This Thanksgiving's a bummer, but let's try to focus on gratitude

Together with the Ontario Medical Association we asked doctors how their Thanksgiving will be different.

Lisa Machado 3 minute read October 9, 2020
young girl smiling over a thanksgiving feast

Looking on the bright side is taking on a whole new meaning this Thanksgiving. GETTY

Dare I say it again? 2020 has been a year like no other.

Not only has COVID-19 thrown our world into a tailspin, decimating lives and economies, it is threatening all that is good about life: pubs (can’t drink beer with a mask), school (kids never leave the house), Halloween (no trick or treating?), and sadly, Thanksgiving.

Earlier this week, as most of us looked ahead to turkey day with tentative hopefulness, Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu reiterated the risks of large in-person family gatherings.

“As everyone knows, it’s been a challenging week, and virtual dinners — although less appealing — rather than an in-person gathering can make a difference in reducing the spread of COVID,” she said.

It’s a message no one wants to hear, especially as we tuck in to the eighth month of trying to curb the spread of the potentially deadly virus — time that many of us have spent not seeing family and friends, dodging hugs and handshakes and overall, embracing a somewhat hermit-like life to avoid getting sick.

And now, here we are, steps away from a national holiday that’s symbolic of giving thanks, and instead of gathering with those we love for the yearly family catch-up, ducking nosy nana’s questions about the procurement of a significant other and fielding heated political debates, the most many of us can hope for is a meal with the folks we live with.

And sure, while it’s not exciting, at least we’re staying safe, and that’s a pretty big something. But what about those on the frontlines — the people who have been tirelessly working immersed in COVID-19, risking their lives and those of their families to not only get a grip on the virus, but also keep our healthcare system going. Together with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), we asked doctors what they had planned this Thanksgiving weekend.

Perhaps Dr. Hill, president of the OMA, says it the best: Let’s focus on gratitude. While phrases like, “things could be worse” and “everything is going to be alright” are increasingly sounding like tiresome platitudes — even a form of toxic positivity — as we head into the tail end of a year dominated by a virus and political debacles, maybe the way out is shifting our focus from all that we have lost, to patting ourselves on the back for making it this far. It is, after all, a time for recognizing all that’s good in our lives, and although we may need to look a little closer — squint if you have to — surely we all can find something shiny to hold on to.

Don’t miss the latest on COVID-19, reopening and life. Subscribe to Healthing’s daily newsletter COVID Life.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.