Locals share their pandemic Thanksgiving plans

Preparing Thanksgiving community dinner

MID-HUDSON – As with every special occasion that has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving has had to undergo some changes this year for many Hudson Valley residents.

For Newburgh resident Lauren Naru, this pandemic means she won’t be traveling to Virginia to see extended family, but she is content with having a smaller, more intimate Thanksgiving this year.

“It’s the peace of mind that like you’re keeping yourself but more importantly, your loved one safe,” she said. “I know people are getting wrapped up in the stress and of not visiting and not keeping with their usual traditions, but I just hope people can find a peace of mind in knowing that what they’re doing is keeping their loved ones safe.”

Naru has been staying with her family in Newburgh and plans to celebrate the holiday in her household.

Poughkeepsie resident Joyneia Joyner is also used to having a larger Thanksgiving celebration in her hometown. 

“Me and my family are just going to do a small, intimate Thanksgiving,” she said. “I’ll [usually] go to another friend’s house or other relative’s home for Thanksgiving or Christmas to get a plate or just to see everybody’s face, but this year, that definitely does not look like it’s going to happen.”

Kingston resident Sarah Weikel is seeking to have an anti-Thanksgiving celebration. She is looking forward to watching horror movies and ordering Chinese food, as opposed to her usual visits with her mother and father’s families.

“I typically will see my mother’s side of the family and then my father’s side of the family, but they both live in different counties that I do,” she said. “I’m not going to be visiting any of them for Thanksgiving because I’m really concerned about how the coronavirus spreads among small groups.” 

Adding to Weikel’s concerns is the anticipation of COVID-19 test results. Weikel has been quarantining after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, but her Thanksgiving plans have not changed because of this.

Weikel suggests rescheduling Thanksgiving to the summertime.

“I know that sounds weird, but I just think the safest we can be right now in this time where it feels like we’re at the beginning of a second wave,” she said. 

For families upset about a canceled Thanksgiving this year, Joyner suggests to get creative and possibly start a new Thanksgiving tradition.

“You’ve got to be able to think outside the box so that you can feel some kind of, I guess, normalcy,” she said. “You can still have a Thanksgiving and maybe do it virtually.”

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