POV: Thanksgiving and Travel

Matthew Petillo, Copy

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is right around the corner. With the pandemic, a lot of people were forced to change their plans, whether they stayed at home and cooked their own Thanksgiving dinner or tried something other than the traditional turkey. 

Take eighth grader Eliza Brockhoff, for example. She and her family stayed home, but they missed none of the traditional fun and feasting: “We all helped out and made a big feast at home. We wound up having 4 pies.”

Senior Catherine Timkar, however, did something slightly different: she decided to help those who could not or chose not to travel for the holidays. “For Thanksgiving, my family hosted a socially distant (and mask bearing) Thanksgiving for some college students and young adults who could not go home due to COVID-19,” says Timkar. “Originally, we were planning on hosting my grandparents, but my grandma is significantly compromised, so we decided not to risk it.” 

Seventh grader Xeva Oldridge also had her plans changed: “I am simply having dinner with my close family, nothing much. It’s a drastic change because last year I did things like go to Mexico with a large part of my family, so it’s very different.”

Senior Abigail Baldwin’s family celebrated Thanksgiving with a fun twist: “ I spent thanksgiving with my immediate family, [and] we had Nachos! I didn’t see my extended family which kind of bummed me out, but I still had fun! Most of my extended family lives out of state, so I usually only have it with my immediate family.” Still, Baldwin managed to get some virtual family time in: “I did have a Zoom call with my dad’s extended family.”

Sixth grader Charlie Maples’ family downsized their Thanksgiving. “I had a smaller Thanksgiving feast at home,” says Maples. “It was just my mom, dad, and pesky little brother instead of the usual half the family, which is way too many for our four person house.”

Even though the CDC recommended that Americans cancel their Thanksgiving travel and community plans, the airline industry saw the busiest travel season since the start of the pandemic — more than 9.1 million people traveled by plane from the twentieth to the twenty-seventh of November. It is unknown what the impact of this travel is yet. What we do know, however, is that the spike in travel indicates that the Christmas holiday season will be similar.

Brockhoff had this to say about people traveling: “I think it’s a bad idea. I know it’s hard to stay away from loved ones, but by traveling, you put both theirs and your safety at risk.”

Baldwin echoed her: “I can understand wanting to see family on thanksgiving. It is part of the holiday. However, the pandemic is real, and spreading it, especially to elderly family members is unthinkable.”

Maples had a different opinion than most: “I think we could have traveled to some family outside of town with proper precautions. “

Timkar agreed:”I think it’s fine to travel as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.”

No matter your opinion on traveling during a pandemic, or specifically for holidays, we all had something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and have a universal gift coming to us for Christmas: this year is almost over.