Photo by Salt Water New England

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Reader Question for the Community: Are you planning holiday gatherings this season, and if so, how?

 

A Reader Question for the Community:  

For decades, our holiday season traditions have included Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas eve at one family and Christmas morning at another, and January 1st open houses, as well as other get-togethers and celebrations.  This year, I am not sure what to plan, and what to cancel.  What are other SWNE readers communicating to their friends and families?


 

   

46 comments:

  1. I'm not taking any chances. Next year things will be back to normal.

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    1. I do not share your optimism. No vaccine has been developed for SARS. The chances of finding a reliable vaccine for Covid-19 are slim despite the billions being spent on research.

      Like HIV, Covid will probably be with us permanently. Our only hope is an effective treatment but that, again like HIV, will take years to develop.

      Until then, there will be a new "normal" of mask wearing in public spaces, very limited socialising, extensive testing for air travel and professional sporting events with few spectators.

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  2. Nothing big planned for Thanksgiving, the two of us, our son who lives here, and our daughter and son in law, assuming they remain well and not exposed to COVID19. For Christmas, that or less. For New Year's Eve, sitting in front of an old movie on the TV, wearing our jammies and bathrobes, drinking a bottle of Sokol Blosser Bluebird. To me the best part of the holiday season is not the big events but the anticipation and the tamales.

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    1. Mr. Irvine is right as rain bout those tamales. Expect to be communing in the brush of South Texas with my flower girls, Springer Spaniels Poppy & Lily with a MX 8. Prefer South Texas TV...aka fire pit. Of course all conversation there is graveyard talk...not to be repeated.

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    2. Anonymous, the reference about South Texas TV is new to me, and I love it! Our two English setters are too old to hunt but not too old to lie by a fire or eat tamales!

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  3. My husband's family (5 of them) are coming to stay with us for Thanksgiving weekend. We all have and will continue to be safe and very careful. Fortunately, the house is large enough to accommodate everyone safely and comfortably. If the weather here in northeast Georgia cooperates we may move the table and everything out on to one of the porches.

    Christmas tends to be a lower key event for my husband and me. He's a priest in the Episcopal church and by Christmas afternoon he's worn out from Advent and Christmas events. Usually it's just us and some good food and wine for dinner and of course brandy alexanders while opening gifts (we do that Christmas evening).

    New Year's Eve is a non-event. They canceled the fire works in Palm Beach last year so--the bold faced donor died, and his wife declined to sponsor them. C'est la vie.

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  4. Thanksgiving with local relatives who we already see regularly. Our nuclear family all tested negative (PCR test) recently before a trip to Massachusetts to work remotely with older relatives we had not seen since last Thanksgiving.

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  5. Just immediate family. My wife and I will welcome our two married children and two grandchildren who we see often. That is if it's not the year they spend it with their in-laws.

    Stay tuned...

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  6. Mercifully no. Just the three of us. Parents and child with two cats Quiet, relaxed, calm holidays at home by the fireside. What a concept. With any luck, we'll also have some snowy Michigan woods and skiing just minutes outside the back door. A guy can dream, right?

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. That's five of you, not three. Cats are people too.

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    2. True! Now, if only Gunnlaug and Onyx would do the cooking, clear the table, put away the leftovers, and load the dishwasher following dinner. . . As I asked in my previous statement, a guy can dream, right? I suspect they'll be stretched out by the fire warming their tummies however.

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  7. Many of the above responses sound like very risky behaviors... relatives we see regularly, big house, family we see often, family remains well and not exposed to COVID. Stay in your pod. Zoom. If you want to mix it up you ideally all should quarantine and PCR test and maybe test again after travel. Zoom Zoom Zoom

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  8. As we live in the northeast, with three children and spouses living in Brooklyn, we are not taking any chances. We fully intend to spend the entire holiday season from late November through the month of December sheltering in our home with our two cats. We just learned today that one of our nephews has tested positive, all the more reason for us to play it safe. We're hoping and praying that we return to family traditions next holiday season.

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  9. Just the two us, my mother and a couple of close friends.

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  10. James Perryman IIIOctober 20, 2020 at 4:36 PM

    I just became a Jehovah's Witness, and this will be my first year not celebrating.

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    1. You will find people want to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the holiday season. No mad shopping, etc.
      MaryAnne

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  11. My son, his wife and 2 children, from Vermont and my daughter, who lives nearby us here on the Cape. So there will be 7 of us.

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  12. We are tentatively planning an early Thanksgiving, which is to be served outside on the deck, where we can space ourselves out. It isn't a cookout but a regular turkey with all the trimmings affair. The only problem is catching good weather on a day when people are available. So it isn't so much risk as it is chancy. Today was nice day, though. Tomorrow's supposed to be even better. In any event, I suppose it will be a last minute sort of thing--but with enough time to thaw out the turkey.

