November is a month for reflection. It’s a time when our thoughts turn inward, to focus on the goodness in our lives. It’s a time to be with our friends and our families to share food and conversation. It’s a time for togetherness and a time to give thanks.
For many people, it’s going to be a little hard to feel thankful this year, because of the many things it doesn’t feel safe to participate in right now. The CDC has shared its guidelines for the holiday season that advise us to avoid large gatherings, beware of travel and to keep celebrations short and outdoors, if possible. For many, travel simply isn’t an option.
For these reasons and more, you may be feeling less festive and grateful than you’d like. That’s understandable. Many of us are reconfiguring our usual social gatherings to be more distant than we’d prefer, and we’ll miss that sense of togetherness that sharing a meal in person brings.
Just because this season isn’t what we’ve grown accustomed to, though, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate. In fact, I think that during these trying times, it’s more important than ever to take account of what we have to be grateful for and to appreciate our most precious moments for what they are. During a pandemic, you may need to get more creative about exactly how to do this. Maybe it’s time to start a new tradition – if I may recommend one, you could learn to sew or knit by taking one of our many online fiber arts classes. Learn to sew a potholder or crochet an adorable hedgehog, and send them as little gifts for family and friends. They’ll certainly appreciate knowing that you’re thinking of them from afar.
You may not be able to have a large family gathering for Thanksgiving, but your immediate family (or framily) can gather over new recipes – and you can share those recipes with loved ones, too. Ask everyone to prepare a similar dish for their holiday meal, and when you gather over Zoom, compare notes about the tastes and experiences these new recipes brought to your tables. Looking for recipe inspiration? I know where you might be able to find some good cookbooks! We also have some recipes which were generously shared with us by local chef Jocelyn Bryant of Joycelyn’s Southern Kitchen.
Another idea: Use your library card to curate your own film festival to check out streaming movies via RB Digital or Kanopy. Or host a concert in your living room by checking out Qello Concerts, a massive bank of concert films and documentaries, featuring everything from Talking Heads to Shakira to Etta James. You can check out Qello Concerts for up to seven days with your library card and have unlimited access to everything in the collection during your checkout period.
No, things won’t be the same as usual this Thanksgiving season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some small things for ourselves, our families and our friends to foster a sense of community, togetherness and thanks.