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Thanksgiving 2020: Sharing without gathering

We may not be able to gather for Thanksgiving in person, but there are many ways to celebrate with loved ones. Photo: supplied.

October is Thanksgiving month in Canada. Unlike our American friends who celebrate their safe arrival to the new world, for us, it’s an homage to the harvest--a time to give thanks for the abundance of fruits and vegetables and livestock we are so fortunate to grow here. It’s a colourful, magical time to enjoy the changing leaves and distinct autumnal smells in the air while walking the trails of our magnificent Edmonton River Valley too.

Traditional gatherings will be very different this year, with COVID-19 still among us. While it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and have our family and friends gather, for the long-term safety of all, we must be vigilant and avoid transmission of the virus.

Thinking creatively is the new normal for 2020. So why not try something different this year? Here are some suggestions to spur on your imagination:

1. If you still want to cook a big turkey and all the trimmings to put you in the festive mood, go for it!

Once it’s prepared, portion out turkey “TV dinners” for those family members that can’t be physically at your table this year. Use pretty containers and add pumpkin pie or butter tarts, plus seasonal coloured napkins. Don't forget a nice bottle of Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais (reds) or Viognier, or Pinot Gris (whites)--all wines to compliment the various flavours in all your side dishes. Voila! Thanksgiving dinner on the go!

If they’re really special people, a bottle of Prosecco bubbles adds a festive flair too. Include a card with an invitation for them to join you for a Zoom or Face Time Thanksgiving celebration. At the appointed time, gather together--but safely apart--to enjoy the bounty you've prepared for all to enjoy.

2. Order a gift basket to suit the receiver. Include cheese, charcuterie, crackers, preserves, favourite wines or whiskies and colourful napkins. This is a beautiful gift for friends and family who can’t be with you this year. Gift baskets are always appreciated, and have been very popular this year. Expect a surge in customizable gift basket sales through Thanksgiving and Christmas, as families continue to be distanced because of the pandemic.

3. Does someone have a pumpkin fetish? Perhaps offer a Thanksgiving basket with a small pumpkin pie, spice cookies, Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice Liqueur, spiced rum or whisky, or even pumpkin spiced beer! All are sure to please.

Another dessert basket idea might be an apple pie with Sortilege Maple Syrup Liqueur, tawny port or ice wine to enjoy. Let your imagination run free!Thanksgiving will be different this year. How ever you choose to celebrate, remember the most important ingredients are love and gratitude. Share your abundance with others and feel the joy it will bring! Stay safe.

Alison Phillips is co owner of Aligra Wine & Spirits at West Edmonton Mall.