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Family Gets Creative To Stay Safe During Holiday Gatherings

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Government and health officials have warned family gatherings should look different this year, and one Utah County family got creative by celebrating together in their garage to stay safe.

“It’s not ideal,” said Suzanne, who preferred not to share her last name. “But they can at least be there in person which is better than nothing.”

There’s nothing quite like getting together with those you love at home. Even if it is on a cold, concrete floor and the guests of honor arrive and stay behind their car windows. In this case, the family was celebrating Suzanne’s father’s 80th birthday.

“We knew we had to do something to honor him on this kind of a milestone,” Suzanne said.

So, they devised a plan for Dave and his wife Jeanette to travel to the homes of three of their children for a progressive dinner. When the couple pulled into the garage of each home, they stayed in their car and enjoyed a different portion of their meal. All while interacting face to face, to an extent, with their children and grandchildren.

“It’s far beyond anything I imagined,” Dave said after pulling into the last garage, which the family had decorated with balloons, ribbons, signs and grandpa’s favorite dessert, pie.

“This is incredible. You guys really decorated it up beautifully,” he said from behind his window.

Dave hasn’t seen many of his family members in person in months. He and Jeanette are both diabetics. He has heart issues and she’s undergoing radiation therapy for cancer. The family wanted to take every precaution without letting the day go by unnoticed.

Even from inside his car, the windows rolled up and a phone in his hand to allow his family members to hear him, Dave was overjoyed.

“This makes life so beautiful,” he said. “This is like going to heaven.”

“It’s a little bit of a nontraditional way to celebrate a birthday. But this entire year has been anything but traditional,” Suzanne said.

Government and health officials warned holiday gatherings ought to look different this year because of COVID-19. And for this family, different was just right.

“It’s put all of us in a position where we have to come up with innovative and creative ways to deal with this pandemic,” Suzanne said. “And still continue to live our lives as best we can despite it.”

The family already has plans to do something similar for Christmas. And Suzanne said she hopes their gathering will inspire others to get creative to stay safe this holiday season.

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