Many families are celebrating Thanksgiving in safe and new ways

“There’s so many things to be grateful for and we’re going to be grateful we’re going to be alive next year,” April Sunset, who Zoomed family on Thanksgiving, said.

PORTLAND, Ore — A lot of families are taking precautions, making this Thanksgiving, if nothing else, memorable.

“Traditions are really important, whether you’re in person or not,” Barb Kozisek said.

“This is the best way we can do our normal and still be safe and I’m really happy about it, actually. This is what memories are made of!” Leslie Shields said.

With many foregoing the family get-together to help slow the rapid spread of the coronavirus, this Thanksgiving looks and feels unusual.

“My kids live all over the country, so we won’t be traveling because we want to stay home and stay safe,” Kozisek added. “We’ll get on Skype and probably go around and just say what we’re all thankful for. There’s so much to be thankful for, especially now.”

“We’re both in the high-risk category so we don’t really have a choice,” April Sunset said about her and her father, Frank.

Some people chose to work, like Lane Jensen. He drove and delivered for DoorDash and Instacart, helping make other families’ day memorable.

“We’re going to try to help other families who end up burning the turkey or whatnot today,” Jensen said.

Families are finding ways to be together while staying physically apart like eating and drinking together on Zoom or Skype. Many will still enjoy a home-cooked meal.

Shields cooked for her family and her sons; one of the boys came by to pick up the food and delivered it to all their family members’ houses so they could all eat her Thanksgiving dishes.

“That’s Thanksgiving right there,” her son Keenan Vaughn said, “I got green bean casserole on the way, it’s going to be a good day!”

It’s not easy to spend the holidays away from loved ones. But for many, deciding to keep them safe is a no-brainer.

“When it’s your family that’s at risk, anything becomes really easy to do in order to keep them from suffering,” Vaughn’s fiancée, Jordan Franks, said.

“This is what we have to do, right? It’s one year that sucks so next year we’ll be alive to do it the right way,” Sunset said.

“That’s what we’re shootin’ for anyway!” her dad Frank Sunset added.

The Sunsets dropped off a warm meal for April Sunset’s uncle on Thanksgiving morning, one of many members of their huge family that lives locally.

It’s especially hard not being around family this year, since they lost mom in March. But they’ll honor her memory by cooking her recipes. They plan to Zoom their extended family as well.

While this Thanksgiving looks and feels unusual, the meaning remains the same.

“There are so many things to be grateful for and we’re going to be grateful we’re going to be alive next year,” April Sunset said.