November 19, 2020

Happy COVID Thanksgiving

With the CDC guidelines in place, Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year. My celebration will only consist of our nuclear family. No trips and no visitors inside. Instead of roasting a big bird and attempting to perfect the timing of the side dishes, we plan to order the whole meal from a local, independent market.

I asked a few of my colleagues what their Thanksgiving Day plans were going to look like, and the majority shared that they would be limiting their gatherings, eating outdoors (if possible!) and avoiding travel. The outlook is overall positive. A few commented about what they won’t miss, like the airport and inflated ticket prices. Others are glad to avoid the topic of politics with distant relatives. Am I right?

Many companies have risen to the non-celebration occasion to meet consumers where they are, during these difficult times. Below are a few ways companies have adapted to Thanksgiving in the time of COVID.

  1. If you are making a bird, Whole Foods has teamed up with Progressive Insurance to offer up a Thanksgiving Protection Plan as insurance for any approved “turkey fails.” The retailer will provide a $35 gift card in exchange for evidence of a disaster you may encounter from a Whole Foods turkey.
  2. Walmart has partnered with the cashback shopping app, Ibotta, for a free Thanksgiving dinner promotion. Ibotta will offer users 100% cashback on nine Thanksgiving dinner staples offered at the retail giant. This is a winning promotion for the app, Walmart and of course, the millions of Americans that have lost income this year. According to a recent survey from Ibotta, more than one-third of Americans say they will spend less on Thanksgiving this year.
  3. Do you still want to get the whole gang together while you prep and eat all day? Zoom recently announced it will lift its 40-minute limit on video calls through its free service just for Thanksgiving! Zoom has been a major part of our lives since the pandemic hit, including hosting classrooms and weddings.
  4. Black Friday is more than just one day. Black Friday will no longer conjure up images of people waking up at the crack of dawn for wrestling matches over a flat screen TV. Several retailers, including Home Depot, are offering Black Friday deals over several weeks and months. And, many retailers are also staying closed during actual Thanksgiving Day to give their employees much needed time with their families (hopefully safely!).

No matter what you do on Thanksgiving, be safe and find joy and gratitude in what you have. I have hope that we come out of this soon with a turkey load of lessons learned for the future. Now, what’s in store for New Year’s Eve?

Joanne Tehrani, MPH, RD is Director of Nutrition Communication at Padilla and sits in the New York office.

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