This was supposed to be the year we could all get back to celebrating Thanksgiving together at Grandma’s. We knew more about how COVID-19 spreads from one person to the next; we got smarter about wearing masks and keeping our distance; and we had the vaccines to protect us. Then the Delta variant appeared, schools returned to in-person instruction, remote workers returned to their desks, and people grew tired of masking up and not going out on the town.
Still, this Thanksgiving promises to be closer to normal than last year. We just have to weigh the risks and set some ground rules. It might not be as big an occasion as in years past, but we can still enjoy each other’s company safely by managing the risks. For tips on having a safe Thanksgiving gathering, read on.
Decide whether you’re going to invite unvaccinated guests.
The first thing to think about is the vaccination status of the people on your guest list. Ideally, everyone who’ll be attending should be fully vaccinated (excluding children under 12). But that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself and the health of any older adults, anyone who’s immunocompromised, and younger children who’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with you. To further reduce the risk, it may be a good idea for everyone to get tested before the gathering, especially if they’re traveling from a place where cases are on the rise.
Limit the size of your guest list.
This is not the year to throw caution to the wind and invite 30 to 40 people for a big reunion. (Next year, hopefully.) Try to limit your get-together to family members and a few close friends. The fewer people attending, the less likely an infected person will attend.
Celebrate in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
If you live in a warm climate like Houston, consider throwing an outdoor party. It’s easier to gather at a safe distance outside, and it will minimize the risk of transmission. Plus, an outdoor gathering is a great excuse to fire up the grill. If you’re planning to have Thanksgiving indoors, choose a location that’s well ventilated. If it’s a bit chilly with the windows open, put a sweater on, or throw another log on the fire.
Mask up when you’re not eating.
If you’re in close contact with others indoors, wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You obviously can’t wear a mask while eating, but mask up when you can, especially if unvaccinated people are present.
Consider limiting the celebration to drinks and appetizers.
One way to reduce the risk of spreading the disease to older family members is to limit the length of time you spend with each other. Instead of a large and lengthy Thanksgiving celebration, kick it off with your favorite libations and some festive appetizers, and then go your separate ways.
Have a virtual gathering.
The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is virtually. While it can’t replace an in-person gathering, you can still share cooking tips and enjoy family time. If you have friends or relatives who live far away, they may thank you for not having to endure long lines and flight delays to see you.
We’re thankful to be celebrating the holidays together this year.
Food is a big deal at Holly Hall, and we’re fortunate to have a world-class chef at the helm. As always, Chef Peter will be cooking up something special for Thanksgiving, and we’re thankful to be able to gather together once again this year. Of course, we’ll be taking safety precautions to protect our residents, but nothing brings our community together like dining at Holly Hall. You can learn more about our proactive approach to safety and how we’re able to weather any storm on our community page. Happy Thanksgiving!