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How will you handle family gatherings for Thanksgiving/Christmas with Covid?


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19 minutes ago, Ditto said:

We watch the parade too.  Until I read your post I hadn't even thought about it, but you are right, there is no way it could go on as normal.  I wonder what they will do? 

ETA: looks like they are planning something virtual

And if they did something that felt risky I would be uncomfortable watching.  (Masked Singer has a fake audience and it makes me uncomfortable even though I know it's fake.  It's a bad example too, imo.)

We usually watch the parade then cook together, eat, and have dessert with a Christmas movie.  I thought of maybe watching Miracle on 34th St. in place of the parade but I'm not sure about two movies that day!

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So unfortunate that this isn't available everywhere 😢

I don't know. How to handle family events is becoming an ever bigger source of stress for me. As some of you may remember, my DH has stage IV cancer. He only has one kidney. He has other more minor (a

We have decided that he is 20, and he won't be coming home for 6 weeks for much longer.  I think we would regret saving the money. We bought this ticket in FEBRUARY. So we already own it, but he can't

Thoughts on modified holidays:

1. Renting or buying outdoor heaters is an option for some.

2. Clothing for climates as cold as the arctic is a thing, so if you don't have long underwear, heavy socks, heavier gloves,  and extra warm clothing, now might be a good time to invest in some so you can start enjoying winter weather in your climate every year, not just this holiday season. Campfires are awesome. Add in a camp stove for hot chocolate and some Christmas cookies and you're being festive.

3. Traditional meal ingredients can be had in easier forms such as turkey sandwiches on rolls with sweet potato fries and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or a turkey breast in the slow cooker, green beans in steamable microwave bags, Stove Top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, and jarred gravy. I have 15 years experience hosting for up to 30 people, but on some years these have been our small scale, at home, easy holiday options.

4. For many people it's easier to accept a dramatically changed holiday than one that's close to the same.   I have 4 siblings and when I lived near them usually one or two of their families are out of town each year for our mega Christmas gathering of 25+ people.  One year everyone who had out of town relatives was gone, leaving us with 10 people, so we decided to make it completely different.  We went full Ralphie and ordered Chinese food instead of our usual Mexican finger foods and had fireworks for the first time instead of the usual gift exchange and themed games.

5. When my grandparents were still alive we started a tradition of going to their house and the kids decorated their Christmas tree with/for them. Grandad assembled the tree and had their decorations out ready for the kids to put up.  That can be a small indoor gathering activity.  We had hot drinks and cookies.  An outdoor variation on that theme was Grandad's last Christmas (he had just been diagnosed with leukemia) so my brother's family went and helped our grandparents decorate their house with lights. Another option id going to cut a tree outdoors.  We've done that too and took a sled and camp stove and hot chocolate the years it was snowy. 

6. We're doing the candy chute for Halloween. It will be 6ft. long and along the railing on our front porch steps.  Kids will be on the sidewalk and put their bags at the bottom of the chute and I'll be on the porch putting candy in the top of the chute. It was suggested on our neighborhood FB page and everyone agreed to it.

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

We are paying $3300 for DS to go into a quarantine facility for 14 days so he can spend Christmas and January with us. 

That's a lot of love! 🥰

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3 hours ago, happi duck said:

ETA: looks like they are planning something virtual

And if they did something that felt risky I would be uncomfortable watching.  (Masked Singer has a fake audience and it makes me uncomfortable even though I know it's fake.  It's a bad example too, imo.)

We usually watch the parade then cook together, eat, and have dessert with a Christmas movie.  I thought of maybe watching Miracle on 34th St. in place of the parade but I'm not sure about two movies that day!

Two movies in one day isn't bad if you break them up with either the meal or another activity.  The good thing about movies, imo, is the escape factor and we all need to escape 2020.

Virtual?  I wonder how that would work?  I'm with you, if they are doing the parade in a risky manner I wouldn't be comfortable watching either.  This may be the year we just skip it altogether. Bring on the movies!

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I am feeling very stressed about the holidays.  My adult kids all plan on coming home and I am nervous about the risks, but can't tell them no.  My four kids will be coming in from different areas of the country - two will be flying.  Dd is coming home from college and absolutely has to come home, but I wish we could postpone Thanksgiving with the other kids until it's safer.  Seems like too many germs at once coming in all at once.  And I want to keep dd as safe as possible since she starts finals the week after Thanksgiving.  Everyone will be staying here for a week.  I'm immunocompromised right now, but hoping that will improve by then.  

Same issue at Christmas and I don't know what to do about my MIL.  This will be her first Christmas since my FIL died.  

