COVID-19 Thanksgiving modifying family traditions


Akhila Gunturu

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused Thanksgiving plans to change this year as people travel less and have less extensive meals due to unemployment. These economic restrictions and health concerns may allow for a more low-stress celebration.

Anjali Vishwanath, Staff Writer

The pandemic has now taken over the holiday season, as new guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise against traveling for Thanksgiving. Accordingly, people have had to change their Thanksgiving plans.

In 2018, approximately 2.03 million people per day flew to a different destination over the 12-day Thanksgiving holiday period. During the pandemic, that number may be much lower if people prioritize the health of themselves and their families over being able to meet. However, although the number of people flying for the holidays has decreased, AP reports that about one million Americans per day are still flying as of this weekend.

“I wish it would be the same as it usually is, but this year it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Coppell High School junior Hiranmayi Sarangapani said.

People are also accounting for the smaller numbers around their dinner tables by buying smaller amounts of a Thanksgiving staple: turkey. Buying a smaller turkey or a portion of a larger one suits a smaller group. This new trend has its effects on the turkey business,  particularly those who have to raise turkeys in accordance with changing demands.

While some have chosen to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations limited to the people in their households, others have made different plans to both  celebrate with family and stay safe.

“I’ll meet my family through phone calls and that sort of thing,” said CHS AP US history and IB history of the americas teacher Kevin Casey said. “We will probably see my wife’s family in smaller chunks.”

Other families might be scaling their Thanksgivings back as a result of another one of pandemic’s effects on society: unemployment. Unemployment rates reached a record high earlier this year and remains a problem for those who have had to take pay cuts or work fewer hours. This affects their ability to afford basic necessities, removing the possibility of continuing traditional feasts.

Still, the ideas behind Thanksgiving are the one thing that have remained unchanged by COVID-19. While people are unable to reunite with faraway relatives and may not be able to continue long-held traditions, they will be able to enjoy time with immediate family.

“To me, Thanksgiving is about spending time with family,” CHS senior Sebastian Maurer said. “Giving back, and being thankful for everything that we have.”

Typical Thanksgiving stress over cooking a big meal and entertaining relatives is being replaced by low-stress family time. In a time of economic hardship and health concerns, this Thanksgiving could be the mental break people need.

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