By Nick Emmons, WBZ-TV

NORTH READING (CBS) – The chairs are out, and the tables are ready to be set for Thanksgiving dinner at Sarah McGoldrick’s North Reading home. There’s a big difference from years past, though. Instead of gathering inside the dining room, her family will be in the backyard, under a large party tent.

It’s an idea that came to McGoldrick over the summer. “I started thinking what would be a safe way that we could do something together,” said McGoldrick, a mother of two.

Her children played into the decision to host family members at her home, including her father who’s in his 70’s. “My fear was that my kids weren’t going to be able to see my dad really all winter,” said McGoldrick. “We’re going to go from November through April and not have any quality time.”

A North Reading family will celebrate Thanksgiving in a backyard tent (WBZ-TV)

Inside the tent, tables are spaced out to be at least six feet apart, and the sides of the tent can be opened to increase air circulation, and Sarah said all family members will need to follow the rules.

“Everyone understands the policy about wearing masks and staying at their table.” That also means nobody is allowed in the main house. “We have a bathroom right inside our back door here, so we blocked off the rest of the house.”

Sarah said a total of 14 family members will be inside the tent for dinner, which is within Governor Baker’s 25 person limit for outdoor gatherings. Sarah is first to admit most people don’t have the means, or the space to pull this off, but she thinks most people can understand wanting to do whatever you can to spend time with loved ones safely.

“We will remember this year, and how challenging it was to be this far apart, and not being able to hug our family,” McGoldrick said. “I think part of 2020 is looking for ways to find something that’s better than nothing.”