A New Normal – Thanksgiving in 2020

Eloise Gordon

As we continue to live through this pandemic, we see more and more holidays pass by. What used to be something sweet to look forward to has become bittersweet. Sweet because of the joy celebrating holidays has always brought us but bitter because of how holidays have become landmarks to remind us how long we have been experiencing this deathly pandemic. Many people have found ways to enjoy their holidays despite the pain that they can now bring us. 

 

The Lusk family has been celebrating Thanksgiving together for 60 consecutive years. Izy Lusk, a sophomore at Beacons Grandfather, started the tradition.  When I spoke to Izy Monday night, she said that for her, Thanksgiving means getting to see her baby cousins grow up each year, getting to eat her aunt’s incredible yams, gathering around the piano with her musician cousin, and singing off-tune songs with the rest of her cousins in the traditional Lusk way. This year, however, Izy will not be squished in her Uncle’s basement with the people she loves. Instead, she will be driving up two hours to upstate New York. Izy will be seeing close family friends, babysitting clients that are part of her pod. When asked what she recommends for other people being forced to celebrate Thanksgiving in a non-traditional way, Izy said to take a zoom call with family. Izy will be doing this with the family she would typically be seen on Thanksgiving. All though zooming will not be the same, it is the closest you are going to get to celebrate Thanksgiving the old way.

For Western Reserve Academy student Ari Ehrlich, Thanksgiving has always meant playing charades and eating apple pie at his god aunt’s penthouse. When asked if he enjoyed this celebration Ari mentioned that it is typically a very cold experience. This year, Ari mentioned that he would be celebrating Thanksgiving this year with just his immediate family in his cozy upstate home.  That said, Ari doesn’t think he’ll prefer this year’s celebration over celebrations in years prior. “As much as my tradition is very cold and waspy, it is my tradition,I think that this is a way that many other Americans may feel on this November 26th. No matter what your traditions are, they are your traditions and there is something comforting about having them. Something to look forward to and something that you know is coming.” Ehrlich said. As someone descended from a Mayflower passenger, Ari will be doing one thing that he does every year, pandemic or not. Ari will be remembering the mayflower passengers’ violent entrance into America and the terrible way they treated native Americans when they came to America. Ari strongly recommends that you do the same at your celebrations. 

For 19-year-old college student Juliana Carfarro, Thanksgiving has always been her favorite holiday. Thanksgiving has always meant taking the six-hour flight to Denver, Colorado to visit family. The first plane ride Julianna took was to Denver for Thanksgiving as a three-month-old baby. As a college student, Julianna looks forward to the trip to Colorado even more. The annual trip to Colorado means something for each member of the family. Julianna’s younger sisters look forward to seeing their cousins in the same age group, Julianna’s mother looks forward to seeing her sister and Julianna looks forward to seeing cousins that can relate to her college stress. At the beginning of November, Julianna and her family had to make the extremely challenging and controversial decision to still go to Colorado and celebrate Thanksgiving the same way they have in years prior. 

To Julianna and her family, this trip just means too much. To take precautions, Julianna and her family are driving up to Colorado instead of flying and everyone at the celebration needs to receive a negative COVID test to be able to attend. Julianna understands and respects the decisions of others to alter their Thanksgiving plans, “Do what you need to do for your family and take the necessary precautions.”

 

No matter what you do this year and no matter what happens this Thanksgiving, although it will not be the same as previous years, there are ways to get around the difficult day November 26th will be this year. This year the priority will be safety.