 

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20 minutes ago, Kassia said:

I am feeling very stressed about the holidays.  My adult kids all plan on coming home and I am nervous about the risks, but can't tell them no.  My four kids will be coming in from different areas of the country - two will be flying.  Dd is coming home from college and absolutely has to come home, but I wish we could postpone Thanksgiving with the other kids until it's safer.  Seems like too many germs at once coming in all at once.  And I want to keep dd as safe as possible since she starts finals the week after Thanksgiving.  Everyone will be staying here for a week.  I'm immunocompromised right now, but hoping that will improve by then.  

Same issue at Christmas and I don't know what to do about my MIL.  This will be her first Christmas since my FIL died.  

 

I'm sorry to be blunt, but I think you need to "find your no" -- you clearly don't want all of these family members staying in your home against your better judgement. Please, just send them a nice text that you need to talk to them about re-planning the holidays. Do it soon, in case they need to cancel tickets and get refunds.

Tell them that, since you are immunocompromised, your doctor has advised you against having any guests from out of town, or even out of the household. Apologize, and tell them that you are really looking forward to next year when things will be normal again. Don't budge.

I don't know why your college student "absolutely has to" stay with you, but if that's true, then you have to bite that bullet. It doesn't mean that you have to quadruple your risk and include the whole kit and caboodle. (Is it actually impossible for her to stay at college? Or to put her in a hotel?)

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6 hours ago, lewelma said:

We are paying $3300 for DS to go into a quarantine facility for 14 days so he can spend Christmas and January with us. 

so, this makes *our* family decision to have the returning-from-school kids isolate for 3 days, get everyone tested, wait another day for the test results, then if everyone is negative have my mother (who will also test) FINALLY come here for the first time since last January.  (We've seen her a handful of times since June, but only for outdoor visits near her residence, to which we've been driving up a camper and staying in her parking lot, which is getting both old, and cold.)

My brother and family will come over on Thanksgiving day, and we'll do a mid-afternoon outdoor feast under tents with loads of heaters, and if it's warm enough an outdoor Marvel movie projected onto the side of the house, a fun thing we figured out lamentably late in the summer we could do.

Both my boarding-school HS kid and my university kid will be virtual-only between Thanksgiving and the first week of January, so assuming everyone tests negative and this all works like it's supposed to, we'll have a nice long extended-stay extended-bubble for the full 6 weeks. Locked down with deliveries only, but at least *together.* Then my mom will re-test before re-entering her residential facility.

A lot of logistics, and some of us are a bit anxious about the PCR test, but I'm actually looking forward to it.

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7 hours ago, happi duck said:

ETA: looks like they are planning something virtual

And if they did something that felt risky I would be uncomfortable watching.  (Masked Singer has a fake audience and it makes me uncomfortable even though I know it's fake.  It's a bad example too, imo.)

We usually watch the parade then cook together, eat, and have dessert with a Christmas movie.  I thought of maybe watching Miracle on 34th St. in place of the parade but I'm not sure about two movies that day!

 

3 hours ago, Ditto said:

Two movies in one day isn't bad if you break them up with either the meal or another activity.  The good thing about movies, imo, is the escape factor and we all need to escape 2020.

Virtual?  I wonder how that would work?  I'm with you, if they are doing the parade in a risky manner I wouldn't be comfortable watching either.  This may be the year we just skip it altogether. Bring on the movies!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/deadline.com/2020/09/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-virtual-television-online-bill-de-blasio-1234576226/amp/

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43 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

so, this makes *our* family decision to have the returning-from-school kids isolate for 3 days, get everyone tested, wait another day for the test results, then if everyone is negative have my mother (who will also test) FINALLY come here for the first time since last January. 

We have decided that he is 20, and he won't be coming home for 6 weeks for much longer.  I think we would regret saving the money. We bought this ticket in FEBRUARY. So we already own it, but he can't get into the country without sitting in a quarantine hotel for 14 days.  He will spend his last 2 weeks of class in the quarantine hotel, then be home for his final exams ending December 19. Spring Term starts Feb 1 so we will have 6 weeks. It will be summer here and there is no covid so we can have a lot of fun and build some memories. 

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21 minutes ago, lewelma said:

We have decided that he is 20, and he won't be coming home for 6 weeks for much longer.  I think we would regret saving the money. We bought this ticket in FEBRUARY. So we already own it, but he can't get into the country without sitting in a quarantine hotel for 14 days.  He will spend his last 2 weeks of class in the quarantine hotel, then be home for his final exams ending December 19. Spring Term starts Feb 1 so we will have 6 weeks. It will be summer here and there is no covid so we can have a lot of fun and build some memories. 

I would have done the same thing.  Totally worth it.

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I fully expect everyone will stay home this year and celebrate. We have a large family with older people as well as kids. It's likely too dangerous for those in high risk groups.

