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Holiday Feast in the time of COVID-19

 
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Every Christmas a group of us get together for a feast.  It's pot luck.  And over the years, my friends married and grew families and what started as a few chairs around the kitchen has grown into a massive multi-family feast with gingerbread house decorating and tables pushed together to make room for everyone.

We're trying to think of ways to keep the community feast going but without the physical interaction.  We want to honour people's concerns and help them feel comfortable about the feast.

I'm thinking each family cooks their regular pot luck items, then we pop around to each house and drop off a gingerbread house and icing, and swap feast food.  It won't be the same, but at least there will be food and fun.  

What are your plans for the Holiday Feast for 2020?
 
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Zoom might work. I can't recall if you're on Facebook, or not, but I thought I saw something about them having added a live group camera thing, too?
 
r ranson
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r ranson
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I am hoping that the no-gathering, even outside order is lifted in time.  

If it is, this is what we hope the holiday will look like.

Each family will cook a dish.  For example, I'll cook two chickens and carve it up and put it in separate dishes - one per family.
We meet outside for 10 min or so with everyone wearing masks.  We exchange food and gifts.
We go home and eat the meal then have some zoom time to show the annual gingerbread house decorations and gift unwraping.  

Not as much fun as normal, but it means we can still be "together" while being apart.

I think it's going to be lonely.  it's the one social gathering I look forward to all year long.

But maybe we'll have a proper gathering in June or July.  A big feast served outdoors.  
 
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We're skipping gathering for Thanksgiving--we'll probably call each other and wish each other Thanksgiving, and share pictures with each other. But, since Thanksgiving is mostly about eating together, that's kind of hard to safely. And, my husband is working that weekend at the hospital, anyway, so we wouldn't be able to gather anyway.

What we're thinking of is gathering with for maybe 30 minutes with masks and either (A) with all the windows open and the woodstove going, or (B) outside on the covered porch. We exchange unopened gifts and Christmas treats, and maybe each of the kids gets to pick on of their presents to open there, and we do a quick Zoom/Facebook Messenger with my grandma (she's 89--no way we'd expose her and everyone else in her retirement home to the virus).

We'd thought of exchanging gifts and treats and videoing our present openings at home for everyone else to view, but with my slow internet, it'd be really hard to upload that long of a video.

More important than any regulations, we really want to keep my parents (and grandma) safe.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:We'd thought of exchanging gifts and treats and videoing our present openings at home for everyone else to view, but with my slow internet, it'd be really hard to upload that long of a video.  



When my hubs and I lived in Japan ages ago, before video transfer was common, we used to just call home and open presents over the phone. Not the same but it was nice. I was happy.
 
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We are going on a three hour hike with our youngest son's family...each packing a small 'personal' picnic but the food won't be the center of attention which is fine with me.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful that day and we have been practicing talking outside from a distance since March, even the grandkids are in the habit now.  It's a two hour drive to the trail so we are traveling that day and feel a little guilty about that.  We'll have our masks and jar of muslin/alcohol wipes along as usual if needed.

We have not had anyone in our house since March nor have we been in anyone else's home...just occasional yard chats with friends and family and once a week groceries during the 'old peoples hour' at the local store, masked and sanitized...and lots of hiking.  
 
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Here in the UK they government have just announced that for a limited period of time 3 households may come together and form a bubble for the christmas period. Restrictions include that the bubble must be exclusive - you can't have one party one day, and mix with another group the next. They have also asked that families use their judgement to reduce risks.

In our case that probably means we will have three households coming together, but because of our various work arrangements those of us at risk of catching covid (teachers, school aged kids) will be self isolating for 2 weeks between the end of term and getting together with the grandparents. We hope to be able to have a safe gathering, over a few days, and within the guidelines.

I think that planning exclusive bubbles carefully, and agreeing as a group what to do to stay safe, is sensible. It both protects the vulnerable older family members and reduces the wider community risk of there being a holiday spike.
 
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r ranson wrote:I am hoping that the no-gathering, even outside order is lifted in time.  


I'm betting it will be -- for Christmas 2021. :-(
 
r ranson
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Something I have heard from people in Easter Canada (which is actually the central part, but whatever) is that some people are making a pledge to stay home for two weeks without even grocery shopping, so they can have a feast with their elderly relatives on Christmas Day or the holiday that is special to their family.  

That way, the elders in the family feel safe about the gathering and won't be spending the special day alone.
 
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I'm thinking about postponing the holidays with extended family until the summer when hopefully this has calmed down and we can enjoy the warm weather outside....grill, swim, etc.  For Thanksgiving and Christmas day I will only celebrate in person within my bubble this year.  With everything going on this year I'm hoping that the phone calls I'm planning to loved ones outside my bubble will feel extra special.
 
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I kinda think the point here is about finding ways to celebrate while keeping other people safe. It's not about cowering away in fear, but about finding responsible ways to live now that the virus IS here, that won't unnecessarily risk the lives of the elderly, the disabled, and the ill in our communities.

Your party sounds fun, Lisa. Enjoy it! But I really hope your high-risk friends and family with have the wisdom to stay home.
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