7 People on the Cooking Traditions They’ll Keep for the 2020 Holidays — And the Ones They’ll Quit

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For anyone who counts cooking, baking, and/or entertaining among their favorite hobbies, the holiday season typically feels like their Super Bowl, a chance to try out new recipes and bring joy to loved ones through their culinary expertise.

Of course, due to COVID-19 this Thanksgiving and the December holidays won’t look the same as they have in the past. Not sure how to tweak your holiday meal plans but maintain that comfort-and-joy feeling? Here’s how seven home cooks, some of whom share their love of cooking on popular food-focused blogs and Instagram accounts, plan to alter their usual holiday plans in the kitchen this year.

Rethinking Turkey

“Since it will just be me and my husband this year [for Thanksgiving], I’m not skipping turkey, but I am doing a slow cooker turkey breast with vegetables. It’s really easy to make and prep. I’m also planning to mail cookies to friends instead of sharing them at an in-person cookie swap, and I’m going to make even more and deliver them to our doctors’ offices, our veterinarian, and even our favorite grocery stores to thank them for their hard work this year.” –Julie Tran Deily of The Little Kitchen, Central Florida

Seriously Downsizing

“By Halloween every year, I have typically already made plans for Thanksgiving, including where I’m going and what I’m bringing. (I live in a tiny one-bedroom for now, so my dream of hosting will have to wait.) This year, I’m leaning toward relaxing at home and making a micro-Thanksgiving for me and my boyfriend — a small version of the traditional dinner.” –Sharon Farnell of Jawns I Cooked, Philadelphia

Skipping the Boring Stuff

“This will only be the second time I’ve cooked my own Thanksgiving dinner, just for myself and my boyfriend, so I’m looking forward to preparing a pared-down meal with all of the classics. Pepperidge Farm stuffing was a tradition in my house growing up, so that will definitely be on the table, along with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie all made from scratch. And since I’m doing all the cooking, it’s only going to be the food I really want — no boring salads or green bean casserole for me.” –Samantha McKenna, Chicago 

Keeping Things Simple

“Our yearly family gatherings are up in the air. I suggested doing a Zoom holiday dinner call; that way the family can still see each other without actually being present. Nothing extraordinary this year, mostly sticking to the basics, but we’re definitely still going to do everything from scratch — some things you just can’t change.” –Damien Silver (@dameeatsthis), Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Recreating the Restaurant Experience

“I have started cooking a lot more due to COVID-19, as I have avoided going to restaurants and opted for takeout. Due to this, I have been trying to recreate some of my restaurant favorites at home. It’s been nice to share these meals with my immediate family members at home.” –Rachel Citrus (@thedonutwearsprada), Atlanta 

Mixing It Up

“With the extra time at home, I will be trying to make more recipes homemade, like spiked ciders or some form of a holiday drink to avoid crowded bars. And I will be sending tons of cookies to loved ones who are celebrating without me.” –Nina Anater of Naturally Neen, Pittsburgh 

And Boxing It Up

“I love to bake during the holidays, so I’m going to make treat boxes with homemade Oreo truffles to drop off to family and friends.” –Jasmine Comer of Lively Meals, Greensboro, N.C.

The Home for the Holidays vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn editorial teams and generously underwritten by Cointreau.