COVID Holidays: Will families be getting together for Thanksgiving?

As counties in California dive into the purple zone, traditional Thanksgiving festivities might not go according to plan this year.


Skyler Conley

Many families are choosing to avoid large gatherings with friends and extended family in order to remain safe.

With the holidays rolling around, families are facing a big, risky decision:

Should families be getting together for Thanksgiving?

At any other point in history, this question might have been easier to answer, but with grandparents and younger cousins now potentially at-risk for COVID, many are faced with the decision of whether to have a gathering of loved ones or a typical immediate family dinner.

Furthermore,  CDC mandates such as keeping gatherings at a maximum of two hours long and gathering outdoors could complicate holidays more than anyone might have anticipated.

“We don’t want to risk anything,” Athena Sese, a junior at Granite Bay High School, said. “At the most, I might have some cousins coming over, but not during Thanksgiving break.” 

This is a sharp contrast from what Sese usually does, as she can be found either in San Francisco or out of the country with family any other year.

“(In San Francisco,) we would do karaoke, eat a ton and dance,” Sese said.

Because of the pandemic, travel has become increasingly difficult as well. This is because of unwanted exposure from possibly contaminated areas like airports, and major cities now have many shops and sights closed that might have once been attractions.

Although travel might be difficult, there are still plenty of issues and concerns for those staying local.

One student facing COVID concerns is Claire Doran, a senior at GBHS.

“We’ll be having dinner with my grandparents and possibly some cousins,” Doran said. “We will probably all be eating outside, and I’m hoping we’re spread out or not in a big group.”

We will probably all be eating outside, and I’m hoping we’re spread out or not in a big group.

— Claire Doran

Although somewhat altered with wanting to maintain social distancing, Doran’s family will still have a normal Thanksgiving dinner at their grandparents’ house.

Meeting with family has proven to be more convenient if they live close as there is more relief in avoiding flying into town or possibly putting family members in danger if one city has more cases than another.

Jake Russel, a GBHS senior, has proven to be unaffected by COVID and Thanksgiving.

Normally, every other year his step-father’s extended family would travel, and 2020 should have been one of those years.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, many of them have decided to stay with only a few still traveling.

“My (immediate) family will be staying here not doing anything with people outside of the household,” Russel said.

So while his extended family has been affected, the pandemic doesn’t seem to pose many issues towards Russel and his Thanksgiving experience.

“I feel like it’ll just be like any other day,” Russel said. “I’m not sure what my mom plans to do food-wise but I’m sure I’ll have a ton of dishes.”

So, even though the pandemic will not hinder many from celebrating, it really is a matter of how many people will be there as well as how different it might look from the years prior.

This year has been incredibly unpredictable, and Thanksgiving appears to be somewhat of a test drive for the upcoming holiday season and the visitation that comes along with it.