Show your family how important they are
Drive-by baby showers. Virtual Passover Seders. Birthday parades. Halloween scavenger hunts.
We’ve gotten creative about celebrating holidays safely this year. But our biggest holiday challenges lie ahead, and it’s time for grandparents to make a plan for them.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah celebrations center on the time we spend with the people we care most about. They are important holidays for making memories and sharing traditions. If you’ve always gathered for Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house, it’s hard to imagine the holiday meal anywhere else, or without everyone at the table.
Like most military families, my family and I have had our fair share of holidays far from extended family. I’ve had Christmas dinners on an airplane, in a Chinese restaurant in Rome, and with only a sick child as my companion. These years stand out not because they were sad or lonely meals, but because we found ways to celebrate even when we had to deviate from tradition.
This year, we all need put science over tradition, adjust our expectations, and find new ways to celebrate with—or without—the ones we love.
The expectations are the biggest hurdle for many of us. The human brain is a champion of justifying what it wants to do, even if science, common sense and its best friend are telling them it’s a bad idea. So if you really want to have everyone home for Thanksgiving, you can easily convince yourself that it’s not that risky because everyone has been “really careful” and you’ll keep the can of Lysol handy.
Unfortunately, the science we’ve accumulated on Covid tells us there is no way to share a meal inside safely, so if anyone is carrying the virus, everyone is at risk. If we truly feel that nothing is more important than our families, then we need to do everything we can to keep them safe. It’s up to us as grandparents to safeguard the health of ourselves, our parents, our children and our grandchildren. And this year, for many of us, that means not gathering them around our table.
Now is the time to talk to your families. If you are lucky enough to already be in a bubble with your family, keep your celebrations to just that bubble. Let other family members know that you won’t be visiting, and that you realize it’s safer if they celebrate without you. Share your recipes, share your memories, share what you are thankful for—but don’t risk sharing this virus.