Clever Grandparents Send Cardboard Cutout to Family for Thanksgiving


This year, many families will be celebrating Thanksgiving on a much smaller scale than normal. So much of what makes Thanksgiving special is spending time with family, so the separation between members this year is especially sad.

But one family has figured out a way to make the separation a little less painful.

Thanks to the ingenuity of grandma Missy Buchanan from Rockwall, Texas, she and her husband will be with their children and grandchildren this Thanksgiving in spirit — and in cardboard.

“We decided that we didn’t want to risk getting sick,” Missy told Today. “Then I started thinking, ‘How can I still make it fun?'”

So she came up with a plan: She took a photo of her and her husband, blew it up to life-size, printed it out on cardboard and shipped a set to her children — one in California and one in Texas.

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“I said, ‘Don’t get too excited. It’s just something funny for Thanksgiving,'” she said. “I had no idea they’d be such a hit. My daughter called me laughing and went on and on about how much she loved it.”

“We all opened it up at the end of the day thinking it was going to be socks or pajamas or something like that,” Missy’s daughter, Mindy Whittington, told WFAA-TV. “We opened it up and it was hilarious.”

“They are pretty much watching over the entire downstairs,” Missy’s son, Matthew Buchanan, added.

“The kids get to pass them as they go to bed every night and say goodnight to Ama and Poppi [Grandma and Grandpa].”

“We walked up and we opened the door of our garage and they’re like, right in front of us,” Clara, one of the grandchildren, said. “I thought it was the real Ama and Poppi, then I looked around and I’m like ‘No.'”

“[It was] a little bit scary when I walked in the front door,” Quinton, another grandchild, said. “They were just standing there. I got a little bit freaked out.”

It was such a hit with the kids and grandkids that Missy decided to share it with the rest of the world, too.

“Welcome to the ‘cardboard’ family!” she shared on Facebook on Nov. 17. “Yep, Barry and I had a life-sized cutout made and shipped to our kids/ grandkids in the TX Hill Country and in California because we decided that Thanksgiving dinner with the family was too risky this year.”

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“As COVID19 numbers continue to rise, we wanted to show that you can have fun and help keep everyone safe, too. I have so many friends who have been impacted by COVID19. For us, it’s an act of love. And our kids and grandkids are having such fun with ‘us.'”

The cutout grandparents have gotten to see a lot so far, as their families have picked up the idea and run with it.

“They’ve taken us to a chicken coop,” Missy explained to Today. “We’ve just been all over the place. I told the kids, ‘I fully expect to be decorated for Thanksgiving dinner.’ Maybe I’ll get a pilgrim hat!”

While the family is no doubt sad they can’t be together this year, grandma and grandpa have done what grandparents do best: Found a way to go above and beyond to bring joy to their kids and grandkids during the holidays — even if it’s in a different form than usual.

“Grandparents can lead the way on this,” Missy said.

“We can show others how you can be safe and still celebrate. I think they’re having more fun with the cutouts than they would have had we been there in person!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking