How to Tell Family You Won't Be Coming to Thanksgiving

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Like a countless number of things in 2020, Thanksgiving is destined to be unlike anything Americans have experienced before.

“We are changing it up, that we aren’t going to travel anywhere, we are just going to see our immediate family,” said Dallas resident Natalie Dorsey, who has decided to stay home with immediate family.

With cases of COVID-19 spiking across the nation, health experts are urging Americans to forgo the large family gatherings that have become part of the Thanksgiving tradition. But for many families, broaching the subject of not coming home for Thanksgiving presents its own challenges.

“People get guilted into things they don’t want to do and this happens with anything in life and the first you have to do is realize that self-care is not selfish,” said executive and personal coach L. Michelle Smith.

Smith recommends people who may be struggling to get family to understand their decision not to come to Thanksgiving should begin by explaining why.

“If you share with them why it is important, then by the time you tell them you can’t it is a softer blow,” said Smith.

As for Dorsey, she admits it will be a Thanksgiving unlike those in years past but believes the possible repercussions of gathering during a pandemic are simply not worth the risk.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas are super big and important family holidays and I miss them, I miss them deeply,” said Dorsey.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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