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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving During COVID-19


Many families are trying to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving, given the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the past often involved a lot of family togetherness and close contact that might risk the spread of the coronavirus this year.

Luckily, the CDC has issued guidance for alternative Thanksgiving ideas that can help you to be careful while still enjoying a day of food, fun, and gratitude. Whether you choose to have an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner or are trying to decide how to celebrate Thanksgiving alone, here are some ways to make your celebrations COVID-friendly.

What are the CDC’s guidelines on Thanksgiving celebrations?

The CDC is clear that gathering with anyone outside your immediate household does pose an elevated risk of spreading the virus. However, there are ways to minimize the risk by doing all or most of the following:

  • Spending time outside rather than in enclosed spaces.
  • Staying six or more feet apart.
  • Wearing a cloth face mask to limit breath droplet spread.
  • Clean hands frequently and clean surfaces more often than usual.
  • Stay home from all events if you are feeling sick or know you’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year will involve taking all of these pieces of advice seriously and changing parties and meet-ups in response.

One notable point is that serving food made by someone else hasn’t been shown to be the main spreader of COVID-19, so as long as cooks take the normal precautions to keep their food hygienic, bringing and sharing dishes isn’t considered a major risk.

10 ways to have a safe Thanksgiving during COVID-19

1. Make a small guest list.

The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving and minimize the spread of COVID-19 is to not have large groups gather, especially large groups from multiple households. Consider keeping your Thanksgiving celebration to only those who live in your household.

2. Host backyard Thanksgiving celebrations.

If you live in a place that still has reasonable outdoor temperatures during the week of Thanksgiving, you might consider having a backyard Thanksgiving. People can speak from distanced lawn chairs and enjoy plates of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie at your outdoor Thanksgiving dinner.

Make sure that your group is committed to the rules you want to follow ahead of time, such as wearing masks whenever not eating and drinking, and perhaps only having one or two people inside a home at a time to bring out food or use the restroom.

The best backyard Thanksgiving ideas involve thinking ahead about how you want to protect each other from virus spread. Setting the standards can help you all accept the ‘new normal’ of gathering during COVID and not have to worry.

Outdoor Thanksgiving buffet with pumpkins, pie, and fall decorations
svitlini / Shutterstock

3. Get creative about warmth outdoors.

When figuring out the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving, you may realize you live in an area with a pretty cold climate by this time of year. There are still options. Renting or setting up a canopy can give some protection against rain or snow, and putting up one to three walls on the canopy can reduce wind without enclosing the space and trapping clean airflow.

Outdoor patio heaters are a great idea for spending time outdoors. You can also consider making your get together a moving one. When you’re hiking, playing frisbee golf, or taking a distanced bike ride with the family, you expend more energy and stay a little warmer. Outdoor Thanksgiving celebrations can be fun even when it’s chilly.

4. Use lots of sanitizer and cleaning wipes.

It’s wise for hosts and hostesses to assume that they’ll need a few more containers of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes or solution than usual. Stock up – without going overboard – so that you don’t run out.

5. Make some clear mask rules for in-person gatherings.

If you do choose to meet people in person, take your role as host or hostess seriously. Let people know what the expectation in your home will be about masks, because it’s very easy, after a glass of wine or a plateful of turkey, to feel like relaxing rules that are there to keep everyone safe. Let yourself be the strict one and you may keep the likelihood of virus spread much lower. Find ways to make it easier for everyone, like adding masks to your table settings!

Thanksgiving table decor and setting with masks for protection during coronavirus
rawf8 / Shutterstock

6. Use video call apps with built-in games.

While many people see the Thanksgiving focus on the meal, you can still share elements of family togetherness even if you’re all in your own homes. Rather than a ‘normal’ video call, look into some of the applications that make it easy for families to play games.

7. Keep a video call on while the big game plays.

If everyone in your family prefers to spend the afternoon watching your favorite football team play, just turn on a video call app and chat and cheer while watching the game from everyone’s individual houses. You’ll still enjoy some camaraderie, and you can even plan to make or order the same game day snacks!

8. Have a drive-by celebration for those in isolation.

One way to make someone’s Thanksgiving brighter is to come up with some Thanksgiving pop-by ideas for someone in isolation. Have family parade by the house in cars, drop off a Thanksgiving treat without breathing near each other, or put up festive cards, decor, and messages in their yard.

