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How to tell your family you're skipping Christmas due to COVID-19

Public health officials across Canada are urging against indoor gatherings this Christmas. So how do you tell your family you’re not taking the risk and not coming? . One psychologist says it's best show that your reason is because you care. If you say: 'I don't feel safe...I look forward to having that spring get-together,' the relationship is likely strong enough to endure, Dr. Nancy Hurst, Edmonton-based psychologist. Other experts say to present this as postponing the holiday – not cancelling. Turning the focus on COVID vaccine news could soften the blow by convincing people the pandemic is almost over. And in COVID hotspots, try focusing on a collective idea, like suggesting everyone follow local guidelines. In Ontario that means only sticking with your own household. Quebec is allowing gatherings of 10 people over four days. Manitoba encourages people to find alternatives to in-person get togethers . Try virtual options like video dinners. Make them more personal by sharing recipes before, or dropping food off on their porch. That lets people know you're not rejecting them, that you want to see them, and that you've thought enough about it to come up with alternatives, Dr. Esther Greenglass, a psychology professor at York University. And if family members choose to hold their gatherings without you, don’t take it personally because you have no control over that. In the end, experts say there is no such thing as a safe in-person Christmas gathering. There is risk in being physically in the same room... And the bottom line is that it really takes one person to start an outbreak, Dr. Vanessa Meier-Stephenson, infectious disease researcher, University of Calgary
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