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Apparently everyone’s willing to risk COVID-19 to chew unseasoned food with their relatives

Yes, you can celebrate Thanksgiving next year

Sam Rainville, News Editor
Originally published November 25, 2020

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

It’s no secret that I hate Thanksgiving. The meal’s lack of textural variety and interesting flavor reminds me of baby food, and the implications of celebrating revisionist history are troubling to say the least. 

While I disagree with every aspect of the holiday, I understand the appeal if you’ve got a thing for boring food. But you’d think a life-threatening pandemic, one that has skyrocketed to 37,631 cases in King County alone, would make people pause.

Governor Jay Inslee recently announced the new restrictions on gathering, dining, and other activities in response to Washington’s rising cases. However, the new 5 person max outdoor meetings only rule doesn’t seem to be deterring people from making holiday plans. 

I’ve heard plans of families getting COVID-19 tests en masse, holding socially-distanced dinners, or even just risking it for the turkey day. But the thing I can’t stop asking myself is why all of this for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving lacks the whimsy and strong aesthetic of other holidays (we all know it rides Halloween’s coattails), and the only festivity it’s bringing to the table is the infamous meal. Anyone who celebrates knows the day is mostly awkward small talk with friends and family (who you probably haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving) while you try to stall long enough for all of the food to be ready, and then one dish always ends up being off anyway. 

So is everyone really that desperate to chew their dinner in the same room as all their relatives? Is the meal that special that you can’t just eat it with the people you’re already quarantined with?

There’s plenty of room for creativity here. You could eat your meal over Zoom, call your loved ones and talk about what you’re grateful for, exchange recipes with your grandma or cook with her over a Facetime call. The list goes on and on.

Something I think bears reminding is that a good portion of the people you usually see for Thanksgiving are elderly. I know that a lot of families are upset about being split up for this long, but I think we have to draw the line at giving our grandparents a life-threatening disease. 

The personal risk of you and your loved ones contracting COVID-19 aside, it’s important to remember you have a responsibility to your community. 

We’re currently seeing how cases are spiking after individuals decided to break guidelines to celebrate Halloween, and while data is still being collected, it’s likely those decisions are going to result in members of our community contracting very serious cases with long-term health effects, or worse. And if you’re lucky enough to have the means or youth to recover from COVID-19, you should consider those who aren’t in your position. 

In a way, it makes a sort of morbid sense. After all, the colonists spread leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that absolutely devastated the Wampanoag and other neighboring tribes, at the exact same time they held their Thanksgiving celebrations. Being responsible for the illnesses of others seems to be a holiday tradition.  

I know above all else we just want things to be normal, but things aren’t normal, and breaking COVID-19 guidelines at this point is irresponsible and selfish. If you break the guidelines to celebrate the blandest holiday out there, that says a lot about your priorities.

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Apparently everyone’s willing to risk COVID-19 to chew unseasoned food with their relatives