Fall leaves yard decor for outdoor Thanksgiving or fall holidays
Gorlov-KV / Shutterstock

9. Plan carefully for any overnight visitors.

If anyone is coming into town from outside your household, make some plans for how to give them their own part of the house so that you minimize shared germs. You might also consider using a hotel (even if you normally don’t). Hotels are working very hard to keep rooms spotless right now and avoid in-person contact with things like mobile check-in, which may be safer than sharing a house or apartment with family.

10. Consider postponing or canceling if your area is in a spike.

It needs to be said: If your area is in the midst of a lot of cases or a major spike in hospitalizations, consider the benefits of postponing or canceling festivities. Even if you are pretty sure no one in your group is vulnerable, it’s part of everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe.

If you’re quarantining or can’t travel, here’s how to celebrate Thanksgiving without family:

Just because you’re having to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving without family this year doesn’t mean you have to abandon the holiday. Here are just a few one-time traditions you can start, and who knows? You might find something new you like for the future.

1. Write some thank you notes to those you’re grateful for.

Rather than watching another show all the way through while at home alone, consider writing thank you notes or emails to those who matter to you. It’s a way to have an impact and make someone smile even when you are figuring out how to celebrate Thanksgiving alone. The gratitude element of the holiday is actually a source of joy for many people, and you can make it personal this year.

2. Choose shared recipes and have a video call.

If you and your family love the cooking element of the holiday, work together to select some recipes online and make the exact same food in your own kitchens. During the thick of cooking, stirring, and plating, keep a video call open with the other family chefs to have that kitchen chatter, and then sit down to eat and talk about the food together via a video call.

3. Make your favorite Thanksgiving alternatives.

If, on the other hand, some Thanksgiving foods just aren’t your cup of tea, this is the perfect year to drop them and replace them with something you do like. It’s a great year to experiment and find your own best way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The bottom line

It’s best to assume that this year isn’t ideal for travel and indoor parties unless every member of your family has the ability to quarantine 14 days at home before arriving at the party. Any indoor gatherings, otherwise, carry some risk of virus spread. Consider how to celebrate Thanksgiving in safe ways by creating new traditions, sharing memories via video calls, and focusing on showing gratitude to others.

Frequently asked questions

Q:

What are safe Thanksgiving activities during COVID-19?

A:

You can still make and eat great food, watch a game on TV, and even play silly games via a computer, all without having to have social contact through virtual celebrations. If you do host in-person get-togethers, consider holding them outside. You can also plan drive-by celebrations.

Q:

Should I travel on holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A:

Every point of contact with other people increases the risk of traveling on holidays, so think about interactions in airports, gas stations, restaurants, and other points of contact. Each one makes it less safe to travel and more likely that you could spread the virus.

Q:

How do I keep my spirits high during COVID-19?

A:

Finding ways to care for others and express your gratitude to them can be a good way to boost your spirits. Creating new traditions, from an outdoor soccer game with your household to making homemade gifts for future winter holidays, can stave off the blues during social distancing.

Q:

Who is most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A:

While anyone of any age can become seriously ill, many of those who are most at risk are individuals over the age of 60, those who have chronic respiratory or other health conditions, and those who live in congregate living situations like nursing homes.

Laura Leavitt is a writer and teacher in Ohio. She has written personal finance stories for Business Insider, The Billfold, The Financial Diet, and more.



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A Washer and Dryer Prompts a Bathroom Remodel


 A bathroom gets a design and square footage overhaul

bathroom renovationProject: Expand a bathroom to add a washer and dryer 

Before: Ashleigh and Jonathan were renting an apartment in the Financial District of Manhattan while leasing out their own house in New Jersey, when they decided they’d rather own their everyday home. The couple sold their place across the river with the intention of buying an apartment in New York City. 

They found a 953-square-foot studio loft in DUMBO, Brooklyn, which was originally built as a soap factory in 1904. Since the place didn’t come equipped with a laundry hook up, they’d planned to have one installed but didn’t realize what that upgrade would involve. “We had no idea that this next step would necessarily require renovation, however, we fell in love with the apartment, and figured out a way to make it work,” Ashleigh shared. 

before bathroom renovation bathroom before renovationAfter: The couple posted their renovation project to Sweeten, with the plan to increase the bathroom’s square footage by taking space from a nearby alcove.  Stylistically, the duo decided to keep it pretty simple, but also honor the industrial vibes of the building and the apartment. They were matched with a general contractor, who Sweeten shared was already working on another project in the same building. “That was a large factor in us deciding to go with him for the renovation,” Ashleigh said. 

blue bathroom renovationbathroom storageFrom the onset, the contractor knew timing was tight—since the couple had to be out of their rental in the Financial District by a non-negotiable deadline. “Right off the bat, he told us to only consider items that were in stock and not special order so that we could avoid unnecessary delays, which definitely guided us down a somewhat limited path when selecting tile, fixtures, etc. He was also very helpful in making design suggestions, such as what direction the herringbone tile should be installed, how many recessed lights we needed, door/molding choices, etc,” Ashleigh shared. 

The homeowner’s first decision? The unfinished wood vanity with a Carrara marble top. From there, they chose the aged brass and gunmetal fixtures, classic white subway tiles, and navy paint for the walls. 

Once their contractor filed the necessary plumbing and electrical permits, all they could do, construction-wise, was wait. “He assured us that he was doing everything he could to make this happen and stayed in constant communication, keeping us informed on how things were progressing with our permits, as well as letting us know when he needed certain items for installation,” Ashleigh said. Once they came through, he had a month less than planned to complete the project—but all-in-all the renovation wrapped up just two days behind schedule. 

washer and dryer in bathroom brass shower fixtures

This wasn’t exactly Ashleigh and Jonathan’s first renovation—but their first with a licensed general contractor. “His experience and expertise helped guide us through the process,” Ashleigh said. Sweeten reached out during the process and offered assistance, but the couple noted they actually didn’t need any further help and that everything was moving along.

“We absolutely love our new bathroom. Given the limited space, it suits our needs and style perfectly. We’ve lived with and without a washer/dryer and much prefer life with one, so the fact that we could solve that problem with the apartment makes it infinitely more livable for us.” Ashleigh said.

WATCH VIDEO:

Bonus: Their Sweeten contractor also built a walk-in closet out of the remaining alcove space. 

Style finds: Floor in herringbone basalt mosaic; walls and shower in Nori Gloss 3×6” white ceramic subway tile: Complete Tile. Spray jet showerhead; vintage cross-handle balanced pressure bathtub and shower valve; trim set with bath spout in aged brass; early 20th century mercantile powder washstand with Carrara marble vanity top; vintage cross-handle 8” widespread faucet in aged brass; Edison glass inline double sconce in gunmetal bronze, early 20th century mercantile 84” cabinet: Restoration Hardware. Wall paint in Hale Navy, #HC-154: Benjamin Moore. Two-piece elongated chair, dual-flush toilet, #MW4463056CUMFGA#01: Toto. Frontloading W1 washing machine and T1 heat-pump tumble dryer: Miele.

Check out another renovation where adding laundry was a main priority.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



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18 DIY Fall House Projects to Do During COVID-19


It’s true that COVID-19 has changed the way we will celebrate this autumn. However, there are still safe ways for you to spruce up your home to make it warm and cozy. Here are some festive home renovation projects and fun crafts to take on while social distancing.

Home renovation projects you can do this fall: 

Being stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Hit pause on that show you’ve been binging and commit to home improvement projects that will pass the time and make your space really feel like you. Here are a few fall house projects to get you inspired.

Upgrade your light fixtures

Upgrade your light fixtures during COVID-19
9Air / Shutterstock

Talk about a small change with a big impact. Modernizing your light fixtures can go a long way to making your space feel cool and polished. Simply choose a light fixture that matches your style — from industrial to boho. You can have your home feeling like new in an afternoon.

Add a bold accent wall

Try putting up a bold accent wall during quarantine!
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock

Tired of staring at your grey or white walls? Add some color through an accent wall! Choose your favorite paint color or find wallpaper that screams your style. Are you a renter or apartment-dweller? No worries! You can use a temporary stick-on paper!

Paint your kitchen cabinets

Paint your kitchen cabinets during COVID-19!
ImageFlow / Shutterstock

Want a new kitchen without a full makeover? Try painting your cabinets. It’s a bit of a job, but now’s the perfect time to tackle it. Upgrade your outdated wood cabinets by painting them a soft white or cool gray. Feeling inspired? Try a two-toned look for a unique touch!

