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It's totally okay to not visit your family for Thanksgiving this year
pastries on brown table

Putting a cross-generational large group of stressed out and maskless people in an indoor room during a pandemic sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. It also sounds a like Thanksgiving. An Ohio State University survey found that nearly two in five Americans are planning a Thanksgiving gathering with more than 10 people. Those two in five people should probably rethink their plans.

According to the director of the CDC, small gatherings in people's homes (which is exactly what Thanksgiving is) is a big source of COVID spread. They recently updated their guidelines for holiday celebrations. Virtual activities are the safest way to gather right now. The more people who show up to an event in person, the higher the risk is.

An analysis found that there's a near 100% chance of a COVID positive person showing up at a mid-sized gathering in the hardest-hit parts of the country, like the Dakotas. The odds are only slightly less for regions that have fared better in the COVID crisis, but it's still not great.


If you don't want to see your family this year, it's totally fine. This year, of all years, gives you the best excuse for not schlepping across the country for an extra-long weekend of tryptophan-fueled family fights. New Coronavirus infections are at an all-time high. Even though we're all sick of it, it's better to remain vigilant so we don't become actually sick.

We've had a chance to see what happened to our neighbors to the north. Canadian Thanksgiving, which took place in October, led to a spike in Canadian COVID cases. While numbers were on the rise before the holiday (and they're also on the rise here, by the way), the two weeks following Canadian Thanksgiving saw the highest number of COVID cases yet. Contract tracing also found a link between holiday gatherings and an increase in cases.

All of this doesn't necessarily mean you need to be fearful. But it does mean you should be cautious, considerate, and vigilant. "It's important for all of us to not let our guard down during Thanksgiving," Dr. Deborah Brix said during a media briefing. "This virus can spread among families and among friends if you take your mask off and are primarily indoors." Brix also warned that it's not wise to let your hair down just because you're not out and about. "When in private, we [need to take] the same precautions that we take in public."

Skipping a visit with your family this year can help ensure that they're around for you to visit next year. Plus, there's no shame in ordering take-out turkey then hopping on a zoom to argue about politics with grandma.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Golden retriever has cutest reaction to sister walking.

Here at Upworthy we look for stories that will make you smile and warm your heart and, let’s face it, we could all use a little help in the smile department these days. When we ran across this ridiculously sweet story on The Dodo about a golden retriever and his little human sister, we simply had to share it with you. Taco is a 3-year-old golden retriever who has been lovingly waiting for his new baby sister, Vanora, to be able to play with him, and the day has finally come.

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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