Focusing on Giving Thanks this Holiday in 2022

by arlene on November 17, 2022

Holidays in 2022 are still going to be in transition, just like so many aspects of our world. We are fortunate that COVID is less deadly now, but the virus is still evolving. Some families may be aching to have a large family gathering again, while I know quite a few people are still being cautious, not yet ready for groups larger than just a few friends. So whether there will be many people at your table or just a few, wouldn’t it be wonderful if for this 2022 version of Thanksgiving we focus on what really matters: being part of a community, and giving thanks for the friends and family members who are still with us, and who make our lives special!

Give a call to someone with whom you have not been in touch for many months. If you already been through your contact list once, maybe it is time for a second pass! The words “thank you” and “I have missed you!” really can be a valuable gift to someone!

Consider making this year’s holiday meals special by ordering out:

  • Order take-away from some of the many local restaurants and caterers that are open, and really need your business to survive this health crisis. Give a call to your favorite restaurant and see what they are offering. You might consider Ann’s Catering, which used to provide fare for my broker tours and now provides daily meals and weekend specials to take away. They recently announced that they are struggling. It would be a shame to lose this local institution, so consider ordering either a full dinner occasionally, or perhaps just ordering some of their yummy side dishes and desserts.
  • Order a pie or cake for either Thanksgiving or other holidays, and deliver it (or have it delivered) to clients or friend. There are traditional and inventive creations. Here’s a list of local options.

Buy fewer things as gifts, and focus on experiences:

  • Give a membership to a local museum, zoo, or aquarium. Some are outdoor experiences, and all will have updated safety protocols.
  • Give gift cards to local businesses. That helps some of our favorite businesses stay afloat, and your friends will enjoy excellent local items. The Cheese Board is always a hit with its excellent breads as well as their amazing pizzas! Or choose your local bookstore like Pegasus, Mrs. Dalloways, or Walden Pond Books.

Support local community services with donations:

  • There are so many worthy causes that are having a really tough time, and you can make a donation, or make it in the name of someone you wish to honor. Whether you wish to support the struggling arts, or donate to the food banks which need record donations, or want to help the homeless, your donations will be greatly appreciated. You can help make sure local animals are taken care of by donating to shelters.

I’m going to be on the lookout for outdoor events that can still be very festive, while being safe. One Berkeley example: this Saturday, November 20th from 5 – 7 pm you can join an outdoor party along 4th street, as they debut their remarkable holiday light display. You can also enjoy Fantasy parades each Saturday evening in December and enjoy the lights then. Follow this link for more details, including other light displays throughout the East Bay this holiday season. Enjoy!

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The diversity of the East Bay is quite inspirational – it offers a little something for everyone. We know that many restaurants and small businesses have folded as a result of the pandemic, and others are having a difficult time staying open. To protect the variety of local businesses that make our community unique, let’s choose to buy from small businesses we know and love. And it’s a sustainable alternative to the added, and often excessive, packaging and carbon footprinit of ordering online. Here are a few that I hope you’ll want to support this year.  And if you visit stores like The Gardener, Sur la Table, or Bette’s Diner, you get to enjoy some of the best holiday lights in the Bay Area!

Foodies & Chefs

For food lovers in your life, here are a few local eateries you may enjoy:.

For Those Needing to Unwind

Stress abounds in these uncertain times. Consider a few relaxation “techniques”:

Coffee & Tea Lovers

Stay warm during those cold mornings:

Bookworms & Audiophiles

Books and music are some of the best ways to buy local:

Green Thumbs

For your gardening-loving and eco-conscience friends:

Gift Stores

Having a difficult time thinking of what to get for the hard-to-gift someone? Consider a few special stores:


This hardly scrapes the surface of what the East Bay has to offer, but it should serve as a helpful resource for your last-minute shopping needs. Let’s do what we can to support our local business and ensure that we uphold the beautiful diversity of our community.

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