Fall DIY projects and crafts to do when you’re feeling stir crazy:

Decorative pumpkins

Decorating pumpkins is a fun way to pass the time in quarantine!
Agnes Kantaruk / Shutterstock

Decorating pumpkins is a fun way to add a farmhouse look to any room in your home. You will need items like twine, floral wire, and ribbon. And, in a few simple steps, you will create beautiful pumpkins that give your home a country feel.

Welcome to fall signs

Create a "welcome fall" sign!
Kristen Prahl / Shutterstock

The best thing about doing home improvement projects is they don’t have to cost a lot of money. You can find some cute signs at the Dollar Store, then redo them with these inspirations. Also, you can do many of these redesigns with inexpensive supplies like paint, ribbons, and flowers.

Turkey crafts

Turkey-themed crafts with the kiddos
phBodrova / Shutterstock

Commemorate Thanksgiving with super cute Turkey-themed crafts. Get your kiddos involved with a paper turkey or a turkey flower pot. To make them, you will need a flower pot, some paint, and flowers. Sprinkle in some creativity, along with these simple steps, and you have beautiful crafts that are sure to brighten the holiday.

Owl pine cones

Create owl-themed pine cones!
saltodemata / Shutterstock

If you’re searching for a project your kids will love, this is it. Making owl pines cones is simple to do, is a lot of fun, and the result is adorable. You will need pine cones, a hot glue gun, feathers, and your imagination.

Pumpkin vases

Create a pumpkin vase for your Thanksgiving centerpiece!
Tinatin / Shutterstock

Pumpkin vases can serve as a centerpiece during Thanksgiving or give some nook in your home a cheerful holiday redo. To make them, you will need a craft pumpkin, fall stems, and a styrofoam block.

String art

Create fall-themed string art!
Yuliya Vrotna / Shutterstock

If your walls could use a seasonal refresh, consider string art. It allows you to create an autumn backdrop by using designs like pumpkins, acorns, and more. To make them, you will need wood, paint, small wire brad nails, embroidery thread, and the template for the shape you want to design.

Autumn wreath

Create an autumn wreath during COVID-19.
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Create a welcoming entrance with this autumn wreath. It’s simple to make and is the perfect complement to any room in your home. You will need a wood wreath form, wood balls, and decorative items like wood leaves.

Mason jar candle holders

Mason jar candle holders for fall.
PureRadiancePhoto / Shutterstock

Add some warm lighting with these festive mason jar candle holders. To make them,  you should acquire a mason jar, fake fall leaves, a tea light, and mod podge. In a few easy steps, you will have a cheerful candle holder that’ll add warm light and seasonal flair to your home.

Glitter acorns

Glitter acorns for fall and Christmas!
3d_and_photo / Shutterstock

Glitter acorns are versatile in that you can leave them in a decorative bowl, add them to artwork, and much more. Best of all, you could use acorns found in your backyard! To make these pearls of fall, you will need glitter and bronze. If you do not have acorns growing in your backyard, you can buy some online.

Pumpkin planters

Pumpkin-themed planters
Kathryn Kelly / Shutterstock

As the season changes, so will your landscape. One fun way to showcase your autumn flowers is with pumpkin planters. They are the perfect afternoon project and will yield some fun results. To make them, you will need plastic pumpkin pails, cement, and plastic paint tubs.

Fall table runner

Fall table runner
Elizabeth C Waters / Shutterstock

Dress up your dinner table for autumn with a beautiful table runner. This project is a perfect way for kids to become involved in fall house projects. You will need felt sheets, fabric glue, and a sewing kit.

Sweater pillows

Make pillows out of old fall sweaters!
Kryvenok Anastasiia / Shutterstock

Making sweater pillows refreshes the look of your furniture. Along with a sewing kit, you will need a throw pillow (if you do not have one you want to repurpose) and an old sweater. The project is easy to do and yields some spectacular results.

Lighted twigs

Lighted twigs in a vase
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

As fall ushers in longer nights, brighten up your space with lighted twigs. It is a fun project to do, and you only need a few items like lighted twigs, foam, and a clear vase to transform your room.

Fall-scented jars

Homemade fall potpourrie
caliluna / Shutterstock

Bring the crisp smells of autumn inside your home with room scents. All you need is to combine elements like cinnamon sticks, fresh pine twigs, and more in a stylish jar. They make the perfect gift, and you can even use freezer-safe jars to preserve the scent for future use.

The bottom line

These craft projects help you capture the essence of autumn in your home while social distancing. Best of all, they are simple to do, many are inexpensive, and making them is a fun way of doing a tiny home remodel that yields spectacular results.

