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Thanksgiving from a Distance: 6 Ways to Make it Special

May your Thanksgiving be small in size, but large in gratitude.

This Thanksgiving, we are faced with the tough choice of keeping our families and friends safe by staying in. The realization of being away from our loved ones at an already emotionally fraught year is heartbreaking.

While we know that nothing can replace a warm embrace and the special people in our lives eating and laughing at one table, we have put together some resources to bring holiday cheer to this year’s thanksgiving.

A quiet night in: Everything is a little better with a book, right? So, grab the warmest blanket you can find, get into your comfiest pajamas, prop yourself up on the couch (or on your bed with a stack of pillows) and escape for a while with the Library’s cozy book list

Cook-off with friends: Start a new Friendsgiving tradition with a virtual cook-off. Pick one (or four!) from the Library’s extensive recipe collection. You can enjoy the virtual feast together too. 

Enjoy virtual story time with the family: Unleash your inner child as you watch the Obamas, Oprah, John C. Riley, Gabrielle Union, Kristen Bell, and other celebrity guest readers narrate some of the most heartwarming story times Live from the Library. Your kids will love them too. Watch them on-demand here.

Send a virtual care package: Social distancing means we can’t hug our families and friends, but we can still show we care by sending special virtual care packages sure to put THANKS back in thanksgiving. Here is our special care package for you.

A Thank you from the heart: Nothing beats a homemade gift. Create, design, and 3D print customized thank you keychains, bookmarks, and earbud holders from the safety of your home.

You can start here.

Got a bibliophile in your life? Why not send them library swag – mugs, shirts, tote bags that will go quite well with their bookshelves and library cards. Start shopping!

Start a gratitude journal: With the anxiety and uncertainty, it can be a little difficult to find a silver lining. But it is during these times that we must focus on things we are grateful for, no matter how small they seem. Thankful for the reprieve walk around the block? Write it down. Thankful for a near-perfect omelet? Write it down. Thankful for the gift of family and friends (even if they are away)? Write it down. Start your journaling journey now.

This Thanksgiving is going to look and feel different. But the heart of the season remains the same: gratitude. Let that be at the core of your holiday celebrations.

We wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!


On behalf of thousands of Chicagoans relying on free resources at Chicago Public Library, thank you. We are beyond grateful for YOU and your commitment to closing the academic opportunity gap, sparking connection and creativity, and bridging the digital divide. Thank you for powering our Library and empowering every Chicagoan. 


See your support in action here