Traveling is full of dangers this Thanksgiving. The same goes for being inside with too many loved ones or vulnerable.
And the accounts of racial inequality this year have sparked reflection on the myth of the First Thanksgiving.
In light of all this, we asked how you are adapting your traditions this week.
Our colleagues have gathered responses from across the country. Some said they turned their plans upside down and crouched down on their own, while other Americans said they were moving forward, ignoring the warnings.
[Read the full story.]
In California, many said they are taking advantage of the opportunity to celebrate outdoors and planning for California-only parties. Here are some of the plans shared by readers. (We’ve edited and condensed slightly for length.)
Kristina Woo, from Los Angeles, said she would take advantage of a smaller meal and time to reflect on the meaning of the vacation.
My Thanksgiving plans this year have seen many iterations, many starts and stops. Right now I plan to eat out socially distantly with two friends (a married couple), but with things getting worse in California, even that is in the air. Whatever happens, however, I plan to cook a special meal just for myself on Thanksgiving weekend. While Thanksgiving is usually a revolving door of friends coming in and out with food and drink, making a thoughtful little meal is a great way to indulge myself after a very long and painful year.
While I have a lot to be thankful for and the practice of getting together with loved ones over a meal is something I hold in high regard, there are many events in 2020 that have prompted me to consider my approach to these. vacation. So I created a podcast, “American Ritual: Thanksgiving,” with three other friends to try and unravel the holidays and give them new meaning in the future.
For Chris Parman of Concord, this year will involve a mountain tradition spanning decades, but shrunk – and masked.
Every Thanksgiving year, we cut our Christmas tree down at a tree plantation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We looked forward to continuing that tradition this year until the CZU fire devastated most of their land and property. Fortunately, they reported that about 20% of the property was undamaged and that we are able to safely return for an outdoor tradition while supporting a family business. In a normal year, we head to the mountains in the morning, then share lunch, snacks, and drinks, before setting off in search of the perfect tree. Next, we head to the home of the family matriarch, my paternal grandmother, for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It would be a group of 15 of us.
This year, with people staying at home and not traveling across the state, it will only be five people from three households, all coming and going separately. We’ll probably get together for a little hello from a distance, then go our separate ways to pick a tree and head home for some big dinners. It has been a tradition in my family since 1964 and it feels good to be able to maintain a tradition in a year of significant change.
Kate Nelson of Redwood City is planning a very Californian day.
It will only be my immediate family: my husband and two 9 year old children. We usually start our Thanksgiving by performing the Gobble Wobble, a local turkey trot, followed by a pancake breakfast and a turkey dinner in the evening with several other families in our community. In the absence of organized races this year, we will try to go out and take a family bike ride. My daughter is a pescatarian and my husband and son aren’t big turkey fans so I can’t justify buying a turkey this year. Therefore, we have a real Thanksgiving in San Francisco and have Dungeness Crab, and then we go surfing on Saturday. We will be totally removed from others and it will always be a fun way to celebrate our family.
For Briana James of Oakland and her family, two separate parties will take place this year. And they won’t be any less festive.
My sister will join my husband, daughter and I for an outdoor feast with okra and fried turkey as centerpieces. We ordered macaroni and cheese, greens, dressing and a pie of our favorite local specialties (shout out Chef LaLa and PieTisserie). Aunt made my 1 year old a little tuxedo (with tails), and I ordered all the high end hats from us. Oh! And the decor will be tropical-themed, because this Thanksgiving deserves a cocktail umbrella – or seven. Thanksgiving is the vacation with my parents. We haven’t visited since February, even though we’re only 80 miles apart. My mom is still cooking her usual turkey spread, honey ham, macaroni and cheese, vinaigrette and gravy, and her famous Blueberry Jell-O for two people. I will miss my parents, but I’m grateful that I don’t get imposed on me Jell-O.
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Where are do people stay home for Thanksgiving? Here is a map. [The New York Times]
Los Angeles County outdoor dining closures survived the challenges on Tuesday as Covid cases continued to soar. [The Los Angeles Times]
San Francisco remained in the state’s red reopening level, the second most restrictive, although much of the Bay Area is restricted. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Learn more about the level system. [The New York Times]
California has been swindled of hundreds of millions of dollars after a wave of fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims were filed under the names of inmates, including dozens in the death row, law enforcement officials said. [The New York Times]
Track California Covid cases and hospitalizations across the state. [The New York Times]
Wild turkeys thrive across much of California – dividing birds moved to cities and suburbs when water was scarce. Now, as the climate warms, their habitat may change. [CapRadio]
We will be off tomorrow and Friday for the holidays.
But first, we wanted to say how truly grateful we are to you, our California Today readers. Thank you for opening this newsletter every day with such curiosity and generosity.
In a year that has been difficult and exhausting for all of us in different ways, your news has kept us going.
We wish you and your loved ones a safe and restful weekend, whatever its appearance.
See you Monday.
California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.