A few tidbits about Thanksgiving, plus a guide on celebrating Thanksgiving in 2020, especially if you’re in Chicago.
Thanksgiving in 2020 may turn out to be the most memorable Thanksgiving of our lives. Because, as I was telling someone the other day…
I think we all need to be a little bit thankful this year. Because we are still here.
Even he didn't make it.
On the other hand, as I’m sure you know,..
...thanks to our new friend (gif courtesy giphy)...
...Thanksgiving in 2020 won’t be like any Thanksgiving you remember.
For one, there’s going to be no Thanksgiving Parade.
Thanksgiving dinner may also be a smaller and more subdued event than usual.
Regardless, like I said, we should be thankful just for being around.
To help mark the occasion, Fox in a Box would like to tell you a lot of ‘five things about Thanksgiving’ that you should know.
Five historical facts about Thanksgiving you should know
How many of these do you know?
The very first Thanksgiving went on for three days
The very first Thanksgiving. Image courtesy lowcountrysource.com.
The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the Pilgrims’ first ever corn harvest. They invited their allies - members of the Wampanoag tribe - to join in the festivities.
The tribe members had also brought their own food to share.
There was enough food to last three whole days - and the festivities went on for as long.
There have been different kinds of demands to celebrate Thanksgiving
In 1789, George Washington called for a national holiday to be thankful over the United States gaining independence.
During the Civil War, both the Union and the Confederacy announced days of Thanksgiving to celebrate battlefield victories.
The ‘Mother of Thanksgiving’
Are you thankful for Thanksgiving being a national holiday?
If you are, you should thank a lady called Sarah Josepha Hale, a poet and an activist in the 1800’s.
Sarah Josepha Hale. Image courtesy recollections.biz.
It was she who lobbied then President Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.
Football on Thanksgiving
The tradition of football on Thanksgiving became institutionalized when Princeton began a tradition of facing off against Yale every year on Thanksgiving, from 1876.
In 1882, the Intercollegiate Football Association decided to hold a Thanksgiving football game every year between the two top teams of the year.
Cooking the turkey
Do you have any questions about cooking the turkey?
Is my turkey done?
What sauce would be best?
Help! My turkey’s on fire!
The Butterball Turkey Helpline receives over a hundred thousand calls like that every year!
Five traditional Thanksgiving foods
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
These are 5 food items that are widely considered standard Thanksgiving fare:
Mashed potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce.
Which of them do you like the most?
Five facts about the Thanksgiving turkey you should know
Would you pardon this bird?
The very first Thanksgiving feast between Pilgrims and Indians did not have turkey on the menu.
The tradition of the President receiving a turkey on Thanksgiving began in 1873 when Horace (or Henry) Vose, a turkey farmer from the Ocean State, presented then President Ulysses Grant with a turkey.
In 1926, President Coolidge received a raccoon instead of a turkey, with a note assuring him that the animal was ‘toothsome’. The First Family decided to ‘pardon’ the raccoon.
George HW Bush pardons a turkey.
Image courtesy whitehousehistory.org.
The ‘turkey pardon’ was a voluntary choice till 1989, when President Bush Sr. decided to make it permanent practice.
Turkeys have an amino acid called Tryptophan in their bodies which helps us calm down. That’s why you feel relaxed and sleepy after your Thanksgiving feast.
Five ways to celebrate Thanksgiving 2020 in Chicago
As you may be aware, Chicago will most probably be under Tier III COVID-19 Mitigations on Thanksgiving Day 2020.
And as a responsible Chicago business owner, and as a proud Illinoisan, I would urge you to follow the mitigation plan, so we can have a reasonably open and happy Christmas.
We can still celebrate Thanksgiving 2020 in Chicago...we’ll just have to adapt to the new restrictions.
Scale down your party
Keep it small this year!
It’s best to avoid large gatherings this year - for everybody’s sake.
If you’re part of a large family, you could divide yourselves into small groups. Each group gets together at someone’s house, and then all the groups get together on a video call.
Watch out for your neighbors
I think he'd like a visit, wouldn't you?
If there’s a neighbor who lives alone, or is an elderly couple, check in on them.
Even a few kind words can do a world of good.
Maintain COVID precautions like mask wearing and physical distancing while you do so.
Support a food bank
Every little bit helps.
The pandemic has become a perfect storm for our food system, pushing potentially millions of people towards charitable pantries and food banks.
So much so that food banks themselves - normally some of America’s most resilient institutions - are buckling under the strain.
If there ever was a time to be thankful for what you have and share it with others, it is now.
Whether it is by donating your time, your money, or your skills...supporting a food bank is one of the best ways to be thankful this year.
Digital escape games from Chicago’s #1 escape room
A post-game photo here at Fox in a Box.
We would have LOVED to host you here at the best escape room in the United States on Thanksgiving, culminating in post-game photos like the one above.
But that’s out of the question this year, due to Tier-III restrictions imposed by the state government.
You can try out our digital escape games:
A perfect day to save the world - An online click-and-point adventure game.
Mr. Fox’s Detective Academy - Think of this as an escape game you can create right at home. We’ll send you all the instructions you need to set it up, as well as print files for the clues and puzzles in the game.
We are working on turning The Bunker into a Live Avatar virtual escape game that you can play over Zoom.
If that sounds like a great way to escape the daily misery of COVIDBad news, stay tuned!
A few more ways to have a COVIDSafer Thanksgiving in Chicago
If there are children at home, craft Thanksgiving pumpkins with them.
Five ways to tell loved ones “Sorry, we can’t make it this year”
Sorry really IS the hardest word.
Like I said, Thanksgiving celebrations and get-togethers will have to be scaled down this year.
So, how do you handle that (or those) disappointed and irate relatives who simply can’t accept the gravity of the situation?
Here are 5 ways to break the news gently, based on this CNN report:
Make it clear that it’s your decision. Don’t blame the government. You realize the medical emergency, and you’re acting accordingly.
Use the words ‘risk’ and ‘risky’ in your explanation. You don’t want to place your relatives at risk.
Feature the likely consequence of attending: “I don’t want to turn our family occasion into a super spreader event”.
Remember that you are doing the right thing. Don’t feel guilty.
Send over a packaged meal, and have a simultaneous feast on videocall.
And, be prepared for the fact that you might just have that “special someone” for a relative who completely refuses to see reason, and breaks off all contact with you.
We're thankful just for being around!
And that brings us to the end of the Fox in a Box guide to celebrating Thanksgiving 2020 in Chicago.
Have a happy and COVIDSafe Thanksgiving!