Thanksgiving 2020 – The Year Of The Stand-ins

For the past three years, The Duchess and I have celebrated Thanksgiving by arising (very) early to fly from Chapel Hill, NC to Kansas City, MO to spend the holiday weekend with our buddies, Neil & Irene Ellis,1 and their family.

Then, Covid-19 happened.

So, for 2020, we sent, as shown atop this post, stand-ins.

The photo below depicts their arrival. It should be noted that packing was atypically easy, especially since Neil & Irene supplied our surrogates with outerwear to combat the KC chill.

It turns out, these characters do have advantages:

  • They are great listeners
  • They don’t tell the same old medical school stories for the 4027th time, thus coercing counterfeit appreciation
  • They can safely eschew masks & social distancing
  • They are easy on the victuals budget
  • They don’t provoke altercations over politics, sports, social and generational mores, conspiracies…

As our stand-ins would declare — if they could — have a great and safe Thanksgiving.

Update: Thanksgiving 2020 – The Year Of The Stand-ins: Dinner


  1. Neil is great friend who plays a respectable round of golf, identifies unseen birds by their calls, completes the New York Times Friday Crossword in ink, and snaps a heck of a photo. His photos are featured here at and can be found at Neil Ellis Photos. Irene, shown below,

    is a gem, who has remained enamored of Neil and become a blessing to friends like us. []

5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2020 – The Year Of The Stand-ins

  1. What a great and creative idea. Where and how did you get these stand-ins made?
    I’d love to do this for the family I can’t see this Christmas.

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