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Thanksgiving Amid Coronavirus: Small Family Gathering or Traditional Event?

Thursday, November 26, 2020 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

turkey dinner holiday ThanksgivingCLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – While many families in the area are choosing to limit their Thanksgiving meal to immediate family as a result of coronavirus, others plan to continue their usual traditions.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to many challenges, including facing the holidays under restrictions and recommendations to avoid too much contact with members of other households.

“We’ve spent every Thanksgiving in my life at my Uncle Phil’s house with the family. This will be the first year it’s not happening due to Covid-19,” Nate Ragon said, noting that while the change is difficult, he sees it as necessary.

“The health and safety of my family and others is more important to me than anything.”

The health concerns were echoed by several others who are also choosing a smaller Thanksgiving this year.

“Due to being very high risk, I am not able to go anywhere. I would rather stay home this year so I can be around to enjoy next year,” Gail Sipes noted.

“(We) can’t take a chance of our little people getting it,” Tammy Peace said.

However, the change in holiday plans can leave people feeling down.

“(It) won’t even feel like Thanksgiving,” Peace noted.

Those feelings of loss are shared not only by those paring down their celebrations but also by others facing canceled plans due to positive COVID-19 tests or close contacts.

“My relative had COVID, so Thanksgiving is canceled,” Sharayah Delavern said.

“My son and I were exposed to COVID, so we will celebrate with just the two of us this year. The day is about being thankful, not how many people are eating together,” Debbie Stephens said.

While some individuals are sticking to just their own household for Thanksgiving, others are seeing family, but keeping things scaled down.

“Because of COVID, our Thanksgiving went from dinner with aunts, uncles, and cousins to just my fiancé and I having dinner with my mom and dad,” Reji Lashinsky said.

“I will be working at the hospital. But either way, I wouldn’t be going anywhere or having others over. We would be celebrating as a family in our own home,” Nicole Hartzell said.

Although the pandemic has many people changing their usual holiday plans, others plan to continue with their traditional Thanksgiving events.

“We’re moving forward as always. With a 99.05% chance of surviving…why be scared? That’s like being scared of having a cold,” Mandi Smith said.

Traci Miller Goodman echoed Smith’s sentiments, saying “(I) plan on having Thanksgiving with my family as usual.”

Dolores Kistler noted that “(w)e will be celebrating this Thanksgiving as a family, blessed that we all can be together.”

Cathy Renfrew agreed with Kistler adding: “We need to keep our traditions alive the best we can.

“After all, in this day and age, we need our family and friends.”

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