Thanksgiving Day 2020 will be one to remember as people everywhere scramble to find creative ways to be together — apart. The world has been sensory deprived since March 2020. Embracing, gathering, and fellowshipping are viable forms of communication — especially on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in less than a year, learning how to live apart has been the prevailing message. People are warned to not touch or hug. They are urged to cover their nose and mouth when in proximity to others, and stay as far away as possible — at least two arm lengths, or six feet.
How does a person live in a world, removed, that is primarily designed for human interaction? Tables for two, ridesharing, schools, hospitals, parks, grocery stores, ceremonies, and holiday celebrations —all proof that people are meant to be together.
Zoom Gives The Gift of Unlimited Minutes
This year, people will work on being together through the use of technology. Zoom has stepped up to help people accomplish this feat. They have benefited greatly during this pandemic and in true holiday form, they are in the spirit of giving back.
The video communications giant has been the primary form of virtual communication since the onset of the coronavirus. Students and teachers conducting remote learning online and employees working from home have utilized the Zoom platform.
Typically, Zoom allows 40 minutes of free service to its users. To help out this Thanksgiving, Zoom posted on Twitter:
As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don’t get cut short. ❤️🏡 #ZoomTogether
COVID-19 Numbers are Surging
Health officials are urging everyone to forego the traditional Thanksgiving Day family gatherings this holiday season. Just before Thanksgiving, many states implemented new guidelines to combat the spread of the virus.
Spikes in coronavirus infections typically follow large groups congregating. Although biotech companies, Moderna and Pfizer, are close to getting a vaccine approved, at this time, the only protection to slow or stop the spread of the virus is:
- Wear a mask
- Stay at least six feet apart
- Keep hands and surfaces clean
These measures will also lessen the burden on the already compromised healthcare system as Thanksgiving Day kicks off a series of family gathering events. According to The New York Times, there are 11.5 million reported cases of COVID-19 and over 250,000 deaths.
Creative Ways to Stay Together — Apart
A way to take advantage of Zoom’s generosity is by getting family members together early (via Zoom) to conduct a test run before Thanksgiving Day. Older family members may or may not be as technologically advanced as some of the Generation X individuals that can text faster with their thumb than most can type using two hands.
Therefore, making a concerted effort to do a mock Zoom Thanksgiving dinner to avoid some unnecessary snafus, may be in order. Aside from making sure everyone has an internet connection, some other things to test for are:
- Make sure everyone knows how to operate the mute button. It would be a shame if no one heard the beautiful Thanksgiving Day prayer by grandma because her mute button was activated.
- Make sure everyone is aware of the stop and start video feature. Although everyone is eager to be together, no one wants to go to the bathroom together.
- Camera positioning is another thing to check. Awkard angles of a person’s nose or face can be off-putting while trying to eat and enjoy Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Set guidelines of topics that are off-limit for Thanksgiving Day, but don’t be surprised if they are not followed — like any other regular Thanksgiving Day gathering.
A fiasco may still occur, as usual, so don’t get bent out of shape. Try to find the humor in everything that happens this Thanksgiving and share it at the next gathering, in person or virtually, depending on the coronavirus.
Look on the bright side, at least, people do not have to pretend to like dishes brought by the aunt who cannot cook. There is also less pressure to prepare a big feast and now may be the time to try having Thanksgiving dinner catered.
One thing is for sure, the world is resilient. There is always something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day, despite the ravaging effects of COVID-19. This too shall pass.
People have quickly adapted to the new normal and are trying to find ways to make it as fun and exciting as possible. However, suffice it to say, people everywhere may want to go back to the days of old — 9 months ago — when a casual visit to grandma’s house was not a cause for alarm.
Happy Thanksgiving Day.
Written by Sheree Bynum
CNN: For Thanksgiving Day, Zoom will lift its 40-minute time limit for free meetings; Marika Gerken
AJC: How to host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner; Nancy Clanton
Dummies: Using Your Body to Estimate Length; Barry Schoenborn
The New York Times: The Coronavirus Disease
Stat: Pfizer and BioNTech to submit Covid-19 vaccine data to FDA as full results show 95% efficacy; Damian Garde
The New York Times: Lockdowns, Round 2: A New Virus Surge Prompts Restrictions, and Pushback; Sarah Mervosh
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Dianne Rosete’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Beth Scupham’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License