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We Mastered Distanced Dinners in 2020

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As someone who entertains a lot, it was no surprise that one of the things I missed the most when the Covid-19 pandemic hit was hosting friends and neighbors. I compensated by enjoying social engagements online, but of course they’re no replacement for in-person parties. And while we never went “back to normal,” I was relieved when the science was clear enough to indicate that we could safely see people in person — masked, physically distanced, and a few at a time. Cue the distanced dinner party!

Check out photos from our (many) distanced social gatherings

This good news coincided with the onset of warmer weather, and so we quickly adapted to hosting one or two people at a time in our backyard. Having sitting areas with plenty of options for 6-foot distancing, we arranged cafe tables and chairs several feet apart and set one table for us and one table for our guests. (I actually love this and may continue this set up after this is all over — just moving the tables closer together!)

Friends at dinner

Friends at dinner

Colleen and David at dinner

Sometimes we’d host physically distanced drinks in one sitting area and dinner in another.


Ana and Colleen

Physically distance dinner

Physically distance dinner


Living in northern California where October and November are even sunnier than the summer months, we were able to extend our outdoor gatherings all the way through late fall — albeit with some blankets to keep warm when the sun went down. 


Physically distance dinner with blankets

Friends in blankets

We even celebrated a couple of birthdays — with cake and candles…

Birthday with friends

Chocolate birthday cake


Thwarted temporarily by fires, smoke, ash, and virus surges, we’d take a break from hosting when it wasn’t healthy or safe, but once it was, we were back at it — even able to host a couple friends for Thanksgiving.

Two people at table

Until we can host friends inside again  — and more than two at a time — without the risk of catching or spreading Covid, we are grateful to have outdoor spaces to accommodate our needs and our friends. 

To all the healthcare workers: I’m amazed by what you do in normal times. I’m in awe of what you’re doing now. We promise we’ll keep making choices that keep us healthy, keep our friends safe, and keep you from being overtaxed. We don’t take this lightly. Thank you for all you do!

Did you find ways to throw your own distanced dinner party or another kind of gathering?



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