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This is how it breaks down for us.  We are being careful, but my dh working in a setting that would. Be disastrous is covid broke out, but luckily it has not.  My parents are high risk and staying safe. My extended family (one with a lung transplant) are living life, traveling, putting down mask wearers.  We will not see the extended family this year.  We won't be seeing my parents at Thanksgiving.  We will likely see them at Christmas because dh will have had a week off work leading up to Christmas day.  We are all aware a week might not be the safe zone or whatever, but a week away from work and no symptoms is a risk we all feel is worth taking for Christmas.  I am nervous about my niece and her kids showing up.  She works in the medical field, her kids are in public school/daycare full time and she's going all kinds of places and I'm not sure how much she uses masks.  I'm hoping she won't come/my mom will tell her not to come idk.  So, not much going on this year.

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14 hours ago, bolt. said:

I'm sorry to be blunt, but I think you need to "find your no" -- you clearly don't want all of these family members staying in your home against your better judgement. Please, just send them a nice text that you need to talk to them about re-planning the holidays. Do it soon, in case they need to cancel tickets and get refunds.

Tell them that, since you are immunocompromised, your doctor has advised you against having any guests from out of town, or even out of the household. Apologize, and tell them that you are really looking forward to next year when things will be normal again. Don't budge.

I don't know why your college student "absolutely has to" stay with you, but if that's true, then you have to bite that bullet. It doesn't mean that you have to quadruple your risk and include the whole kit and caboodle. (Is it actually impossible for her to stay at college? Or to put her in a hotel?)

You stated this very well and I agree with you.   Anything short of "no" is too dangerous.

Gently, I also think that at some point if saying no is not something the OP is willing to do, then you have to just accept the risks and put it out of your mind as much as possible.  Worrying about it and stressing over it changes nothing.  When we make our decisions/choices then we accept the consequences that come with those choices and move on.

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We will be staying home and celebrating with just us.  If you don't live in this house, then you aren't coming for the holidays.  The risks are too great.  Fortunately we are being met with understanding and no resistance at all.

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I still don't know what we are doing for either holiday. On my side, I have a sister who works at WalMart and a nephew who works in the public as well. Kiddos go to school. My parents and I have had the virus now, but that doesn't mean it is safe for us now. 

Oh dh's side, only 7 people. Two come in contact with Hospice workers almost daily. Another one doesn't mask at all. But, Dh and I are more likely to bring it to them than them bring it to us. 

I guess we will wait until about 2 weeks in advance and see what everyone wants to do this year. 

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Thanksgiving will be just the four of us, plus my mom. Possibly on an alternate day, since she enjoys the festivities, even CV19 adapted, at her independent living place. We may get some flak from Dh's mom for not joining in whatever they do, but we will not be the only family not participating. Ds will be super bored and bummed out, but we'll see about arranging outdoor fun with friends for him that weekend.

Christmas Day will be the same. 

Christmas Eve is tbd. We usually spend it with Dh's family, but I am not comfortable with an hours long, indoor event with 20 unmasked people, many of whom are working or in live school. 

Trying to think of something completely different for this year. Christmas Eve bonfire? So much will be weather-dependent. We can do things outside in the cold, but rain would be a problem. 

Definitely NOT cooking a big meal both days. One will be something easy like chili or Greek takeout! 

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I’m jealous of all of you who live in places where it will be warm enough to set up some outdoor heaters and be reasonably comfortable. We will most likely have a foot of snow and highs in the high 20s on Christmas Day, and probably snow falling. There’s no way my 86 year old mom is bundling up for dinner (or anything!) in that. 
 

We are planning on celebrating with those in our household, and probably adding our college son, who will quarantine for a few weeks before he drives home. We’ll prepare food to deliver to my mom’s front porch, and then talk to her on the phone for as long as she wants - she doesn’t do technology, so no FaceTime or Zoom. 
 

The hardest part will be convincing my in-laws to stay put and not fly here like they do every year. I hope they understand that when I tell them we’re not going to see them in person at all if they come, I really mean it. 

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On 9/6/2020 at 9:36 AM, Quill said:

I don’t intend to get together with extended family for TG or Christmas this year. I’m not sure where other heads are on this and the extended family has a mix of people caring and people not caring much. And there is a possibility dh and I could disagree, which is something I just don’t like to think about. But! Our extended family is just way too enormous. Even in the largest homes, there is no way to spread out seating for the meals. In my evaluation of risks, 20 minutes sitting at the dining table without a mask, with (typically loud, due to the din of many people) talking and laughter being virtually certain, this risk would cancel out whatever precautions happened earlier if everyone were compliant with masking, sanitizing and not hugging in the first part of the evening. We also usually play games or have an activity that involves lots of interaction (such as an ornament exchange secret santa game), or one time we all sang with a karaoke machine. 