Sean Jackson is a creative writer living in Florida. He’s had his work featured on Realtor.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and ESPN. In his free time, he enjoys playing drums, and failing miserably at surfing and improv.



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20 Best Ideas and Inspirations


Decorating a small room can be a tricky affair even with themes as calming and elegant as modern, Scandinavian or minimal. Imagine how much more complicated it is to create a lovely and functional bedroom in industrial style where the available space is far less than in your large master bedroom. It is a task that demands perfect balance between aesthetics and ergonomics. But even before you get started, one needs an absolute clarity of thought. Be sure that you want an industrial style for your small bedroom before you choose the overall look and colors within the room. Without this, the small bedroom can feel cluttered pretty quickly!

Ultra-small attic bedroom with sloped ceiling and large mirror that gives it a more spacious look [From: KRAUZE architects]

The small industrial bedroom is a place where you will often find several different textures being thrown into the mix. You need to find a balance between these varied elements and finishes even as you plan for space-savvy features. Some the best small industrial bedrooms embrace their bones and do so without going overboard. From the understated to the audacious and from those more modern to ones that are rough around the edges, this is a look at some of the best ideas and inspirations around –

Making Most of Limited Space

The first thing to consider in the small industrial bedroom is the limited room in there and how you can utilize this limited space without taking away from the aesthetics. Sliding doors, stackable and folding door along with cabinets and shelves that fold away easily are the best way to maximize space in here. In many industrial bedrooms, wooden cabinets and shelves feel like a natural feature and they add to the overall contrast that different finishes offer. Industrial style itself is one that is born out of practicality and maximization of resources; making it absolutely perfect for tiny rooms.

Attic level modern industrial bedroom in wood and black with smart décor [From: MacDonald+Duque Design]
Finding space for workspace, wardrobe and additional storage units in the tiny industrial bedroom
Making use of vertical space in the small apartment to fit in an additional bedroom
Modern industrial attic bedroom with ample natural light and beautiful wooden floor [From: Hilberth & Jørgensen Arkitekter]
Skylight brings natural light into the tiny attic level industrial bedroom in white
Storage space under the bed in the small bedroom gives it a more space-conscious design [From: Domiteaux Architects]

Explore Different Textures and Finishes

There are many finishes and texture that feel far more apt in the small industrial bedroom than pretty much anywhere else. The best feature in here is the exposed brick wall that is pretty popular among homeowners and is a great accent wall in a small space that is filled with neutral colors. Then there are the many concrete and cement features that look good even when used sporadically. Exposed plumbing and duct pipes also are welcome in here and add to the industrial vibe. Combine these with metallic lighting fixtures and pops of color for the perfect modern industrial bedroom.

Folding doors and a neutral backdrop add to the spacious design of this small industrial bedroom with accent brick wall [From: Board & Vellum / Andrew Giammarco Photography]
Large bookshelf for the modern industrial bedroom with brick walls and a comfy bed [From: OVERARCH]
Polished bedroom in gray with contemporary industrial style that is urbane
Sconce lighting illuminates the headboard brick wall in the small industrial bedroom
White sheer curtains, textured walls and metallic lighting fixtures combine to create this fabulous bedroom [From: Yuri Grishko]
Brick wall and smart metal mesh offer ample textural contrast to this small industrial bedroom
Exposed duct pipes are an integral part of the industrial style interior

Adding Color to the Industrial Bedroom

Adding color to the small bedroom is considered to be a risky affair and in the industrial bedroom it can feel even more out of place. But when done right, even the tiniest pops of color can make a big impact. A room in purple with concrete walls, one where you have red accents all around or an industrial bedroom in gray with gorgeous green accents are all great ideas for those who wish to add a bit of color to the setting.

Concrete ceiling and exposed duct pipes bring industrial beauty to this colorful bedroom in violet [From: Robeson Design]
Exposed brick walls are a natural and integral part of modern industrial bedrooms [From: Amanda Thompson]
Framed windows and doors give this modern industrial room a cheerful and open appeal[From: K3-Planungs Studio]
Tiny industrial bedroom with a blue accent wall and super-stylish design [From: NEVA Architecture Intérieure – Interior Design]
Tiny niche in the corner is turned into a cozy bedroom
Bedroom that moves more towards modernity than towards industrial design [From: Studio M Designs]





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