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'This Too Shall Pass': Families Finding Meaningful Ways To Celebrate Thanksgiving After Tough Year

MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Whether celebrating with loved ones in-person or virtually, families are finding meaningful ways to come together and give thanks on a Thanksgiving like no other.

For the Gambuto family in Monroe Township, it was important to be together for Thanksgiving, so they gathered under one roof, but separated into pods.

"What we're going to be doing is what we're calling a pod-together, instead of a get-together. So my sister, her kids and her husband will be at the kitchen table. My mom, her husband and my grandmother will be at the dining room table. And I will be at the kitchen island," said Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Gambuto directed a new film called "Team Marco" about a friendship between generations, so he thought it was important to bring four generations of his family together to give thanks at the end of a tough year.

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"We just keep telling the kids that this is temporary and that this too shall pass, and I think that's an important message for everybody. This is just a moment in time. We will be OK," Gambuto told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

Watch Nick Caloway's report --

For many, it'll be Zoomsgiving.

The Gallagher family usually gets together in Bridgewater, but the soaring number of infections in New Jersey made it too dangerous this year.

"Yeah, everybody's a little sad about it but definitely making the best of it this year," said Kellyann Gallagher, of Raritan.

MORE -- 'We're Together Whatever Way It Is': Families Finding Ways To Make Virtual Thanksgiving Work With COVID Cases Spiking Across Country

Instead, they got creative, deciding to prep the food and eat together virtually.

"We all have turkeys that are right about the same size, so we can all get together and start them together. And then they'll be coming out of the oven right about the same time, and then we can eat together," Gallagher said.

In New York, six stories above the West Village, four friends were digging in for Thanksgiving dinner.

"I woke up a little bittersweet, like, aw, I miss my family, but gonna make the best of it," Arianna O'Dell told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Four friends gathered for Thanksgiving dinner on a West Village rooftop on Nov. 26, 2020. (Credit: CBS2)

Unable to fly home this year because of the pandemic, the New Yorkers cobbled together their own rooftop meal with Artichoke Basille's pizza, pie from Eataly and skyline views.

"It's a new type of New York type of Thanksgiving," O'Dell said.

"Come up here to stay safe and distanced and still get to hang out with your friends," Ram Nadella said.

It turned out to be such a nice evening, some people couldn't help but take their Thanksgiving outside.

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"We had a very beautiful lunch at his place, and we're taking a walk now just to get rid of those extra pounds," said Virgil Reyes, of Randall's Island.

This year was a big change for the Reyes family, who are used to having a full table for the holiday.

"It's certainly a change, but you can never be disappointed with family," one family member said.

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Over in Chelsea, 6-year-old Aya took her dad to get some fresh air before dinner.

"I stayed inside today and now I'm coming to play at the playground," she said.

"You gotta just be thankful that every day you're here and alive, there's people out there that love you and wanna see you," dad Aari Jubran said.

Even though families may not be able to celebrate the holidays in the same room, they're still thankful for each other and hopeful they can see each other face-to-face next year.


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