As a tumultuous year wraps up its presidential election and a pandemic rages on, many are finding their holidays will be spent differently this year.

The CDC states that travel may increase chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, along with the flu. According to its website, the CDC recommends Thanksgiving celebrations be held only among people who live together. The CDC also states that the virus is more deadly to those with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, and older adults.

“My family wants to gather, and I don’t,” Abby Neff, a sophomore studying journalism, said.  

Neff, a Columbus resident, said though she does not live with her parents and siblings, they have still been a part of her social network, or “quarantine” pod. Neff said the risk of transmission has been a much-discussed topic regarding Thanksgiving, as she works in a restaurant, and her sister works in a nearby high school. 

“It’s pretty much just immediate family this year,” Neff said. “For now, my family plans to gather and have masks on and stuff.”

Neff, who has five other siblings, said Thanksgiving is normally the time of year they all gather, as her siblings live all across the U.S. She said her family is still working out the details of what they’re doing for the holiday, but they will be wearing masks and possibly staying outdoors. 

“I think it will be fine,” Neff said. “Everyone will be a little tense, but just, it’s very hard to tell your family no ... I know I don't have any contact with people who are at risk or have pre-existing conditions. I don’t really go anywhere, and if I get it, I know it will be my responsibility. I just worry about the other people in my family getting it, but I think it’ll be OK.”

Josie Mitchell, a junior studying environmental geology, said her family won’t be gathering like normal this year. Instead, they’re going out to eat.

“We are taking my grandparents to their favorite restaurant and celebrating with the nuclear family,” Mitchell said in a message. 

Like Mitchell, Regan Magee, a freshman studying civil engineering, is having dinner with only her immediate family. Usually, her grandmother, aunt and uncle attend, but this year, they decided it presented too much risk. 

“We did not want to risk my grandma or aunt or uncle getting COVID, especially with my sister coming home from college,” Magee said in a message. “They're all at risk so we didn't think it was worth it.”

Allison Gold, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders, will spend this week’s holiday isolated in quarantine. 

“I am actually stuck in quarantine because my brother came home from college and tested positive for COVID-19,” Gold said in a message. “So our Thanksgiving dinner is going to look very different this year.”

Gold said she will FaceTime her family from her bedroom in the meantime. 

“Even though the holiday will look very different this year I am thankful for the technology available to my family to be able to create some sense of togetherness during the time of this pandemic,” Gold said in a message.

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kj153517@ohio.edu