Thanksgivings in Quarantine

During dinner last week, my 7 year old asked if we would be going to grandma and grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving this year. “No baby, not this year.” It’s the phrase I utter like a broken record. Ugh . . .

Growing up I had both traditional and non-traditional Thanksgivings experiences. A meal with all the trimmings. Playing football with my cousins in the backyard. Some years adding a few non-traditional twists, which included a trip to the bowling alley or movie theater. Sometimes heading out late into the evening for a little Black Friday shopping. But they all had one thing in common — family. Whatever we did, we did it together. It didn’t matter whether we had a huge Thanksgiving meal or ordered pizza. What mattered was having everyone in the same room.

Unfortunately, having everyone together just isn’t an option this year. So after we put the girls to bed, I hopped on Pinterest in hopes of finding creative ways to make Thanksgiving feel like Thanksgiving, even in quarantine. Alas, the only posts I found were how to have a socially distant outdoor meal with family. And since we live in the Midwest, that’s not a suitable option. So I decided to see if I could fill in the gaps and make it feel more like Thanksgiving, even without a full house.

Here are my tips for creating a fun and safe Thanksgiving during the pandemic:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

First on my list, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A quick google search revealed that due to the pandemic, Macy’s is shifting to a televised only presentation. I am thrilled! Although it will look very different this year, it’s one tradition my family can adhere too.

Turkey Cookie Cutter

Metal cookie cutters are the perfect breakfast tool. Nothing says Thanksgiving morning like Turkey shaped pancakes! I typically leave the pancake batter in the cookie cutter for 5-7 minutes, depending on the temperature. Once the pancake has bubbled some and appears to have taken a solid shape, I promptly remove the cookie cutter and flip the pancake.

Kids Thanksgiving Tablecloth

I found these adorable tablecloths while perusing Amazon. My girls love to color. So it’s a great way to make our time around the dinner table more fun!


When it comes to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, I am not a stickler for tradition. And since we are spending the holiday at home, as a family of five, I think we should get creative. My husband and I are getting our girls involved in the dinner selection. Should we order pizza? Make tacos, chicken lips, or a Mississippi Mud Roast? Who knows!? Just being a part of the process is getting them excited for Thanksgiving.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Unfortunately the beloved holiday special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, will not be airing on any broadcasting television networks this year. Instead, Apple TV+ will air the special for free November 25-27.


My simple go-to are free printable coloring sheets. But since we plan to spend the day relaxing at home, turkey crafts are the way to go! Now, more than ever, it’s important to show gratitude, so we are planning to incorporate this activity into our day.

 Board Games

Yahtzee and checkers were a Thanksgiving stable when I was a kid. So naturally, I have a closet filled with board games that we play often and Thanksgiving will be no different!


Our family really loves books! We rely on them heavily to make the holiday’s extra special. If you forget to check out a few from your local library, the YouTube channel, Storytime Anytime is filled with great read aloud books for kids. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving books:

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing

The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schulz

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson

2020 is one for the books, that’s for sure! And Thanksgiving may look different this year, but there is always a way to celebrate! How do you plan to celebrate this year?




Nikki Wildemuth
Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!


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