Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 will be a different kind of celebration for many. The fifty states are varied both in their Covid-19 outbreak data as well as their approach to the pandemic. As numbers increase, new guidelines as well as rules and regulations are issued. Not only do local, regional and state governments differ with enforcement, individuals also differ with compliance levels. Hopefully common sense will prevail.


These turkeys freely wander around Central Florida subdivisions.

Turkey with feathers spread for Thanksgiving 2020

Importance of Thanksgiving to Americans

Like the many Thanksgivings before it, Thanksgiving 2020 is one of the most important holidays in American culture rivaled only by the 4th of July. Perhaps this holiday is so special because of the long history.

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving observed by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock is acknowledged as the first occurrence of the celebration. However, a few other “thanksgivings” predate the above mentioned gatherings. Click here to read about Florida’s claim to the first Thanksgiving.

Regardless of the date and location of the first feast, the tradition and November time frame was officially decreed by George Washington, the United States of America’s first president.

Thanksgiving Timing

Although the fourth Thursday in November was not settled on for many years, the day of the week has remained the same. I am unaware if there is a rhyme or reason for holding the celebration on a Thursday. But the changing to the fourth Thursday is directly related to commerce.

Abraham Lincoln choose the last Thursday and for the most part this was followed for decades (President Grant was one exception.) But in part to stimulate spending at the end of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt moved the official date to the fourth Thursday of the month. So Thanksgiving 2020 will be on the 26th which is both the last and the fourth Thursday.

This designation keeps the date from ever occurring on either the 29th or 30th of the month. And creates more opportunity to shop for Christmas. One wonders if FDR knew he was creating a monster in the form of Black Friday.

Thanksgiving 2020

Plenty of accounts exist reflecting on Thanksgiving 1918. The Spanish Flu pandemic coursed through the country much like our current Covid-19 pandemic. Researching and reviewing the outcomes in 1918 may make it easier to decide how to celebrate Thanksgiving 2020.

The federalist system of governing in the United States of America is reflected by the varied guidelines and mandates across the country. Enforcement will also differ. For example, fines and jail time have been decreed in the state of Oregon for violating the strict Thanksgiving dinner guidelines of no more than six people joining together. Contrast that with the state of Florida where there are no limitations on gatherings and nursing home residents are allowed to partake in family dinners off-grounds.

So, once again common sense is called for. Before finalizing any travel plans, look at positivity rates. Is there a surge or a cluster of cases at the destination? Or in the areas where individuals are traveling from?

What are the demographics of the celebrants? Sibling millennials should fare better than sibling baby boomers. Multi-generational gatherings in numbers greater than ten would make me uncomfortable. And not just for Thanksgiving 2020 because Christmas 2020 is just around the corner.

We are still undecided about our own plans. None of our millennial offspring are returning home. Our positivity rate is sky high. But we may take a meal to one of the octogenarians in the family. The key is to reduce the spread by keeping as isolated as possible while not ignoring the needs of others.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Even though we are in the midst of the pandemic, we need to remember to share Thanksgiving Thankfulness. This may be difficult for those who have lost one or more loved ones this year. My suggestion for countering the gloominess is to look to nature.

The Leonid meteor shower is one such example. I spotted almost a dozen streaks of light in twenty minutes earlier this week. The experience was uplifting. And waking up at 4 A.M. was doable.

But there are others. For those of you living on the coast, consider a walk on the beach. Mountain hikes may be difficult in snowy areas, but there is little to compare to the beauty of fresh snow. We need to give thanks for our natural world.

The people in our life bring great joy as well as significant sorrow upon loss. Reflect upon your loved ones this week even as normal celebrations fall by the wayside. I plan to Zoom with my parents and my kids. Maybe next year we can all be together.

Group of turkeys Thanksgiving 2020

9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2020

  1. Our family is small, so large thanksgiving gatherings have long been a thing of the past. With my mom in lockdown in her long term care facility and Darling Daughter in a hot spot, that leaves on The Engineer and I. I will see my mom through her window and fill her birdfeeders, then we will probably spend part of the day winterizing our beehives and grill some lamb chops. Hoping things are a better at Christmas when DD and her partner plan to visit. Very grateful Mom is the resilient type since she’s not been out since March. She reads a lot, which helps, and we visit almost daily (outside), but I expect those visits will be shorter as the days get colder. I REALLY hope she is able to get the vaccine relatively early so we can get her out for a bit.

      1. Unfortunately, it looks more likely that I’ll be getting it before her because I’m considered an essential worker. Who would have ever guessed I’d become “essential” after retiring from the library and getting a part-time job at a grocery store? Personally, I’d rather Mom get it first, but I suppose my getting it might benefit her? Maybe I’ll be able to see her in person and give her a hug! That would be lovely!

        1. I think it has been very hard on the families with a member in the nursing home. My Dad pre-pandemic spent 5 or 6 hours a day spending time with my Mom at her nursing home. I will probably be at the end of the list since I do everything at home.

          1. I call her every day and my brother or I go to fill her bird feeders most days and talk through the window or by phone outside, but her short-term memory is failing and she keeps forgetting why we can’t take her out. It’s sad.

            1. Dementia is such a hard disease to face. I am proud of my mom’s efforts to keep a bright outlook on life. I know she misses the daily visits from my Dad. She was able to join our family Thanksgiving Zoom which was a treat for all.

              1. How nice to be able to Zoom together. Dementia is, hard, although Mom’s issue is less that than some short-term memory loss. To talk to her, you probably wouldn’t notice. But she doesn’t remember a lot of things from day to day, which may, of course, be the start of dementia, though at 90, it could hardly be surprising!

                1. The memory loss is hard, but the inability to process conversation is heartbreaking. I am so glad you can see her often.

                  1. And that she can still communicate very well! She’s a favorite of staff partly because she can (and does) carry on a good conversation, and partly because she’s a feisty old gal!

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