November 18, 2021

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us are ready to spend time with friends and family and give thanks. Compared to last year, we expect to see more traditional get-togethers now that a vaccine is available to help protect our loved ones.

If you plan to enjoy Thanksgiving this year with a small group of friends and family, we want to make sure you're prepared to tackle the holiday—and we're not just talking about safety precautions. Keep reading for ways to ensure that everything from cooking the turkey to enjoying a little holiday shopping afterwards runs smoothly (and safely!).

If you plan to enjoy Thanksgiving with people outside your immediate family...

  • Keep get-togethers small: It's OK to invite a few people from outside your immediate family to join your Thanksgiving festivities, but you'll also want to make sure people have room to spread out and stay distanced if they'd like to.
  • Wash hands before setting the table: one of the best ways to avoid the spread of germs is to wash your hands. If you plan to set out plates, glasses, and utensils for guests, wash your hands with soap and water before doing so.
  • Designate someone to serve Thanksgiving dinner: the less people you have touching the serving utensils, the better. Instead of a buffet-style dinner, designate somebody to serve people before the meal to avoid everyone handling the same serving utensils.
  • Ask guests to be vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test: while being vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we know not everyone is eligible to do so. To keep everyone safe during the holiday, encourage guests who are not vaccinated to get tested for COVID-19 before the festivities begin.

If you plan to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner...

  • Cook meat and poultry thoroughly: nobody wants Thanksgiving to turn into a sour celebration with sick guests. Use a meat thermometer to make sure turkey is cooked thoroughly to 165°F or 145°F for ham before serving.
  • Wash utensils and surfaces before preparing other dishes: if you plan to prepare your turkey or ham first, make sure to disinfect and wipe down the surface and utensils you used before preparing another dish in the same area or with the same utensils.
  • Extra safety tip: keep raw meat or poultry on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination or liquids (purge) from dripping onto other food in the fridge.
  • You can learn more about food safety during the holidays at: Consumer Food Safety At Home | SRHD

If you plan to shop on Black Friday...

  • Create a to-do list: creating a to-do list is a great way to keep yourself on track while you shop and reduce the amount of time spent in crowded stores where exposure to flu and COVID-19 is possible.
  • Shop later in the day: Black Friday traffic tends to wind down towards the end of the day, so it’s easier to avoid large crowds and maintain distance from others. Plus, you can enjoy shorter check-out lines!
  • Bring hand sanitizer: if you're out on Black Friday, chances are you’re touching things a lot of people already have. Bring hand sanitizer to use in-between stores and eliminate the spread of germs and bacteria.

We hope your family enjoys a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year. While we need to be mindful that the spread of flu and COVID-19 is still a possibility during this time, implementing safety precautions, like the ones mentioned in this blog, can help your family stay safe and enjoy the holiday.