New Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

appy senior man carving turkey during Thanksgiving family lunch at home.

You've probably heard the notion "change is the only constant in life." This definitely rings true in 2020 as we've been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another. We've experienced changes in how we shop, travel, sanitize, and even interact with each other. One day we'll be able to freely share hugs and handshakes again. For now, what we can do is fix our attention on the positive things around us. In fact, the ability to spot silver linings has been proven to significantly reduce stress and even strengthen our relationships!

With this in mind, what better time to refocus our thoughts and energy than Thanksgiving? While this holiday is typically a time for large family gatherings around the table with full plates and full hearts, we believe you can still have the best of both. Here are five quarantine-friendly ways to enjoy a fulfilling holiday. And you never know, these activities may become beloved traditions for years to come.

  1. Write Down Your Gratitude
    Ask each person in the family to write notes of gratitude to each other. Drop them in the mail a week or so before the holiday. When Thanksgiving Day rolls around, everyone can hop on a video call and take turns reading their letters out loud.

    If you prefer a more private version, everyone can simply read their notes as they enjoy their coffee or breakfast on Thanksgiving Day. Then when you connect with each other, you can personally thank them for their thoughtful messages.

  2. Host a Dessert Swap
    Pecan pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, oh my! Next to a perfectly roasted turkey, the dessert spread is probably the most anticipated thing about a Thanksgiving meal. If you're not able to gather with family this year, you can still share sweets together by organizing a dessert swap.

    Treat this like a gift exchange where everyone draws a name, then they send that person a decadent dessert for their Thanksgiving meal. Ask everyone to take pictures or record videos as they enjoy their treat so everyone can see the fruits of their labor.

     A few helpful resources:

    ·         This link offers a free online tool to make it easy to select names.
    ·         Never sent a pie in the mail? Here's a fun and helpful video by the shipping experts at UPS.
    ·         Don't want to mess with baking or shipping? You can always order a pie or sweets from an online bakery. Be sure to order early and maybe call the bakery to ensure your treats will arrive on time.

  3. Create a Shared Experience
    The gift of technology has been such a blessing to many – especially over these past few months. Families have stayed connected over Zoom, Facetime, Skype, and Google hangouts. It has made it easier to create shared experiences, such as reading bedtime stories and playing games over the computer or phone.

    A shared experience specific to the holiday could be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together. This year's parade is supposed to be a television-only special presentation, so you know it will be a fantastic event. Have everyone tune in from their homes. Plan to text each other, call, or video chat during the parade so you can talk about your favorite floats or anything impressive you see.

    You could also play a game where everyone picks a word or image ahead of time. Every time you see that image or hear that word, you award points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the parade wins a fun prize of your choosing. Ideas for what to watch for could be elves, dancers, poinsettias, and marching bands. Words could be "float," "weather," "cold," or "spectacular." Have fun making your list and sharing it with everyone so you can all tune in and take score.

    Need help hosting a video chat or want ideas for other shared experiences? This article might help.

  4. Make Thanksgiving Resolutions
    This idea can be part of a virtual get-together with the family or used as a quiet reflection to close out your day. Pull out a journal and write down a few thoughts. Ask yourself what you'd like to learn, try, or do more of by Thanksgiving next year? This exercise can be an excellent way to remind yourself you have a lot to look forward to on the other side of this pandemic.

    It can also be inspiring to hear what family members have in mind. Knowing what they want to achieve over the next 12 months, you can be their biggest fan and check their progress throughout the year. 

  5.  Find Ways to Give
    Put more "giving" into your Thanksgiving this year. Look for ways you can make a difference in the lives of people around you. Friends can be just as important as family when it comes to feeling connected and helping each other feel appreciated and loved.

     If you live in a retirement community like RLC, areas around the property such as the dining room, main street, hair salon, and activity centers provide perfect opportunities to "give" to others. You can give a compliment, share your time over a cup of coffee or game of cards, or surprise someone with an act of kindness. Your smiling face is sure to brighten someone's day and make you feel good, too.As change continues to happen around us, we hope that planning a fun activity and focusing on gratitude can make a meaningful difference in the way you celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

    As change continues to happen around us, we hope that planning a fun activity and focusing on gratitude can make a meaningful difference in the way you celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

From all of us at RLC, we wish you a wonderful holiday. If you're ever interested in touring a community near you, we'd love to give you a properly distanced private tour. We also offer virtual tours from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Schedule Now!

Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit

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