Although it’s too soon to know what the December holidays will look like, many people have decided to skip a traditional gathering for Thanksgiving this year. Even if you are not seeing your loved ones in-person, there are several ways that you can express gratitude, maintain traditions and share the holiday with your friends and family.

Share your Gratitude

Being grateful is good for everyone. Not only does it help you to experience positive emotions and improve your relationships, it can even strengthen your immune system. Plus, gratitude provides a similar boost to the recipient of your thanks.

If you’re looking for a way to up-level your thank you notes, consider writing a letter to someone who has changed your life for the better and deserves a proper acknowledgement (instead of someone who gave you a gift or service).  Before you pop the letter into the mail, make a copy so that you can surprise the recipient with a phone (or video call) and read the letter to them.

Get your littles involved by helping them to create a “Gratitude Tree.” Create paper leaves that they can write or draw the things that they are grateful on, then either glue the leaves onto wooden sticks that you can “plant” in a pot or make a simple paper trunk and tape or glue the leaves (with our without sticks) to it on a wall or bulletin board. This will be a cute conversation starter on Thanksgiving Day.

Host a Cook-Off

You don’t have to skip your holiday favorites just because the family won’t be together! Collect your favorite family recipes and invite your flock to make each recipe wherever they are celebrating the holiday this year.

For added fun, make it a “cook-off.” Share criteria such as “visual appeal,” “presentation” and “time spent in kitchen” along with each recipe and schedule a virtual meeting where each member unveils their creation and your panel of judges chooses a winner based on the selected criteria.

Gather Apart

Depending on where you live, your family may be able to host an outdoor gathering or turn the garage into a temporary dining room and keep everyone six feet apart.

Of course, the weather may be too cold (or the garage may be unheated) so sharing Thanksgiving on Zoom or Facetime is another way that you can have a holiday dinner together.

If your family mealtimes tend to be energetic, consider an after-dinner game night. Charades is a simple choice or you can look into game and trivia apps.

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