Is it possible, in 2020, to carry on the age-old U.S. tradition of gathering with family and friends during the holidays? As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in record numbers across the U.S. and abroad, health experts like Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease expert, fear that since “[w]e know that the vast majority of transmission is going to be in close-contact, indoor settings with no masks and poor ventilation … Thanksgiving is a perfect setup for transmitting and amplifying this virus.”(1)

This grave reality leaves many to wonder whether there are any safe ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and numerous other upcoming holidays with family and friends in 2020. Although nothing is fail-safe, for those longing for a sense of normalcy but who recognize the importance of implementing changes to try to help keep you, your family, friends, and colleagues safe during the 2020 holiday season, below are a few precautions that you can take to enjoy a safer holiday if you’re gathering with people who live outside of your home:

Use videoconferencing. Share a holiday meal with just your immediate family who live with you and then use videoconferencing—like Zoom—to connect your meal and Thanksgiving to your extended family and friends.
Create a social bubble; quarantine and get tested. Before gathering in-person with people who live outside of your home, ask everyone to enter a social bubble by quarantining 12-14 days before the gathering. If someone gets sick during the quarantine, that sick person and those who live with him or her should get tested for COVID-19 and should not attend the in-person gathering.
Gather outdoors. If weather permits, eat outside. If it is going to be chilly outside, then it will be a great time to use your outdoor fireplace, firepits, and pull out outdoor patio heaters to warm up your outdoor gathering space.
Implement COVID-19 safety precautions. If gathering indoors with family and friends, do so to talk only, limit the number of in-person attendees and the length of your gathering time, and, for the duration of the gathering, everyone should wear masks/face coverings, practice social distancing, and open a window to help circulate the air. Eat outdoors while at the gathering or take a plate to-go and eat it when you return home.

Alia Adkins-Derrick is the managing partner in and a certified mediator at Derrick Law, a boutique law firm she founded in Dallas and Houston. Known for her fierce written and oral advocacy, she not only serves a diverse client-base of businesses and individual executives and professionals across various industries and in her role as an adjunct law school professor she also helps the next generation of lawyers hone their advocacy skills. In her law practice, Adkins-Derrick helps clients protect their interests and their bottom lines by providing smart legal defense, solutions, and representation clients need to tackle complex employment, business, contract, and civil litigation issues. For more information about visit or call 214-330-2881 (Dallas) or 713-828-1287 (Houston).

(1) Brenda Goodman, MA, We Asked Five Experts for COVID Thanksgiving Advice, WebMD (Oct. 28, 2020),