11/29/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

by Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency

Advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a common pandemic problem: hosting extremes at family holiday gatherings, from an anti-masker/anti-vaxxer to an extra-careful relative.

Dear Amy:

In our nine-member family, we have two people at extremes: One is a staunch anti-masker and anti-vaxxer.

The other is paranoid in her efforts to be safe.

All family members (except the anti’s three) have been vaccinated.

We traditionally have family gatherings at our home for most holidays.

The anti-vaxxer will usually scoff at any virus protection shown by anyone when there is a gathering.

The paranoid one refuses to come in our house if the anti has been there in the previous 24 hours.

Reasoning with either of the two extremes has been fruitless.

My wife and I are currently considering splitting the gatherings, so the two extremes do not conflict.

This is very sad and means diluting the festivities we enjoy so much.

We are hoping you may have some suggestions.

– Stuck

Dear Stuck:

As lonely as last year’s holiday season was, I have a feeling that many will look back on the weird and isolated winter holiday season of 2020 with a certain nostalgia: Eating dinner off of disinfected TV trays and watching “A Christmas Story” after the family Zoom meal might hold a certain appeal, certainly when you compare it to the complication of entertaining extremists.

You have two groups of family members representing pandemic polar opposites, but they have something important in common: Neither seems to be applying common sense to this challenge.

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You have taken this on as a problem you hope to solve, in order to provide a homespun holiday experience for everyone.

You’ve done your own risk assessment and obviously don’t believe that having unvaccinated people in your home presents a risk to you and yours.

It seems that the family member who doesn’t feel safe is inspiring you to dilute your celebration.

I think you should host your holiday meal (if you still want to) and let the usual parties know the time and place. Let them decide whether to attend.

If your more risk-averse relative doesn’t feel safe in your home and is only willing to see vaccinated family members, then could she host her own gathering on another day in an atmosphere where she feels safe?

You might let all of your family members know ahead of time that if anyone chooses to degrade other family members or engage in rude or anti-social behavior, you may ask them to leave, and everyone can try again next year.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from how to host extremes at family holiday gatherings to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff