There has never been a pandemic in my lifetime, and unless you are over 100 years old it is your first as well. We all did good getting through and flattening the first wave of Covid-19. Now we are experiencing what they have been predicting for a few months now, the monster fall wave. Our hospitals are filling up and more people are dying. Does not exactly feel like the holidays are coming. Michigan this week issued orders closing many businesses for the next three weeks starting tomorrow. The health experts are all strongly urging people to simplify Thanksgiving this year, just your immediate household. The way the virus is spiking right now, this is good advice. But that does not mean you have to take all the festivity out of Thanksgiving. Think creatively, there are still many things to do to create a festive atmosphere. Many people are decorating for Christmas early inside and outside their homes. Do not be sad, be festive!

Start a tradition with your immediate family. You could all decorate together the night before the holiday, or the days leading up to it -- or you could set the dinner table in a specific way or bake the pie. If you are usually traveling or an aunt usually handle the side dishes, this is a chance for you to do things your way.

Make the day festive. Set up some good snacks for the Lions game, put out a nice tablecloth in the dining room and use this opportunity to order that extra place setting (ahead of time, of course). With all this increased time at home (well, for most of 2020, really!), you might as well make your surroundings look nice. Invest in your home.

Serve something other than turkey, if the thought of making the whole bird seems overwhelming or daunting. (You could always opt for a smaller turkey breast, too, if you only have a few mouths to feed). Ask your family members: How much do you guys even enjoy turkey? If there were ever a year to go lasagna and garlic bread or beef Wellington -- this just might be it.

Now if all that sounds a little overwhelming to you and you prefer something even more simple, check out what your local restaurants are doing, a chance to help support a local business and offer your family an alternative. Some restaurants are offering full meals, others just sides and carry out cocktail kits. Lots of to go options, start researching your plans now and be ready for next week. Do not be sad, make it a day of fun and family. Have your own Zoom or Facebook party with friends and family from all over. And remember in this day and age of technology, you can have family members from far away join your Thanksgiving dinner virtually too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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