Fran Keller, 52, an entomologist in Davis, California, will also be tested. She throws the first Thanksgiving Day she can remember – she usually goes to see her eldest sister, also in Davis, but this year the crowd has felt too big to console themselves with several family members at high risk. At Ms. Keller's dinner, her son (who lives with her), daughter and daughter's family will be, although they will be seated at separate tables because her daughter has asthma. (Frau Keller jokingly calls the second table "The Covid table" instead of the children's table.)
"I'll hug my daughter, but only if it's okay with her," said Ms. Keller.
For many, instead of a celebration with relatives, this year is spent with a select family, be it with a capsule or with friends – and sometimes with both. Podsgiving (or friendsgiving) still keeps the spirit of the vacation with favorite dishes and the feeling of belonging.
Instead of going home to Templeton, Iowa (pop. 300), Chezney Schulz, 28, a hair color who lives in Manhattan's East Village, will be giving a podsgiving on the roof of her apartment for a dozen friends with whom she will be during the Pandemic was together. (Three of them are her roommates.)
The plan is to buy a cooked turkey ("my oven is too small to fit in a turkey," she said) and make stuffing and traditional holiday salads for her. These include an oreo salad with crushed biscuits, cool whip and instant vanilla pudding, as well as an apple Snickers salad (apples, Snickers bars, cool whip, caramel, vanilla pudding). There will be space heating and decorations – maybe a cornucopia – from one of her clever roommates.
Ms. Schulz, who describes herself as a "silver lining", said she was happy with her vacation schedule.
"I have the feeling that our group of friends has become very close because of Covid and that I am really surrounded by people who are really important to me," she said.
Matt Jennings, 44, of Charlotte, Vt., Also hosts his pod instead of the usual 25 family members. Thanksgiving is the "main holiday" in Mr. Jennings' family ("We're not big gift givers," he said), but everyone is in the Boston area in red zones.