Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Psychologists say it can help improve people’s outlook as they shift their focus and appreciate what they have.
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving can almost be a forgotten holiday, especially being so close to Christmas. From rushing to put up Christmas decorations to COVID-19 restrictions, it does seem as though a traditional Thanksgiving this year might be hard to observe.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered new health and safety guidelines last week to consider during the holidays if people host or attend small gatherings. They include such things as forgoing loud music and drinking alcohol, even though many Thanksgiving gatherings in Northeast Nebraska are quieter affairs.
The CDC also has advice regarding small gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you must attend or host an event with people who live in different households, it’s best to do so outdoors while limiting the number of attendees, the CDC says.
While the CDC’s advice generally is based on science, social media also has turned ordinary people into health experts. How many of us have been subjected to rants from people demanding everyone wear masks and stay home for the next few weeks to save lives?
There is a lot of doom and gloom out there these days. Never mind that studies indicate all this isolation is not good for people. Suicides and overdoses are up. In Nebraska alone, increased deaths from suicide and drug abuse in 2020 among high school students — compared to a typical year — have been much higher than deaths from the coronavirus.
Even the joy of eating a big meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie with whipped topping and rolls — and then having a second helping — is discouraged. By now, most people have probably heard of the “Quarantine 15” or “COVID 15” — a weight gain attributed to being less active because of the pandemic. It’s as though we’re back being first-year college students and dealing with the “Freshman 15.” All of this just adds to the nation’s rate of obesity and associated health problems.
Does all this have the makings of a bad Thanksgiving? Does there seem to be a lot of fun haters? The short answer is no. Most people offer advice with good intentions.
So, let’s try to remember why Thanksgiving was created. Even in 1621 following a brutal winter and the deaths of nearly half of the original passengers on the Mayflower because of a lack of food, the original pilgrims found reason to give thanks. We should, too.
Remember, almost anyone from that era would gladly trade places with what we are battling today. Our problems are small.