Many families are trying to come up with new ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.  This year the pandemic is creating some very difficult decision-making for families. We’ve been in isolation for seven months and therefore the urge to getting together with family and friends is stronger than years before. Many people are craving connection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against big indoor gatherings and warns against travel.

The CDC offers several suggestions for lower-risk activities, such as a small dinner with members of one household; preparing traditional foods for neighbors or relatives and delivering them in a contact-free way; or having a virtual dinner with family and friends. Sure, grandparents are going to miss seeing their children and grandchildren; however, with today’s technology we are able to see one another virtually. Medical experts urge people to be careful especially how holiday gatherings are high risk for the older parents or relatives. 

If you have been invited to someone’s home and you are uncomfortable attending, let them know that you are not comfortable about attending and that it has nothing to do with them. It’s okay to say “I prefer not to get together with everyone” or “I’m sorry we are not going to be able to attend this year."

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Take ownership for yourself and your own safety and the safety of your family members. People will understand. If they don’t, it has nothing to do with you. It seems like everyone views COVID-19 differently. Some are taking COVID-19 very seriously while others are not as concerned. We are all different and it is important to be able to say “NO” if you do not want to go along with what others are doing. 

In-person gathering can work, too, so long as the event is held outside and all parties wear face coverings, engage in physical distancing of at least 6 feet, and practice good hand hygiene and follow the CDC guidelines. Remember that what works for one family may not work for another.   

This holiday season try to experience the gathering a little differently than you have in the past. Remember to focus on self.  Do not focus on what others are doing or saying. Do what feels safe for you. It’s a difficult time; however, we can also be grateful for what we have … make your 2020 Thanksgiving special. 

At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, we are available day, evening and weekend hours via Zoom, Phone or Face Time. Visit us at or Facebook or call 908-322-0112.