A guide: How to talk to your family about Thanksgiving and COVID

As Thanksgiving approaches, now is a good time to start thinking about how we are going to handle possible conflicts when it comes to COVID-19. Today’s A. Pawlowski recently published an article on Today.com with some helpful advice on how to cope with unique challenges the pandemic provides during on of our most treasured holidays. Below is an excerpt from that article, we hope you find it useful:

Holidays in the time of the coronavirus come with many questions and awkward conversations attached. Is it safe to host a family gathering or attend one? Should people wear masks and social distance? How should the rules be made clear? What if you want to skip the celebrations this year?

The season may be especially rough for families, said William Doherty, a family therapist, professor of family social science at University of Minnesota in St. Paul and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project. “I think we will not have seen anything like the weirdness of (these) holidays,” Doherty told TODAY, explaining the dilemma some might feel.

“These are the main events in family life. The only thing that compares are big events like weddings and funerals so the stakes are high. The worst thing is to be seen as ‘ruining’ Christmas or Thanksgiving for everybody.”

At the same time, infectious disease experts are worried people might let their guard down when they get into holiday mode, forgetting what’s going on in the larger world. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away so there are difficult decisions ahead for everybody, said Dr. Marissa Levine, director of the Center for Leadership in Public Health Practice at the University of South Florida in Tampa.