Celebration of Life
By • 13 October 2020
The global pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons the past year. One of those lessons is the importance of adapting to unforeseen, uncontrollable circumstances. Staying at home, closing public venues, going into quarantine, wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), and restricted travel are some of the many elements of what has been called "the new normal."
That's why this year's Thanksgiving Day is going to be one of the most unique in history since we started celebrating the holiday. Sure, there have been times when Thanksgiving celebration was disrupted, such as during the Great Depression or the Civil War. However, what makes this Thanksgiving different is that the pandemic happened during the Internet Age. This means that we have communication technology that will allow us to connect with family, friends, and other loved ones despite the crisis. From Zoom & Skype gatherings to chat groups, there are many ways to stay in touch this Thanksgiving.
Let's take a look at six things to expect this Thanksgiving.
Social distancing has become the norm, not only in public places but in private spaces as well. Sure, you don't have to be as strict with social distancing in your home, because you know your household well, but it's still good practice during the holidays. Why? Because although many of your guests during Thanksgiving are relatives, close friends, and people you know very well, it is still a large gathering. It is not much different than a large gathering in a public space like a restaurant or parade. Would you risk your health and your family's health in a public gathering? We would hope not. Therefore, the same logic could be applied to large private gatherings like Thanksgiving dinner.
It's quite unfortunate and may seem depressing but in this unique time in our history, health is the most important thing. Think about the meaning of the holidays and Thanksgiving in particular. What does the celebration center on? Family. If you're family is in danger of catching the virus or any other sickness, then it will become an even more unfortunate Thanksgiving indeed. That's why it's good to practice social distancing this Thanksgiving Day, or at the very least limit the amount of guests at dinner.
Also, you could replicate how restaurants handle the situation and interact with customers. For instance, you can read your dinner guests' temperature before entering the home. There are many affordable non-contact temperature readers. You can find them at your local pharmacy and online. What's important is your family is safe and healthy, so that you can see each other again in next year's Thanksgiving!
Speaking of copying restaurant policies for your own Thanksgiving dinner, have you noticed that many responsible and thoughtful eateries use disposable menus (some even use QR codes that customers scan) and disposable condiments? That's because COVID-19, just like many types of viruses, can be transmitted through physical objects. When someone who has been unknowingly infected touches a plate and passes it to Uncle Bob asking for another serving of stuffing, Uncle Bob could very well get the virus. Let's make sure Uncle Bob stays healthy so we can hear more of his corny but endearing jokes.
You'll get bonus points from Mother Earth if you use recycled disposable plates and utensils. There are many options online that are thick and sturdy, and are quite fancy looking that will fit perfectly with your Thanksgiving spread. Just because you're not using real dinnerware it doesn't mean you have to use those boring flimsy paper plates. Getting disposable dinnerware with Autumn colors or a Thanksgiving themed design will give the illusion of normalcy.
The cherry on top? You don't have to wash dishes as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
America has shifted towards online everything during the past two decades, but the pandemic has made us even more dependent on the internet. One of the modern traditions of Thanksgiving is the Black Friday sale the day after. But recent trends show that more people shop online than brick and mortar stores and malls. This is bad news for shopping centers and department stores, but shopping online is just more convenient. You can compare prices, products, and read reviews. You can find things online, including products from around the world, that you may not find in a local physical store.
Even food services are delivered through apps like Uber Eats and Doordash. The gig economy has also boomed during this age with the rise of Upwork and Freelancer. However, the most interesting aspect of the Internet Age is the preservation of memories online. Sure, blogs and even proto-social media platforms have been in the mainstream since the late-90s and early-2000s, but today there are even more options for hosting your digital memories.
For instance, a Memories Timeline is a secure and user-friendly alternative to blog sites like WordPress and Tumblr, or even social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. What makes a Memories Timeline unique is it has the same capabilities as all the major blog sites and social media platforms, but is specially designed to present and share your family's personal narrative.
What better project to do this Thanksgiving than to create a family timeline! Since you'll probably spend a lot of time online anyways, communicating with family, you all can collaborate and bond creating a Memories Timeline all the while making new memories in real-time.
Thinking about Thanksgiving dinners being done on Zoom might sound depressing, but it can actually be quite fun!
Zoom became a massive hit during the pandemic because companies and contractors had to change their way of working. While video conferencing is not new and we have to give Skype and Google Hangouts a shout-out for being pioneers in this field, it was Zoom that somehow became the top communication program of 2020. If we had to guess, its popularity is probably due to its affordable price (who doesn't love free 40 minutes) and good transmission quality.
However, Zooming quickly evolved out of the virtual boardrooms and classrooms, and went mainstream in the public. Podcasters and talk shows used it to talk to guests. It became a new form of media and, in a sense, its own type of social media. Nowadays, you can use Zoom, which was initially designed for business purposes, for personal gatherings. For instance, it has become popular among family and friends to do weekly or even daily meetings via Zoom. This allow family and friends to check on each other during this public health crisis. You can also do fun things like Taco Tuesdays, Wine Club Wednesdays, or a book club. There are so many ways to use video conferencing programs!
Afterwards, with the permission of all parties involved, you can even upload your recorded video meet-up on a Memories Timeline so that members of the Timeline, such as family who couldn't join, can listen in on the conversation and laugh out loud to your jokes.
This Thanksgiving is the perfect time to use Zoom to talk with family and friends from across the country, or even abroad. That way, not everyone has to go to one house for a family Thanksgiving dinner. For example, family close to you can go to your house for a limited-group dinner, while family from a different area can gather together and have their own dinner. All of you can then place a wide-angle webcam encapsulating the entire table to have a cluster of Thanksgiving dinners.
Conversations, jokes, friendly debates, unsolicited opinions and gossip will surely mix interestingly when it's multiplied! In all seriousness, this will allow for a safer Thanksgiving gathering while still enjoying each other's presence.
Like Zoom and Skype meetings, another popular form of connecting with your family or friends is through group chats on Facebook, WhatsApp, Discord, Telegram, Viber, and a bunch of other apps available in the market. Group chats are fun and allows you to stay in the loop with different groups: the whole family, cousins only, best friends, somewhat-close friends, co-workers, old classmates, and the list goes on.
You can create a Thanksgiving group chat, so that you can all have animated conversations like you would have in person.
Expect to have more time to making memories this Thanksgiving holiday. One of the silver-linings of the pandemic is that it brought families closer together. Not only has it made us closer to our loved ones in terms of proximity, but the health crisis reminded us how short life is and that we should cherish our loved ones while they're still here. That is the true spirit of Thanksgiving: to be grateful for the people in our lives.
So, if you're worried about how Thanksgiving will turn out this year, don't you fret. What's important is you and your loved ones are safe, and that you will create more memories together.