We cannot deny that 2020 has looked a lot different than we anticipated. Cancelled travel plans, social distancing, group sizes, masks, and uncertainty have impacted many of our holiday plans.  Many of us will spend the holiday away from family and friends. But I want to encourage you to make time for the small things and different ways of celebrating and what we can be thankful for.

With the holidays approaching and the continued challenges and uncertainly we face during the coronavirus pandemic you may wonder how you can get through the disappointment of a different Thanksgiving.  Perhaps you lost a loved one and that adds more challenges and grief emotions that you may be feeling.  During this Holiday you may have many different emotions.

Although many of us are feeling sad or stressed his holiday, it is estimated that six out of 10 Americans would be changing their holiday plans because of the pandemic. To balance safety guidelines with the desire to see family and friends will be challenging. But by determining where our comfort level and boundaries around activities are, we can still find ways to make this year more manageable.

Thanksgiving is a time to cherish all that you are thankful for and that can be difficult to feel when all we may think of is our loved ones we may not be able to spend the day with.  And though this year will most likely be different and you may feel so many conflicting emotions, we will get through it and it will get better.

We may be upset by the safety precautions put in place this year, acknowledging your emotions helps. We can be creative with video chats where we can share with others what we are thankful for or holding an outdoor Thanksgiving with appropriate safety precautions.  We can try to embrace the challenges and focus on even the simplest things we are grateful for.

Give yourself some grace, if you are not feeling particularly thankful do not be too hard on yourself.  It is a normal reaction during this time.  Process through your feelings in your own timeframe.  Remember that expressing gratitude does not have to be complicated, keep it simple and write down a few things throughout the day that make you happy.  It can be as simple as appreciating your meal, talking with loved ones via video or even the sun on your face.

Go out of your way to thank front line workers, make a sign for your yard, donate PPE or food, something to show your gratitude for them.  And lastly let your loved ones know how you care for them, even if it must be by phone or video.  Our family and our friends are what matters the most, so let them know how much they mean to you.

Whatever we decide to do my hope for you is that you will greet this day of thanks with a full heart of praise and the many blessings we do have.