.
That’s because the Covid-19 coronavirus has done the opposite of “go away” after Election Day. Instead, it’s been surging. In the past seven days since “National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day” on November 12, the U.S. has had over a million newly reported Covid-19 cases. Yep, the U.S. has controlled the Covid-19 coronavirus about as well as a thong would hold gravy. You should never use a thong to serve liquids, and at this point, you should avoid riding buses, trains, airplanes, hot air balloons, or any other vehicles where it may be tough to stay away from other people.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving. You can always get together with the people whom you already have been living with, assuming that you are still on speaking terms and haven’t yet constructed a toilet paper wall separating you from each other. Another option is having Thanksgiving dinner remotely with others on Zoom where you can talk, eat together, and guess who is not wearing pants.
Many Thanksgiving traditions will still be available too. For example, nothing should prevent you from watching the Dallas Cowboys play against the Washington Football Team on television, except for the fact that it’s the Dallas Cowboys playing against the Washington Football Team. The broadcasts will presumably include the fake crowd noise that’s been used for NFL games including the fake silence to represent the lack of Washington Football Team fans.
If you absolutely must travel, take precautions very seriously. Maintain social distancing throughout your trip. That means staying at least six feet or one Denzel (because Denzel Washington is about six feet tall) away from everyone who is not in your social bubble. If you need a Canadian conversion, six feet is also a Gosling, since Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is around six feet tall. Keep in mind that this would be a lying Gosling and not a standing Gosling. Make sure that you wear a face mask to protect others from you and the respiratory droplets and hot dog fragments that may come out of your nose and mouth. Wearing a face mask may also protect you from others to some degree. The face mask should cover both your mouth and your nose because wearing your mask lower than your nose is a bit like wearing your underwear around your thighs.
Before, during, and after traveling, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Thoroughly means lathering up with soap for at least 20 seconds, which is the amount of time that it takes to get through the first chorus of the Divinyls song, “I Touch Myself.” If you do sing the song while washing your hands, don’t do so in a creepy whisper and try not to wink at other people in the process.
Staying at home for Thanksgiving doesn’t mean inviting everyone whom you can think of to your place. If you must host a gathering, be strict about who can attend. Don’t invite anyone who likes the band Nickleback, and try to keep the guests to people who are already within your social bubble. A social bubble or pod is a group of people with whom you have agreed to stay safe together and maintain strict Covid-19 coronavirus precautions whenever going outside. Anyone who wants to join your bubble must quarantine for at least 14 days before entering.
Limit the number of guests that attend your Thanksgiving gathering. The number should be low enough to be able to maintain social distancing and precautions. Under 10 is a manageable number. That’s 10 and not ten thousand. That’s also people and not marmots. Marmots don’t make very good Thanksgiving guests since they may hog the remote control and could spread pathogens to your food. Make sure that each guest understands and agrees to the ground rules and precautions that you will take.
Having people bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils can reduce interactions. This is not the time to re-enact the Lady and The Tramp scene and share a noodle between your mouth and someone else’s. If someone asks you for a spoon or other utensil, consider giving the person a disposable single-use one. If someone asks you to spoon, you can still give person a disposable single-use spoon and then quickly walk away without saying anything.
Where possible, opt for single-use items rather than ones that can be re-used. Of course, be reasonable about this. Replacing all of your furniture with disposable ones is probably going overboard. However, using paper plates, plastic utensils, and salad dressing and condiment packets may make sense.
Keep everyone away from the food until it is ready to be served and eaten. That means people should not congregate where the food is being prepared. This is usually the kitchen. If you are preparing the food in the bathroom or your bedroom, you are probably doing something wrong.
Whenever possible, hold gatherings outdoors rather than indoors. The outdoors typically allows for better ventilation and more social distancing. It makes it easier to show your neighbors how yummy your food is as well. If you must stay indoors, do whatever you can to increase ventilation and air circulation such as opening the windows. Note that panting on everyone is not the way to increase air circulation. There are few situations where panting on people is socially acceptable. After all, people are not avocado toast.
Of course, continue to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. This is important regardless of how much you try to avoid touching your face. Touching your face is bad because your nose, mouth, and eyes are on your face and potential entry points for the SARS-CoV2. If your nose, mouth, and eyes are elsewhere on your body, call your doctor as soon as possible. Don’t underestimate the attraction that your hands have to your face. They can go together like Romeo and Juliet, Rose and Jack, or Mike Pence and Donald Trump. Telling yourself to not touch your face can be like telling yourself to not eat chocolate cake. It can simply make you want to do it anymore. Wearing a cone around your head or oven mitts on your hands probably aren’t great options. So just wash your hands. Oh and keep cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, handles, and that gigantic One Direction float that you keep in your bedroom.
In the end, it may not be worth the risk to have a gathering. As the CDC says, “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading Covid-19 or the flu.” Sure, missing your traditional Thanksgiving can seem rough. Sitting on the couch together groaning that you ate too much is not the same as sitting on Zoom groaning that you ate too much. Nonetheless, keep things in perspective. This is just one Thanksgiving that will be different. It’s not as if you are quitting Thanksgiving gatherings cold turkey forever.