For sure, I cannot imagine the majority of the family being willing to put my 94yo MIL at risk, and there are other family members who have health considerations, too (whether or not they give much credence to their own health risks is another matter). I certainly would not want to be the one who inadvertently brought COVID to Christmas and killed my BIL with COPD who just had heart surgery. 

It’s a no for me. Lord willing, this won’t be my last Christmas in my life and IMO, it is not worth the risk. Where we live, outdoors is a non-starter for Christmas and is highly improbably for TG as well. 

I’m disappointed for my boys, who both have milestone birthdays in late fall and winter this year, because I can’t offer them anything beyond an immediate family dinner, maybe one best friend included. 

Speaking of karaoke, did you get your discs back?

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When I responded back when this was first posted, I had no idea what the plans might be.  Now, we are a little more clear, at least for Thanksgiving.  We decided to invite DH's parents over.  They are being good about following the "rules" to stay safe.  We will be meeting inside and not wearing masks, but our family does everything from home and curbside pickup so hopefully we are lower risk.

We were invited to DH's sister's house for Christmas, but we are not going.  It would be fun to see her and nephew, especially since she just got a new home, but they are in contact with the public too much for us to feel safe.  I am not sure if we will try to do something with my family or not, it will not be like normal years.  We may just invite my parents for Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

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We will have my parents and dh's mom and stepdad over.  Everyone will quarantine beforehand, which is not far from what the parents are doing now anyway.  DH is taking vacation time so he won't need to be exposed to anyone at work.  I am worried about my uncle though.  He normally spends Christmas with us and this past year has been brutal for him.  He is divorced so was isolated alone with two young kids, his business was destroyed by lockdowns, and he and his children have been hugely impacted by riots.  His mom has passed away, his dad is locked up in a nursing home, and his sibling relationships are complicated.  I know he will not be willing/able to quarantine but I'm getting worried about him being alone.  Hopefully an option other than facetime will reveal itself before then.

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7 hours ago, school17777 said:

Speaking of karaoke, did you get your discs back?

My daughter purportedly has them now; she recently got together with the friend and friend brought the discs. I just haven’t seen my daughter yet to get them from her. 

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We already celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada last week (Oct 12). Our immediate family of 6 had a lovely meal of all the regular foods. We normally have extended Thanksgiving meal with 25+ people all within our local area. (Just as an aside to explain the cultural difference in Canada, people don't tend to travel across the country for Thanksgiving in Canada, though they will will do a day-drive of multiple hours. Christmas is a far bigger event in general for travel.) 

It was disappointing not to have a full family gathering. We did go over to mil with myself, dh and dd to visit at a time when no one else was visiting. I think most of dh's siblings probably did the same. Just visits of small groups, either indoors or outdoors, as it was fortunately pleasant weather.

Our provincial ruling at the time was max 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors for private gatherings. So we could have done a larger outdoor 'event' (e.g., dessert only) but no one wanted to. Mil is over 80, but in good health. She simply went with the general consensus as to how the holiday was celebrated.

Not sure what's happening for Christmas. Probably similar to what we did here.

 

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I had a big conversation with one of my sisters yesterday.  
 

For various reasons, we don’t think we will participate in a Thanksgiving gathering, unless the weather is great and we can be outdoors.  This is not impossible — we could be outside in coats if it’s sunny and not windy.  
 

We do think we can do Christmas.  
 

This has to do with our own family’s exposure levels.  We think we will be able to really limit our exposure before Christmas, but not before Thanksgiving.

I have not told my other relatives yet, I expect them to think it is unnecessary and to both disagree and feel very sad and disappointed.

 

Edit:  my sister is hoping we can get Covid testing before Christmas, to make sure we are negative before a gathering, and that we can all have really limited contact for more than a week, and maybe push the celebration date later to add more time ———- we are still just thinking about it.

The two of us know our families are doing things that should be a lot more concerning to our high risk family members.  Our high risk family members do a decent job but just don’t think about their contact with us as being high risk to them.  But my sister and I are both very concerned.  
 

We both don’t want to disappoint them but think it’s the right thing to do.

Especially bc it seems like things are getting worse in our area.  Hospitalizations are increasing here and we’re setting new records for daily case counts.  

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My dad did finally decide not to do Thanskgiving at his house, and I am glad.  My sisters are not happy about it, and they called the other day to give me a guilt trip about not seeing my mom.  But I think this is the right thing to do.  I will find another, less risky way to see my folks.

My younger sister (who also has kids in school) offered to host a pizza party around the time of Thanksgiving, and I plan to attend.  I assume relatives who are at risk will decline.  On Thanksgiving itself, we may just go to a restaurant, which we normally do for lunch before I head to my parents' house.  Either that, or I force my 13yo to cook a turkey, because I'm not doing it.  😛

Not sure about Christmas, but I suspect it will be similar.

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