New Holiday Traditions for 2020Posted by Whole Earth | 11.18.2020
New Holiday Traditions for 2020
Like almost everything else this year, Thanksgiving will be a holiday unlike any other. The prospect of feasting together with several generations of extended family and friends grows more remote by the day. Tables groaning with our favorite holiday foods, hijinks at the kids’ table, meeting the newest members of the family and catching up with those who live far away may have to be put on hold for now.
So we could resign ourselves to a subdued Thanksgiving, but there may be other options. How about making Thanksgiving 2020 special as in “Remember the Thanksgiving we ______________?” Fill in the blank with an activity that will set this year’s celebration apart from the others. Here are a few suggestions.
The Thanksgiving Picnic
For some families, this is already a tradition, but 2020 may be a good time for the rest of us to give it a try. Certain items from Thanksgiving dinner probably won’t travel well. We’re thinking of mashed potatoes and gravy, for example. And it may be too cold in some places to contemplate cooking outdoors. So the menu will probably have to be adjusted to food that’s prepared ahead of time and travels well. With your pod, choose a local park with picnic tables and lots of room for kids to run around. Create a potluck picnic and proceed with the holiday.
If you cannot bear to give up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, consider moving the feast into the backyard or patio. Your favorite holiday dishes can be easily carried from the kitchen to an outdoor buffet table for serving and your pod can spread out around the yard to enjoy the feast. You may have to bundle up but sipping hot toddies around a fire pit or chiminea can be the perfect ending to a surprisingly celebratory day.
Grandma’s Cooking Channel
Is there one dish that’s the star of the Thanksgiving feast in your family? Chances are good that it may be a recipe handed down through the generations. If Grandma is the keeper and preparer of this dish but won’t be able to be part of this year’s gathering, set up a Facetime or Zoom meeting where Grandma can coach the family in making the beloved dish. And if that special dish is made by your great aunt, your brother-in-law or a dear family friend, give them their own “cooking channel” and let them show you how it’s done.
Take a hike!
Do you have a favorite trail with a view that always lifts your spirit? Why not take a hike on Thanksgiving Day and bring a few yummy treats to share while taking in that special view? Time spent communing with nature can be a great healer reminding you of good times in the past and offering hope for the future. But please, wear a mask if you meet other hikers on the trail, and leave no trace.
Will you spending the holiday alone? Many people will be doing so this year. Rather than sinking into despondency, follow the lead of the great British cookbook writer Elizabeth David and treat yourself to a holiday meal of your favorite foods. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to look like Thanksgiving. Let your meal be a reflection of the food you love. Homemade pizza? A steak? Stir fry? Enchiladas? Or you could order in from your favorite restaurant. Add a delicious wine or beer, and be sure to have dessert. You may be alone, but you too can celebrate!
Thanksgiving is a time for us to count our blessings. And while that may be much more difficult this year, we owe it to ourselves and our families to try. Although good food and good company may be more scarce, our hearts can still be filled with gratitude for those people and places that bring joy to our lives.