Global Pandemic Forces Change to Thanksgiving Traditions


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The Hambrick family holding up pictures of everyone who was not able to come to Thanksgiving because of Covid-19.

On the third Thursday of November each year, millions of families across the country gather together for the holiday we all know and love as Thanksgiving. This holiday has always been one of the biggest days of the year for extended families to reunite. However, since it fell in the middle of this pandemic, many people’s Thanksgiving traditions were affected by the certain safety precautions we needed to follow to stay safe.

So the real question, were families still able to celebrate Thanksgiving while staying safe this year? Well, in the end, the way your family chose to celebrate was up to you all. But thankfully, weeks in advance of the holiday, the Center for Disease Control released their recommendations on a few safe ways people could have celebrated this year, including wearing a mask, maintaining 6 ft distancing, washing hands frequently, limiting capacity numbers, and attending all gatherings preferably outdoors. Although staying within your immediate family was encouraged for Thanksgiving this year, many families may not have completely followed the rules. But, if you did end up seeing other relatives, hopefully, you took the necessary precautions to stay safe. Although these recommendations are the best examples of safe ways to gather, hopefully, you didn’t forget that having a Zoom meeting with your family members was also a very reliable and even safer way to catch up!

On a look inside how some families at BHS celebrated, some students at Berkley shared how their Thanksgiving went down this year.

Sophomore Parker Fritz explained, “This year my extended family did not come over like they usually do, which was sad because we don’t see them very often. Even though I have a small family, we all decided against meeting up this year. Sadly, because of that, we didn’t get the good food that my aunt normally makes. After celebrating with only my immediate family, this whole thing really made me realize how much I took seeing my distant family for granted because I only see them once or twice a year, and now I don’t get to see them at all.”

Junior Audrey Hambrick explained, “This year for Thanksgiving, rather than having 25 people over like normal, only eight close family members came to my house. Due to all the changes, we decided to switch up the normal feast, eating an Asian feast, rather than the typical Thanksgiving dinner. I personally didn’t like the changes we had to make with family because I didn’t get to see any of the relatives that I normally see once a year at that time. I definitely took for granted seeing my whole family at once, which rarely happens.”

These were both great examples of safe ways to spend the holiday this year. On that note, I asked a few more Berkley students how they felt about their usual thanksgiving traditions v.s new alternative plans, and how it all went down this year.

Another sophomore, Maya Cokley, explained, “My immediate family and I luckily still got to meet up with a few of our closest relatives. Even though there were fewer people than we usually see, I was still thankful I got to see them. The whole time, everyone made sure to stay distanced which was obviously for the best safety-wise. But, I was still pretty sad that I didn’t get to hug all of my closest family members. This year’s Thanksgiving made me see how I didn’t really appreciate it enough when it was safe to do so.”

Even though there were fewer people than we usually see, I was still thankful I got to see them.

— Maya Cokley

As Cokley stated, spending time with your closest family members is such a great feeling that many of us sadly didn’t get to experience this year. This was one of the many reasons why we absolutely needed to stay safe and follow the rules that the CDC recommended so that in the future we can go back to how things were before the pandemic.

On that note, another student at Berkley, senior Brynn Middlemiss, states how her Thanksgiving went. Middlemiss states, “This thanksgiving we had way fewer people over, and took all the necessary precautions, wearing masks, bringing our own cups and silverware, etc. I feel like this made Thanksgiving a bit different, but it was still a lot of fun. I think I took being with my whole extended family for granted, I never realized how special it was to see everyone together at once.”

Middlemiss brought up another good point; seeing family all together at once is a special thing. And for most, isn’t the most common occurrence.

Although your altered Thanksgiving plans this year may not have been exactly how you wanted to spend your holiday, just remember that we all went through it together. But through it all, there is no doubt that this year’s Thanksgiving has indeed brought upon us yet another bizarre tale to add in the books of 2020.