• Courtney Phillips

Having a “Happy” Thanksgiving in 2020


Thanksgiving this year looks a lot different for many of us than in years past. I know that for most of us we had to make the tough – and as my aunt said “adult” decision – of whether to stay home alone or with who we live with or to be with our families in spite of CDC guidelines. [Side note: who would have thought in 2020 being almost 37, and divorced, I would still not feel old enough to be considered an “adult.” But I digress…]


This year, I booked a trip to go home to Texas to spend the holiday with my family, which is a big deal for me. Not to spin too far off topic, but with the exception of last Christmas, I haven’t spent holidays with them. We spent every holiday with my former in-laws. So starting at Christmas 2019 I was able to begin being with MY family, and I was excited to be going home.


Queue a global pandemic…


So, I realize I saw the signs, or better yet read the papers, that there was the potential for a second or third wave of the virus, but who knew when it was really coming, right? Around the middle of November, I started having a strong gut feeling to not go or that I didn’t want to go. Overwhelming feelings actually. I brought it up to everyone I spoke to: coworkers, friends, family, everyone. Even the most risk-averse would tell me to go and take precautions. But I still felt this strong gut feeling against it. And I am a traveler who will jump on a plane in a day – and I love Texas!


So, sadly and begrudgingly, on the advice of my therapist, I have canceled my flight. She said, “It’s ok to feel relief knowing you’re doing the right thing from a safety perspective and guilt about not seeing your family for the holiday at the same time.” I needed to hear that to make it ok. You need to hear that to make it ok. Go reread that likely poorly quoted, run-on sentence! Now, read it again! [Also, please know that if you choose to be with your family in a safe way today, know that I am not judging you. We all have to make hard choices and trust me I get it.]


Now, that we are all having a little bit of positive self-talk this morning. Let’s talk about what I have been doing since my flight was supposed to leave – and what you can do this holiday season – to make the most of the 2020 holidays.


5 Tips for celebrating the 2020 Thanksgiving and holiday season:

  1. Stay Active. You all know I am an indoor cycling nut. I went online and signed up for SoulCycle every single day starting the day my flight left. I know that sounds like a lot for some, but in a global pandemic, it may be the only thing I leave the house for. Plus, it’s my mental and physical coping mechanism. It brings me happiness by burning off my anxiety and keeps me feeling like I can eat all the pumpkin pie (and in my case sweet potato pie – hey I am from the south!) Being active will help keep your endorphins up and help you ensure you don’t stay sedentary in front of the Crown all week. Yes, speaking from experience… Hey, if this doesn't work for you, try a slow easy, virtual yoga class. Just try to get some motion.

  2. Schedule Video Call for Annual Traditions. My client told me that her family had planned to do their family prayer via video call before dinner. I LOVE this idea and it warmed my heart. I know a lot of you may not be religious, but we are all missing some of our family traditions. Maybe it’s not the prayer, but maybe it’s the toast. Or sharing the things we are grateful for this year. Plan to do it ahead of time. For me, I am going to let you know that I am scheduling my post-meal nap. Totally kidding!

  3. Go for a walk with your dog. But Courtney, isn’t this the same as staying active? No, it is not! I’m prescribing you with Vitamin D, a little quality time with your furry bestie, and some mindfulness – no do not stare at your phone the whole time. I try to do this EVERY DAY! Now, duh, Lily needs a walk every day. But, I actually mean a long walk without devices with just Lily and I investigating the neighborhood! Go try it! Try it right now without your phone. Your dog will thank you. And if you don’t have one, borrow your neighbor’s dog!

  4. Order from your favorite restaurant for dinner. Ok so this blog is coming out way too late for this to probably work out for Thanksgiving dinner, but do it another night. Honor yourself and help out a small business owner. Order it to go or for delivery, put on The Crown (you know you’re going to do it) and enjoy. We need to celebrate ourselves and, I don’t know about you, but myself isn’t a huge fan of Thanksgiving food. So when given the opportunity why would I choose that? I mean I’m not going to eat pageant prep food on Thanksgiving. But, why would I not get a meal from my favorite restaurant and enjoy? You should too. And I challenge you to avoid all things that would be on a traditional table, you savage!

  5. Watch cheesy Christmas Movies. I decided to do this the other night and I am not a Lifetime Christmas movie person or a Lifetime anything person. So, I logged into Prime and searched Christmas Romantic Comedies, because natch…. And what do I see? “Christmas on the Bayou” with Peyton and Chris Keller from One Tree Hill as the leads who will inevitably fall in love when Peyton returns from her life as a Boss Babe on the East Coast to her hometown in South East Louisiana (St. Martinville for you locals) … Sounds like something I’d like, huh? I loved every second of it until I didn’t. I made it halfway. But, it was amazing and filled my soul for that hour. Go find one that someone wrote that would be just like if your life was a romantic comedy at Christmas that wasn’t happening during a pandemic. And try to not feel weird when people are less than six feet apart, touching and, oh dear God, kissing? Does that still happen? Dead!

© 2018 by Spinning through Life.

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