This year, the Thanksgiving table is expected to have fewer chairs—and a smaller turkey. 

Thanksgiving is just weeks away, and the coronavirus is threatening to upend yet another American holiday. With cooler weather moving in and case counts rising, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging Americans to stay at home and skip the large family dinners. Grocers, once concerned there could be a shortage of turkeys, are now putting in orders for smaller turkeys to accommodate those smaller Thanksgiving gatherings.

With family get-togethers resulting in more and more cases of coronavirus, the CDC is asking people not to travel and to keep dinner invites limited to their immediate family. Grocery stores are stocking up on smaller turkeys, turkey breasts, and small hams, instead of larger, 20-plus-pound turkeys. Because of the demand for smaller birds, farms are slaughtering them now before they grow any larger. Don’t worry: large birds will still be available for larger families or people who just want a lot of leftovers. 

There are some advantages that come with feeding a smaller group of people. Instead of the larger frozen turkey, you can buy a smaller one that's organic and fresh. Better yet, purchase your turkey already cooked from a local market or restaurant. Popeyes is already taking preorders for its famous cajun-rubbed turkey starting at $39.99. The turkeys are fully cooked and must be thawed and reheated.

Popeyes cajun turkey

Courtesy RBI

Smaller turkeys also mean smaller sides and desserts. Instead of making a trip to the warehouse store for a giant pumpkin pie, people can get by with a smaller one from the grocery store.The CDC is also asking people to shop early or online to avoid big crowds at grocery stores. If you want to share the holiday with extended family or friends, make a dish and drop it off or hold an outdoor dinner.

What do you think? What will your Thanksgiving gathering look like this year? And how big of a turkey are you planning on making? Tell us in the comments!