COVID Keeps Families Apart on Thanksgiving


photo courtesy of AP Images

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place despite COVID restrictions. Performers wore masks and no crowds were present to limit the spread.

Cassi Reaka, Editor-in-Chief

Thanksgiving is a time to come together with those we love… and also those we see once a year and greet with awkward smiles and uncomfortable hugs. Thanks to COVID, most families opted out of a reunion this Thanksgiving.

The CDC recommended families keep their gatherings minimal. While a few still traveled and hosted lots of guests, many families took their advice. 

A few traditions still remained such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade taking place in New York and families indulging in a gluttonous meal. But the holiday still felt strange and new to most, like everything else in 2020.

Senior Aidan Leopold and his family kept the celebration small this year to stay safe.

“Normally I eat thanksgiving with my grandparents and aunt and uncle at my grandparents’ house, but this year I ate at home with just my parents,” senior Aiden Leopold said. “I think [my family] was frustrated with the situation but understood that our collective safety was worth the sacrifice.”

Leopold felt that this was the right choice, but was still saddened by the circumstances.

“I enjoyed spending time with my immediate and closest family members, but I certainly missed the opportunity to be with my extended family, especially as this is my last year before college.”

Sophomore Livia Budwell spent the day with her mom and two brothers. Her family usually hosts and invites lots of people over, but decided not to this year. Not everyone in her family felt that keeping the gathering intimate was necessary.

“Both of my brothers were very upset and it took a lot of convincing to get them to stay home,” Budwell said. “The other sides of the family were still having small gatherings so they wanted to be a part of it. It just wasn’t worth the risk to me and my mom.”

Budwell said it did not feel like Thanksgiving. The unusual circumstances did lead her family to a possible new tradition though: eating Bob Evans.

“Their thanksgiving meal gave us more than enough food, allowed my mom to relax and not cook, and was only 50 dollars,” Budwell said.

Budwell believes her family will carry on a new tradition of eating Bob Evans for more Thanksgivings to come.

Senior Joana Leston and her family typically fly to Philadelphia for the holidays.

“We usually do travel, all the way to Pittsburgh to see my dad’s side of the family, and we have a pretty decent gathering of people,” Leston said, “but this year we stayed home and it was just my immediate family and me. It was pretty strange, but we wanted to stay safe and healthy.”

The Leston’s made their decision early to avoid the dangers of travel.

“None of my family was against staying home, and we all enjoyed being with each other,” Leston said. “Of course we missed some family we usually see on the holiday. Usually, we aren’t the ones to cook dinner, but this year we did and I think that tradition will definitely continue.”