How to Host a COVID-Safe Thanksgiving

October 28, 2020

Like mine, I’m sure much of your Thanksgiving planning is well underway. Since we know this Thanksgiving will likely look different from years past, it’s more important than ever to prepare. Yes, we’re talking about planning your menu, ordering your turkey, and inviting your guests. Above all, there are a few extra things you need to consider while organizing your Thanksgiving this year to ensure it’s COVID-friendly, feels safe for any guests and still be an enjoyable, food-filled experience for everyone, including yourself! 

For some, traditions will be put on hold and usual over-crowded tables and hands reaching across each other's plates for the last green bean won’t be an option. We have a few suggestions to keep things safe, easy, get creative and start some new traditions!

If you plan to host or gather together:

First and foremost, quarantine before you gather. If you are committed to celebrating Thanksgiving safely this year, be sure that everyone in attendance is quarantining and wearing a mask two weeks before the special holiday (mark your calendars for Nov. 12). 

Forgo the buffet this year. We know family style is traditional for Thanksgiving, but to keep the touching of utensils and food to a minimum, we suggest trying to make some individual sized items. Try making mini stuffing in ramekins, get creative with hand-pies for dessert, bake a whole sweet potato for each person to dress as they please.

Keep things small. The crowd will likely be smaller this year, so your portions and prep should match that. Perhaps you should try a Thanksgiving Turkey Breast instead of an entire bird. Get a few mini pies instead of many large ones. 

Hosting in a small apartment (while maintaining proper distance) can be tricky. Open some windows and get creative. Instead of a traditional seated dinner, set up couches and pillows on the floor. Make it more of a Thanksgiving picnic. If you’re limited on plateware, ask everyone to bring their own plate, and you’ll provide the food! It’s a small ask for a big reward (plus this way, you're limiting your dishes).

If you’ll be solo this year:

Make your dream Thanksgiving. Now is your chance to have all the dishes you love, and none that you don’t. Be strategic and choose a few of your ultimate Thanksgiving items, the ones you think about all year long. We suggest you pick one appetizer, a main event and two sides. You always want mashed potatoes? Great! Never really liked dark turkey meat? Opt for a breast instead! Or maybe you don’t like turkey at all… roast a duck

Size matters. To minimize potential food waste, we suggest halving or even quartering some of your favorite recipes. Most of the fruits and vegetables in our Thanksgiving packages will last days if not months when stored properly, so don’t stress about using them all in one day. Just follow your perfect menu. (Peep our guide to properly storing Thanksgiving turkey, veggies & fruit!)

Gather together, virtually. Plan to cook and eat together. Share your favorite recipes and cook them together over Zoom! That way, your meals will be ready at the same time and you can eat, laugh and drink in each other's company. 

Show some love and support local businesses. We know many loved ones can’t be in the same home, or even the same city this Thanksgiving. What better way to show someone you love them than pie? Or wine? Or bread? Local businesses and restaurants are finding creative ways to serve during the holiday season. Do your research and a pack of locally brewed cider or a few baguettes for the dinner table from a nearby shop. You’ll be supporting small, local business and reserving a “spot” at the table.

Hot Thanksgiving tips however your celebrating:

Make a playlist ahead of time. Spend some time curating tunes, both for cooking and eating. Send the playlist to friends and family so they can vibe too. 

Keep your food hot, without drying it out. The key is to plan. Know what you can make and prepare beforehand (make soups, prep vegetables, wash greens), so you can spend the day-of on the items that matter— we’re talking about that turkey. A full guide to Thanksgiving meal cooking order is here!

Plan, prep, make a list. I know we sound like a broken record, but the best way to feel calm, collected and enjoy Thanksgiving is to make a menu, list and plan ahead of time. Don’t get stuck running to the corner store day-of for a can of cranberry sauce. At Local Roots, we have everything you’ll need for your Thanksgiving, regardless of its size. From turkey to vegetables to pies to cheese, order now so you can relax, and we’ll handle the hard stuff. 

Happy holiday however you’re celebrating and don’t forget, there’s always room at the table for pie!

Article by Local Roots Content Volunteer Sylvie Florman

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