Thanksgiving is less than one week away. I feel as thought 2020 whizzed by (thankfully!) and we are finally seeing the end to this insane year. As always, with the end of the year comes the holiday season. The holidays are usually filled with exciting parties, engagements, seeing family we often don’t, and even travel. Everyone looks forward to getting together with friends and family to share in the joy of their holiday traditions, and these are often “big deal” moments for families. However, this holiday season will probably look very different from year’s past.
It is not a secret: the pandemic is still happening and we are seeing another wave. We live in New Jersey and our next door neighbor of New York City just shut down their schools again! Families are beginning to cancel plans, Thanksgiving celebrations are being reconsidered, and vacations are being cancelled. 2020 strikes again!
With all of that being said, it is important to respect everyone’s comfort level during this holiday season. I have been hearing from so many people about family and friend drama due to cancelled holidays. I see siblings not speaking to one another, friends mad at each other, etc. Although this seems like another cruel game that 2020 is playing on everyone, the fear that exists in people’s minds and hearts is alive and well. Further, the fears are legitimate. Every time someone turns on the television the news is terrifying.
Some people have small children and are worried. Maybe some have sick parents. Some of us have compromised immune systems or some sort of other underlying medical issue. Some people work in medical care or in a space that demands their presence like our amazing essential workers and health care workers. Some of us just don’t want to get sick! Whatever the reason may be for the absence at holiday events, the decision should be respected and understood. The the fear and apprehension is driven by love: love for those around us who we worry about, and also love of self. Everyone has a duty to keep themselves safe, just as much as they have a responsibility to keep others safe, too.
In the grand scheme of things, canceling one holiday in the hopes that future holidays can take place is not that big of a deal. Yes, it may be painful not seeing your grandmother at the dining table this Thanksgiving, but her being at table in the future is important. If cancelling a holiday or a gathering makes you feel safe, comfortable, and morally just, follow your conscience.
On the flip side, if someone cancels plans, don’t yell and scream at them. Out of love, respect their decision and understand that it comes from a place of love and care. No one wants to cancel holiday parties. (And I am not suggesting that Christmas is cancelled! I am not the Grinch. Nothing is preventing you from jamming out to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in your own home while chugging eggnog and watching Hallmark Christmas movies.) All I am saying is that this is a painful time for everyone and adding the pain of drama and hurt feelings is not worth it.