New research suggests that four out of every 10 American boomers might not get to see their families for Thanksgiving or winter holidays this year.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, nearly half (48%) of people over the age of 56 and 60% across all age groups think it's unlikely that they'll see their loved ones at any point during this holiday season.
Nearly nine in 10 (86%) Americans said that keeping their family safe and healthy is their top priority this holiday season.
As a result, 41%of respondents are already planning to skip their usual extended family holiday gatherings for 2020, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
Fifty-seven percent said that this would be the first time they've ever missed out on a family holiday gathering.
Commissioned by Omaha Steaks and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also suggested that virtual hangouts are beginning to lose their luster.
Only one-third of those polled are planning a Thanksgiving video call, and another quarter don't even know what their plans are yet.
There is a silver lining for some families: more freedom in the kitchen.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans think they'll be able to get more creative with Thanksgiving dinner this year as a direct result of not gathering with extended family.
And while half of the respondents said they'll still have a turkey on their table this year, 32% would rather opt for a prime rib, with one in four saying they'd like a nice steak.
Other suggested main courses such as fried chicken, pizza, Cornish hens, burgers and even spaghetti.
Todd Simon, fifth-generation family owner of Omaha Steaks says: "The results showed us that Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season will look very different this year in America. In prior years, many people gathered with extended family so it was easier for the host when guests could help by making a side dish or dessert. Now, with their immediate-family-only gatherings, one family will need to make the whole meal themselves. While half of Americans plan on having turkey on the table, others are taking this opportunity to try something new."
Ultimately, this year's socially distant Thanksgiving may bring people together emotionally even as it separates them physically — 60%t believe that spending the holidays away from family this year will make them appreciate their family more, and 62% are anticipating a more relaxed, less hectic affair.
Those who've canceled plans are already feeling the pressure lifting off their shoulders: seven in ten already expect this holiday season to be less stressful than previous ones.
Omaha Steaks' Simon added: "While not everybody can be with family this year, it's still important to show you're thinking about them. With people staying at home more, sending a gift of food delivered to your loved one is a thoughtful and practical way to share the love this holiday season. In fact, one in three Americans plans to send their family a food gift to enjoy a special at-home meal experience over the holidays. While other experiences like a spa day or travel aren't as feasible this year, food certainly is."