Blog Archive


Making the Best of the Holidays – Pandemic Style

Written by: Aubrey Allred, Graduate Student in Dietetics, Coordinated Program, Georgia State University
Saturday November 14, 2020

With Thanksgiving just a couple weeks away, the holiday season is upon us! A time for traveling to and gathering with friends and family, sharing traditional foods, and taking part in traditions to which we have become accustomed. This year, however, the ongoing pandemic is changing a lot of that. Across the country holiday parties are not being planned, people will be gathering in smaller groups (if at all), thanksgiving day runs are canceled, and events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year’s Eve ball drop will be virtual!

Personally, holidays for the last seven years have involved a lot of travel and rushing from one family’s house to the next. This will be the first year my partner and I do the holidays on our own and, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I know I will miss being with family for the festivities, but on the other hand, don’t tell my mother, I’m actually kind of looking forward to a more mellow holiday season. Of course, I am sad I won’t be able to spend time with my family (and that I will miss out on my sister’s baking, my Mom’s famous toffee, and my sister-in-law’s French beef stew) but, the prospect of a more relaxing holiday season is appealing.

Perhaps others are also looking forward to a less hectic holiday season but also feel sad about not being able to celebrate in the way they traditionally would. For those of us modifying the celebrations, here is a list of tips for getting in the holiday spirit while staying safe, healthy and connected this season.

Connect with loved ones you will not be able to be with physically via video call. Schedule a time for the call so it does not get pushed off. You could even plan to enjoy a meal with your loved ones via Zoom. ¹

If you are attending or hosting a holiday gathering, be sure expectations about precautionary measures are clear. ¹

Make new traditions. Fill your day with festive and enjoyable activities that will make the day feel special. ² Maybe it’s mapping out your own Thanksgiving Day run for yourself and those with who you will be spending the day.

Don’t miss out on your favorite holiday food traditions. Ask for recipes of dishes you look forward to each year and try your hand at preparing them. ²

Have fun with new recipes! Especially if you are cooking for a smaller crowd than usual, make side dishes the main attraction. I often feel that holiday meals are lacking in vegetables and have started compiling a list of possible side dishes to make this year:

Finally, especially if you haven’t taken a financial blow due to the pandemic, remember many have. Get in the holiday spirit and spread generosity. Donate to food banks and other charities. ¹

Just like everything else this year, the holidays will be different from what we are used to, but they certainly are not cancelled! Stay connected, stay safe, and make the best of this holiday season!


  1. McCarthy B. The Holidays Aren’t Canceled. We Have to Reimagine Them for the Pandemic Era. Los Angeles Times. October 30, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020.

  2. Mentock A. Making the Most of the Holidays Away from Home. Grotto. Accessed November 4, 2020.