This year: He is driving to Trevor City, Mich., a resort town on Grand Traverse Bay, to perform at a private Thanksgiving event for several families at a resort there, and resurrect his skills at making pilgrims out of balloons.

“I feel like I’m in the ‘Twilight Zone,’” he said, noting that it’s been so long since he’s performed that he has gone blank on some tricks.

Reminder that all is not normal: The families he is performing for have requested that he wear a mask. He said he supports this rule, but because his voice will be more muffled, he will have to enunciate more.

Who: Gerry Alston, 76, who lives in Baltimore.

Last year: Ms. Alston spent Thanksgiving alone in her room at the Maryland Baptist Aged Home, the nursing home where she has lived since 2018. Not only were visitors prohibited, residents were not permitted to eat together because vaccines were not yet available. The home played festive music over the intercom, but that was the extent of the celebration. (These strict protocols helped enable the Maryland Baptist home to remain free of the coronavirus throughout the pandemic.)

This year: Now that all the residents are vaccinated, they will be able to eat together. Ms. Alston’s son Kevin Coger, 57, said he’s planning to visit his mother. Even as recently as this month, he had to keep his visit to an outdoor porch area, so this will be their first indoor meal together in a long time. He’s also looking forward to giving his mother, who is in a wheelchair, multiple proper hugs.

“It’s my favorite holiday.” said Ms. Alston, who added that her biggest holiday frustration has less to do with the pandemic and more with her health; she wishes she was still in a position to prepare the meal herself. “I’m not bragging, but I’m a good cook,” she said.

Reminder that all is not normal: For Mr. Coger, it’s the masks. Even though he works for Baltimore City Health Department and understands why people should wear them, “I’m still getting used to that,” he said.