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As COVID cases continue to fluctuate and we approach the holidays, many families may find themselves disagreeing on how to spend the holiday season. With almost two years since the start of the pandemic, most of us are craving normalcy. Many families haven’t taken part in a true pandemic-free holiday season with friends and family for nearly two years. It’s safe to say patience is wearing thin and emotions are running high around how to handle this pandemic’s newest wave. 

It certainly is easy to decide how you (and you alone) want to handle the holidays, but it’s important to have open communication. Before finalizing your guest list, talk to the ones you love and the ones you’d love to see. 

To learn how to navigate these conversations and the rest of the holidays continue below.

Create emotional safety

Some members of your households may be perfectly fine with large gatherings, while others aren’t. Sit down with your family and make sure to discuss the following:

  • the number of guests you’re willing to have over or be around at one time.
  • having multiple, smaller gathers that are spaced out over time.
  • purchasing air purifiers to help with the circulation and cleaning of air.
  • asking family and friends to limit their contact with others prior to attending your event.

If your ideas and philosophies are different within your household, voice your concerns and decide together how you will all ensure safety for everyone. Remember to also listen! While it’s important to have your voice heard, it’s also important to hear others out.

Discussions about vaccination status

While some people are forthcoming about whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, many people are not.  When asking if someone is vaccinated, let them know that you don’t have any judgement. This can be a very sensitive topic, and from our experience, many of those who are not vaccinated feel defensive or the need to justify their choice.  Refrain from asking questions about why they chose not to be vaccinated.  Everyone has the right to do what they feel is right for them and their bodies.  

If you are not comfortable with having unvaccinated relatives over during the holidays, express your concerns and find alternative ways to connect with them.  Consider doing something outdoors, like skating or enjoying a hike on a trail. You can also have a zoom evening with digital games or trivia.

Avoiding the C-word

pandemic related can become quite contentious. Whatever your views are, it’s safe to say that most of us are over it – including discussing it. Managing fourth wave woes is hard enough, without having it be the constant topic of conversation. 

When these uncomfortable conversations come up, many times it’s best to avoid them. Respond to differing opinions with a neutral stance. Acknowledge that you respect this person’s opinions, but this is a topic you’d rather not discuss. Let the person know that it’s the holidays, time for family and friends and you don’t want the focus to be on COVID. You can also create an event “rule” that limits the talk of COVID. You might be surprised how many people can relate and would appreciate you making this “rule” – no matter how silly it might feel.

What’s most important about navigating these conversations is making sure you are expressing your feelings honestly and hearing how others feel as well. Listening is just as important as being heard. If you’re struggling to successfully communicate with the ones you love, reach out to us.