Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely

Published on: 11/17/2020

By: Marcos Mestre, MD & Matthew A. Love

Dear South Florida families,

The holidays are important traditions for adults and children alike. This year, because of COVID-19, the way we are used to celebrating will look a little different. As we prepare for Thanksgiving next week, we must keep in mind that, this holiday season, connecting with extended family and friends will require flexibility, and being open to modifying cherished traditions. 

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital encourages parents and guardians to follow the CDC’s recommended COVID-19 guidelines when planning for, or attending, any upcoming gatherings, and determining whether you and your family will be traveling during the holidays. We also have some fun ideas to keep your children entertained during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tips for hosting a COVID-19 safe Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Limit the number of guests attending your gatherings to allow for physical distancing between households.
  • Set up tables outdoors or increase ventilation by opening windows and doors, when possible.
  • Ask guests to wear masks, including children older than two years old, and have them plan for where they will store their masks while eating or drinking.
  • Set up hand sanitizing stations around the gathering areas and make sure your bathrooms have soap, water and paper towels.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas often.
  • Use disposable plates and cutlery, and a touchless garbage can.
  • Consider hosting virtual gatherings with extended friends and family.


Tips for traveling for Thanksgiving:

  • Make sure to check on any restrictions with airlines and airports.
  • Always wear a mask in public areas.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.
  • Keep physical distance between your family and everyone else.
  • Travel at off-peak hours/days to avoid crowds.

Tips for engaging kids in fun and safe Thanksgiving activities:

  • Print out paper turkeys and have your children decorate them in disguises to help them “escape” the dinner table.
  • Have your children create the dinner table decorations and then help you decorate the dinner table.
  • Decorate your face masks with stickers and markers.
  • Let your children “host” your virtual celebration by saying a few words before everyone begins to eat.
  • Start a gratitude jar by having guest write something they are grateful for and placing it in the jar, let your children read them aloud.
  • Play games after dinner, even with virtual guests, like Charades or Pictionary where everyone can participate.

Wishing you and your family a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Matthew A. Love                                     Marcos Mestre, MD
President and CEO                                 VP and Chief Medical Officer
Nicklaus Children's Health System      Nicklaus Children's Hospital

This content was reviewed and provided by Marcos Mestre, MD, VP and Chief Medical Officer
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, and Matthew A. Love, President and CEO, Nicklaus Children's Health System. 

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