Holidays In the Time of COVID {The Hard Decision to Stay Home on Thanksgiving}


Every year for Thanksgiving since my first son was born, we have traveled almost four hours north to Mamaw and Papa’s house for the Thanksgiving holiday. We’d arrive late Wednesday night, and my oldest would get a second wind as he took in the beauty of Mamaw and Papa’s Christmas decorations. We’d wake up the next morning, me with coffee in-hand, and lazily take in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before getting ready for the rest of the extended family to arrive – their aunt and uncle, cousins, great aunts and uncle, and great Gram!

But this year, we stayed home for Thanksgiving.


We love the extended time with family we don’t get to see often during the holidays, but I’m very wary that all of this extended time just increases everyone’s risk during the pandemic. Was the travel, the packing and the driving worth it in face of the risk? For us, it was easier to stay home, here in our bubble, safe and sound. I don’t think I would have forgiven myself if we unintentionally brought COVID to my husband’s family, especially his 90-year-old grandma. Or if we brought it back home to my parents and family.

Mamaw told us:

“I really hope you can make it for the holidays.”

I’m a stickler for tradition during the holidays, so my heart was certainly torn this year. I was saddened at the thought of missing time with family, but I didn’t want to see this Thanksgiving end up being someone’s last just for the sake of my sticking to tradition.

In my heart, I missed celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, but it was my little family’s chance to create our own Thanksgiving feast, have a quiet (or as quiet as it can be with two busy toddlers!) intimate holiday, and create some new memories of our own. We tried our hardest to make the best of the situation, though my son was asking to go to Mamaw and Papa’s house. I know he, most of all, was heartbroken to miss it. And I hated to see him sad since I know he doesn’t fully understand. He does not understand the idea of giving up something you love for potential gain later.

Was the sacrifice now worth the potential rewards? Was it the loving choice to stay home for Thanksgiving?

Maybe, just maybe, since we stayed home for Thanksgiving, there could be a vaccine in time for Christmas or New Year’s visits? What a Merry Christmas that would be!


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