This year, since many consider travel to be unsafe, camping has become quite popular. Even we jumped on the bandwagon. My mom purchased a camper and we've been taking turns venturing into the great wide open! The only drawback -  no one tells you that you get (LITERALLY) 3 mpg if you don't have a diesel truck! But, that's another story.

My pops is in the highest at-risk category for COVID and we seriously considered canceling Thanksgiving. We ended up doing it this past weekend because the weather was so nice and we had it mostly outside. But our original plan was to host it completely outdoors next to a bonfire!

According to the Mayo Clinic, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So, you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected." Picnics are considered in the low-risk social activities.

If you want to host it completely outside, set up a long table with a couple of power strips and ask everyone to bring their warm dishes in crockpots or on a heat element. Provide plenty of hand sanitizer, disposable plates, and individually wrapped utensils which can be found online or at restaurant supply stores. Also, you have to be smart. Just because you are outside doesn't mean you there is zero risk - just ask everyone to bring their own lawn chairs and sit six feet apart.

My church does this every year and we have a great time. You get to see and spend time with friends and/or family and not have so much anxiety over spreading COVID to loved ones.

If you want to do this but don't have a home with a firepit area, you still have options. You can rent a campsite for the evening from a local park such as Scales Lake, Burdette, or Audubon Park. They usually come with a picnic table and you can pay a little extra if you want an electrical hookup. Just make sure that they offer a standard outlet on the hookup.

Another option is to purchase a firepit. I have a gas firepit on our patio and it's super easy to turn on and off and gives off some nice heat. It's just not very big. Wood burning firepits are also an option - just make sure you keep them on the ground - not a wood patio.

And finally, since I'm full of tips and tricks... if you aren't into pumpkin pie, might I suggest using some of your leftover Halloween candy to make the most delicious s'mores you've ever put in your mouth!

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