A Divided Holiday?

By Lloyd Graff

The election is over and still the country is divided. No. Not Trump vs. Biden. I’m talking about getting together for Thanksgiving.

COVID-19 has messed up holiday planning. My wife Risa and I have not physically been with our California family for almost a year. We see each other on Zoom frequently and talk over the phone several times a week. We send lots of photos, do game nights, and even have an occasional party, but there is no popcorn via the Internet. 

We long for the hugs, the breakfast coffee together, the kids walking into our bedroom to schmooze or crochet or complain about school. This you don’t get long-distance, no matter how close your family is.

Along with millions of other stupid, lonely Americans, we have decided to take the risk having our family fly in to celebrate Thanksgiving together. I guess an equal number of folks have decided it is not worth the risk.

people on a plane wear masks during the pandemic

Thanksgiving travel plans are riskier this year

This will not be a “carve the turkey, watch half of a football game, and wave goodbye.” My daughter and family will fly enmasse to Chicago and stay for 10 days. They plan to quarantine quite tightly for a week before leaving and take COVID tests shortly before they travel. Assuming they are all okay, they will figure out the safest way to get to the airport, wear masks and visors at the airport and on the plane, and keep their two rows of seats as virus-free as possible. We will drive two cars to the airport, leave one, and direct them to the parked vehicle when they arrive. They will drive themselves to our house. We have a big enough house to allow Risa and I to keep our distance. Despite these precautions, I do understand we are taking a risk as the pandemic reaches a holiday peak.

Risa and I have played it pretty safe all year. She had heart surgery in January, so we both classify as threatened old people who have had open heart surgery. But she has gone to the hairdresser several times, and we both have had friends come to the house. Noah and his wife just stayed with us for 28 days while they had extensive work done on their condo.

We have all had our scares. If you are not living in an igloo alone, you are going to imagine and really believe you have COVID at some point. Two people at Graff-Pinkert recently got over mild cases of the scourge.

Our family has made its call. We will be together for Thanksgiving. Noah and his wife Stephanie plan to be with us. My son Ari is still undecided about what he will do. He works in a rehab facility and lately has been doing group therapy with people who have had very bad COVID experiences. He also physically sees patients as a psychologist. He is very COVID conscious. Over the last several months our visits have been masked and mainly outside. 

I want to know what you folks are planning for Thanksgiving. Maybe we can share some helpful ideas that can lessen the risk. Holiday visiting is a gamble. We are going to take the risk with genuine trepidation. How about you?

Question: Is it a stupid idea this year for family to fly in for Thanksgiving?

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5 thoughts on “A Divided Holiday?

  1. Robert Ducanis

    When in doubt, stay at home. There has been so much conflicting information on how to handle this virus, it makes your head spin.

    I’ll stay home for Thanksgiving, have my turkey dinner with a couple of glasses of wine, and let my head spin on its own!

  2. Dave

    I’m in my mid-sixties now, so more and more I think about the fact that there are only so many holiday gatherings left for me and my wife. I don’t mean to be morbid, but our sons, daughter and their families are scattered from LA to Houston to Philadelphia with us in Boston, so we, too, have only seen and interacted with our grandchildren over FaceTime or Zoom for close to a year now. It makes me feel like the COVID 19 pandemic has stolen precious time away from the effort it takes to form a memorable relationship with our grandchildren. We have always made it a paramount priority to spend as much time with them as we practically can, without being overbearing pests in the process. So 2020 has been particularly tough.
    Having said that, our decision is, and will be until this is over, to not travel or ask them to travel for family gatherings. In the end, I’d rather write this year off and celebrate long distance than take the risk of not being around for, hopefully, many future family gatherings during holidays, at graduations and weddings. I don’t judge anyone for whatever decisions are made. Everyone’s circumstances are different. But staying home, by ourselves, for the holidays is what we’ve decided to do.

  3. Misterchipster

    We have a family gathering planned. For those comfortable with the risks they are welcome to come. We hold no grudges for those who do not. We all have differing situations and opinions and each has to asses their own risk both personally and to the group. Contrary to the political mindset I see so frequently today, I believe each person should make their own decision. I believe that all of life has risks and this is a serious and formidable one but not something that should allow the loss of our freedom of choice by another individual or official. My research shows that it is roughly following the path of the last four similar “pandemics” which will include 4 “spikes” of which we are in number two. A vaccine may alter it’s course to some degree but the rollout and application of 7 billion vaccines is not even practical (or a guarantee of immunity) on a two or three year time frame. By that time we will be through the worst but not all of the virus. Like all viruses it will diminish but never completely go away so we best add it to our “watch list” and continue to move forward.

  4. Randy

    California is full of rules about 2 hour gathering limits and three households, Gavin can go take a big bite of tofu-rkey if he wants to, we are getting together anyway. Most of our family is local to LA but we have some coming in from Indiana and a few from Arizona. My mother in law is 90, and we have been cautious about gathering only when we are sure we have been limited to contact. We don’t have any protocols at work except to have people be considerate and not come to work if they have anything similar to a symptom. One called in today saying he had scratchy throat and slight fever. A couple of guys wear masks, but other than that we have 60 folks between two buildings and have been at full tilt the entire year. I am respectful of others wishs and concerns but enough of health “officials” who no one knew or cared about for 40 years of their carreers now tryig to control the way I choose to interact with my family.

  5. R in NYC

    Once you concede power to government, you never get that freedom or liberty back!

    Looks like it is getting close to the time for some tar and feathers…

    Stay Safe!

    Be thankful!!


    …and keep your powder dry!!!


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