Dealing With A COVID-19 Thanksgiving – How To Make It Work

COVID-19 ThanksgivingThis Thanksgiving holiday is like no other, at least not in most people’s generation. But you can still make this COVID-19 Thanksgiving Holiday work for you. It won’t always be this way. Eventually, we will return to our more normal life again. It’s really important to grab hold of the reality of this situation but to still find a way to make it better for you. It’s about accepting “what is” our current reality.

The unknown can be scary because we don’t know what the outcome will be. We don’t know how to stop an illness we are experiencing for the first time. However, we are blessed that there are teams of scientists working on a cure as we speak. Two vaccines are already close to being available to the public in a relatively short time.


For Those Dealing With a Horrific Loss From Covid-19

It is unthinkable to lose someone dear to you from a new illness that the medical world is only now catching up to managing. There is no fairness in this situation. Nothing may make sense to you now. It can be an incredibly helpless feeling to be vulnerable to something that at this moment is very difficult to manage. 

But for those families who have already lost a loved one from Covid-19, there is no comfort that can bring their loved one back. There is no fairness in this situation.

It is, however, a time for families to join together in honoring their loved ones, especially at this time where Thanksgiving is supposed to be about “giving thanks for what we have been given”. However, in dealing with a loss, this “honoring” becomes much more challenging.

For some, it will be about just getting through the holidays. For others, they may honor their lost one at a time when the family is all together.


Making the Best of a Difficult COVID-19 Thanksgiving Holiday

This holiday season some people will not be able to be with those family and friends they love and cherish. Instead, they may need to have contact in other ways that won’t feel the same as in prior years.

However, we have choices in how we accept this very challenging COVID-19 holiday season. We can choose not to accept our reality and do what we want anyway, regardless of the health hazards in doing so. 

Or we can try to be safe, and abide by the recommendations of the CDC in terms of staying safe and healthy at this time.

Here are some possibilities for making the best of a challenging COVID-19 Thanksgiving Holiday.

  1. Have a virtual meal or get-together with friends/family members.
  2. Get together with a small group of those people you know are healthy and have not been exposed to unsafe situations recently.
  3. Skip the holidays right now and “redo” them when Covid-19 is being managed more easily. It may turn out to be more of a true celebration at that time anyway!


Some People Have Experienced Job Loss From Covid-19

It’s never easy to lose one’s employment. However, it’s even more despairing during the holidays. How can you help your children understand why the holidays will be so different? Why presents this year may not be as much as they’ve had in the past?

You can’t control what children will and won’t understand or accept. However, if money is an issue, you can try to make the holiday fun in a different way. Maybe it’s in making fun decorations. Or going to the snow to play, especially when snow is not normal for your family to experience.

Rather than many presents, perhaps they can choose the most important present they want. Or it might be some experience they want to do rather than a toy.

It’s challenging sometimes for children to understand financial crises. But they will be able to understand that you are still trying to make the holidays fun for them. Maybe you can do crafts or something else that they are interested in doing.

There is only so much a parent can do to try to improve a very difficult situation that is not within their control. Children can be adaptable. And even if they can’t understand the challenges now, they will understand them in the future.

Try to make this COVID-19 Thanksgiving holiday work, even if it’s not perfect.


For Those Who Haven’t Experienced a Recent Loss

For the fortunate people who have not experienced a deep loss, this COVID-19 Thanksgiving can be a time of appreciating what we do have, such as our family and friends being healthy.

Thanksgiving can be a time to get together with those who have not been exposed to Covid-19, such as close family members or friends.

It may not feel the same, but oftentimes “something is better than nothing”. Try to accept “what is” and make the best of it.


Closing Thoughts

These times now are unknown and challenging. We don’t know what to expect in the future and must deal with the “unknown” currently. We have a choice to make the best of difficult times or to “fight against” our known reality.

The choice is truly yours to make. I  hope you find it within you to make these times the best they can be. Find meaning in those things that you have some control over. Accept those things where you don’t. 

There is no “should” in how to experience this holiday. However, Thanksgiving is the time for appreciating what we do have. When it involves the loss of a loved one, there will be people who will be unable to see through the hurt. And this is absolutely normal. It takes time to heal. And this time is so different than what we know, it makes it even harder to deal with it.

Try to find a way to make this COVID-19 Thanksgiving Holiday work for you in whatever way you can.


Happy COVID-19 Thanksgiving. Be well.


About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on and on

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