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Making the Most of Thanksgiving in 2020

Thanksgiving. A holiday famous for not only food but large indoor gatherings of people. 2020 is not cooperating with the latter, but don’t let that make you think that Thanksgiving is cancelled. A smaller Thanksgiving at home is very much still on the table, and a host of outdoor activities can still be enjoyed safely.

With a little planning in advance, a Zoom-friendly Thanksgiving could be a rockin’ good time. Share recipes and cook some parts of the meal together, make cider together, or bake dessert together. Go around the Zoom “room” and have everyone share what they’re thankful for. If you’re looking to really kick back, a virtual mixology session could be in order. Check out this list of seasonal cocktails and the whole group can make them in their respective homes. Or to get everyone really engaged, try some interactive online games including Uno, Jackbox games, or Among Us, a trendy online variant of Mafia or Werewolf.

If your family preferred to eschew the hours of cooking for a big night out, you’re actually still in luck this year. Choose Chicago has compiled a majestic list of takeout Thanksgiving dinners from restaurants across Chicago. Many of these feasts are already portioned for two, four, or six people, meaning you’ll be still putting big plates on the table to be shared family style. Plenty of options to be found both turkey-centric and sans-turkey, or something in between: Girl & The Goat’s $249 six-person “Everything But The Turkey Box”. Go for Virtue’s $189 Southern-inspired feast for six, Majani’s vegan soul food platters, or some mediterranean flair with Cira’s $38 per person meal including lentil soup, smoked turkey shawarma, and a pumpkin spice bavarian pie. The list of meals also includes a handful of excellent takeout options for pie.

As for the rest of the weekend, if you’re looking for an excuse to get out of the house, there are few better than ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Capacity is limited, but regular fun including a light maze, enchanted forest, holiday snacks, gift shopping, big displays, beer, spiced wine, and of course, bright lights everywhere, are still on. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5. Zoolights will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but open the following Friday through Sunday.

If you can’t get enough of the lights, definitely check out the Morton Arboretum’s new 30-40 minute Illumination: Tree Lights drive-thru light show. The synchronized music and lights will have you feeling all kinds of holiday joy. The show costs $39-49 per vehicle and is open every day excluding Monday, but including Thanksgiving Day. Just be sure to snag your tickets before it sells out! 

One outdoor activity that will be open on Thanksgiving Day is ice skating at Maggie Daley Park, in addition to the rest of the weekend. While you’re in the area, check out the city’s official Christmas Tree in Millenium Park. Just a few blocks over from there is the Merchandise Mart, where the Art on the Mart light projection show plays daily at 7:00 and 7:30 pm.

Unfortunately, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on State Street has been cancelled. However, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will still be on TV, without live spectators.

This Thanksgiving looks a little different, but there’s still plenty of festive holiday fun to help make the year just as special. 

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