Rapid Tests, Open Windows and No Flying: How 5 Pediatrician Moms Are Doing Thanksgiving This Year

pediatricians and moms on thanksgiving plans

With kids ages 5 and up now eligible for the vaccine, this holiday season is looking significantly brighter than last year. But, as experts keep reminding us, we are still in a pandemic. Breakthrough cases can occur (although they are thankfully much less severe than for those who are unvaccinated) and children younger than 5 are not yet able to get vaccinated. In other words, while parents should feel much more comfortable celebrating the holidays this year compared to last, they will likely still want to take some precautions. But which ones? Here’s what five pediatrician moms are doing this Thanksgiving.

The doctor: Michelle Klein, MD at Uptown Pediatrics in NYC and mom to a 4-year-old son and twin 2-year-old girls.
Thanksgiving precautions: COVID testing, no flying
Thanksgiving plans: “This Thanksgiving, I am heading to my husband’s family which is only a drive away. We will be celebrating indoors with family, all of whom are vaccinated except for my children and two other kids who are under the age of 5. We will do COVID testing prior to seeing everyone and be very careful beforehand.”

The doctor: Dr. Beth Oller, MD, a family physician in Stockton, Kansas and mom to four kids ages 2, 5 and 9.
Thanksgiving precautions: small gathering, all adults vaccinated and boostered, eligible children vaccinated, windows open
Thanksgiving plans: “Thanksgiving will be a small affair at our house in Kansas this year, as it was last year. We will be inviting the grandparents that live in our town as well as the great grandmas. All adults are vaccinated and boostered, so we will not be requiring rapid tests before coming. Winter in Kansas can be pretty cold, but we leave the windows open and the door to the covered porch open when we can to ensure air circulation. The thing I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving is that our three oldest children, Lyla who is 9 and Maya and Merrick who are both 5, will be able to be vaccinated. With COVID-19 vaccines being authorized for children ages 5 to 11 so close to Thanksgiving, my eligible kids will only be able to have had their first dose by Thanksgiving, but we have been eagerly anticipating getting this done. Our 2-year-old, Noble, will soon be the only family member not vaccinated, but I have hope that soon he also will be able to be, and until then, we will be able to surround him with protection. For now, the more people vaccinated in my family makes me feel like this holiday will be safer and more enjoyable for us all.”  

The doctor: Navya Mysore, MD at One Medical in NYC and mom to a 2-year-old son.
Thanksgiving precautions: small gathering
Thanksgiving plans: “We are actually having a relatively quiet Thanksgiving this year—not necessarily only because of COVID but because life has been so busy, we decided to use the Thanksgiving break as a time to rest and spend some quality time with some friends and family. My advice is to make sure that everyone is one the same page before your celebrations and family gatherings take place. It will make it so that the evening is smoother, preventing any surprises including potentially challenging conversations with family.”

The doctor: Dr. Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, MD, family physician and Regional Medical Director of Aledade Inc in Nashua, New Hampshire, and mom to a 13-year-old son and two daughters ages 11 and 6.
Thanksgiving precautions: small gathering, no grandparents, all adults and children vaccinated, isolating two weeks prior
Thanksgiving plans: “For Thanksgiving this year, my family is doing a small get together at my sister’s house. Since most of my family works in highly public facing jobs, we decided to not include our grandparents for this holiday to ensure they’re protected from any potential COVID-19 exposure. Although we are all fully vaccinated, my family is committing to isolating and wearing masks inside when around those outside of our household for two weeks prior to gathering for the holiday. By taking these precautions, we aren’t planning on doing any COVID-19 testing since we’ve kept tight measures and gone extra lengths to ensure we’ve avoided high risk of exposure to the virus. However, my niece who plays sports in college will be getting tested to ensure she’s virus free before joining us. I have three children, a son who is 13 and was vaccinated as soon as he was eligible, and two daughters ages 11 and 6. As soon as my daughters’ age group was authorized to get the COVID vaccine, we created appointments for them! The For Health COVID-19 risk calculator on the CDC’s website, where you can view your county’s transmission risk, are good ways to help you and your family determine measures you should take to have a safe holiday.

The doctor: Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP at Pediatric Associates of the Northwest in Portland, Oregon and author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself. Dr. Casares is a mom to two kids ages 5 and 8. 
Thanksgiving precautions: small gathering with COVID bubble, all adults vaccinated
Thanksgiving plans: “This Thanksgiving, we’re still keeping the celebration safe and small. My kids likely will have only received their first COVID-19 vaccine by then, so I’ll be taking extra precautions to protect them, including spending the holiday with just our local, vaccinated family members (their grandparents). Since grandma and grandpa are part of our normal bubble, and often act as caregivers for our girls during the week, we’ll eat unmasked and indoors as a little group of six.”

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...