Ideally by now many people have social bubbles so they’re not entirely alone. Expanding this bubble for a single day is logistically difficult. Theoretically everyone in a family could isolate for two weeks prior and get tested multiple times over that period, and the risk of a gathering would be low. There may be certain circumstances where families try this, for example because a loved one is terminally ill, and this occasion carries particular significance. But the gathering can never be zero risk. Quarantining for two weeks after would be key as well. In all, this would mean a month of meticulous isolation in order to have a probably-safe indoor meal.

That’s a lot to ask. Many people are unlikely to be willing and able to go to those lengths. This doesn’t mean the day needs to be joyless. It’s just that we need to be creative this year about how to find that joy. Celebrating Thanksgiving by entering someone’s home and spreading a lethal infectious disease is a little too darkly ironic anyway.

Take the opportunity to think about what you love most about the day. Focus on how to re-create that, and even build on it. Maybe learn to cook one of the dishes that someone else usually brings to dinner. Think of the people you actually look forward to seeing, and call them. Think of the people you don’t look forward to seeing, and don’t call them. Appreciate that you can’t get cornered by some annoying second cousin; you save money on travel; you don’t have to pretend to care about football.