Thanksgiving arrives this week for those of us in the United States. Before COVID-19 struck, we had a week filled with family reunions, food, fun, travel, football games, Black Friday, and being thankful.

Not necessarily in that order.

All that was very different from how Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1607. Those were days of prayer, not days of feasting with services deeply grounded in religious beliefs and gratitude to their Heavenly Father.

Some of that changed in 1621 when the Wampanoag Indians were included in the festivities. Dancing, singing secular songs, playing games were added. A very secular celebration that would have shocked those first celebrants.

During this pandemic when we’re being told not to gather at all. Celebrating will be different again. Difficult. Sad.

Thanksgiving won’t be the same as last year’s, which may be a good or bad thing depending on how your day went last year.

But don’t let this pandemic madness stop you from celebrating. Here are four ideas for quarantine celebrations.

  1. Host a virtual get-together. Zoom is lifting it’s forty minute call limit so you can visit together longer.

If you want to avoid controversial topics of conversation? Download a printable list of conversation starters from the Alice&Lois blog.

Are missing the younger grandkids? Start with a Zoom craft-making session. Tracing hands to make a turkey and then writing something you’re thankful for on the finger-feathers is always fun.

  1. Light a fall-scented candle and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s still happening though different thanks to COVID restrictions. It’s reassuring when Santa arrives at Macy’s.

3. Take family walk or bike ride. Enjoy the fresh air outside.

4. Keep a notebook handy and jot down something each day that you are thankful for. Then share on Thanksgiving.

Use your imagination. Be creative. And don’t forget to include things from the original holiday like prayer and thanksgiving.