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    1. It's all set; this coming Saturday on the deck. Just the two of us and my wife's sister and her husband and daughter. None of the married children could make it. It's supposed to be 70 degrees!

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    2. It went well. The weather was perfect, better than 70 degrees and no wind, just the sun filtered through the falling leaves. We sat well apart and all wore masks when not shoveling food into our mouths. If only the leaf blowers weren't at work!

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  13. Thanksgiving with extended family cancelled. Will have smaller turkey dinner tomorrow it’s household family only. Christmas bundled up on the deck to exchange gifts; everybody brings their own thermos of coffee. No major family meals or indoor get-together. Would do less if thought others In the family wouldn’t lose their minds over it!
    As others have said, praying for return to normal traditions next year!

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  14. Scary times, thanks for posing this question. Trying to be very safe. Flying from CA to Boston early in December, followed by a two week quarantine at the home of some lower-risk friends my age (all in our 30s) with a couple Covid tests throughout that time. Then transferring to my parents' house where it will just be us... Though they did buy a couple restaurant-style gas heaters for the patio so hopefully we can do a little bit of outdoor visiting with other friends and family.. so long as it isn't raining or snowing, well worth it to bundle up and sit outside if it means being able to see folks!

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  15. In the immortal words of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, albeit with respect to buildings, not holiday celebrations, this year less is more.

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  16. Due to the draconian anti-Covid laws in Scotland and much of England, it is illegal for me to visit any family members, friends or even neighbours in their houses. It is also illegal to go to the pub with anyone other than my wife.

    As infections continue to rise, it is unlikely that the restrictions will be lifted for several weeks if at all. It is possible, even likely, that they will remain in place up to Christmas and beyond.

    There is therefore no point in planning any family gatherings or visits to friends unless Nasty Nicky Sturgeon and Blundering Boris Johnson mend their authoritarian, anti-social ways.

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  17. Really sad about this but our Thanksgiving (which is a major holiday with friends and family and usually number about 30 guests) is being reduced to 4 to 6 in total this year. My mother-in-law is 95 and we all will be wearing masks during the ENTIRE DAY. Also my 24 year old daughter is an IMC nurse so we have to be super, super cautious. Sorry dear friends and extended family, hopefully we will see you next year when there is a definite cure to this dreadful pandemic.

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  18. We're going to take each holiday as it comes, and make the decisions that make sense at that time. For Halloween, we are foregoing trick or treating in favor of an intimate backyard gathering of our Quaren-team - close family and friends that are part of our core 10 or less circle. Costumes, candy, apple cider margaritas, blankets, fire pit and glow sticks! I think the next few holidays will involve similar "outside the box" ways to celebrate.

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  19. Halloween has been turned into a neighborhood parade, which we'll watch from our driveway, with beverages in hand.

    Thanksgiving Informal Road Race - our turkey trot was understandably canceled - so maybe this is the year I win!

    Our traditional Open House will be outside in the yard, on the deck and in our garage barn, following the state's guest limit in place at the time.

    Turkey dinner with my three sisters and their spouses late in the day, assuming we meet the guidelines in place at the time.

    We may just head for the literal hills (NH) for Christmas.

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  20. I am SO happy to see we are not alone in our sacrifices this year! That really comforts me, so thank you for the question.

    Our plans are to keep our families and ourselves SAFE this year. Tim and I normally observe the holidays with three other family households, all out of state. (Included in those households are two octogenarians.)

    I’ve read many articles about family gatherings making people sick or worse, so we are sacrificing our family gatherings this year for the good of all.

    Christmas: All four households will enjoy our traditional Christmas brunch in our own homes and then have a zoom call.

    Thanksgiving: All four households will celebrate alone with more-or-less traditional feasts.

    Halloween: We are making trick-or-treat goodie bags to deliver to the kids in our neighborhood who are having to skip trick or treating this year. We are also turning off our outside lights and not answering the door.

    I love hearing about the sacrifices others are making this year. It helps me feel that we are all in this effort together. I hope everyone remains healthy and sensible. Here’s to staying safe!!

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    1. We are also just giving the next door children candy for Halloween, leaving it on their front porch. Otherwise turning out light, not answering door. Convinced my mother to do same.
      Thanksgiving and Christmas are still contentious, I would prefer just my wife and I and our respective mothers. I fear the other parts of the family want to gather share meals, gifts and germs.

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  21. As family gatherings of any size tragically often turn into super spreader events with best beloved people ill, hospitalized, or dead, my family is showing its devotion for each other by staying physically apart and calling often for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And quite probably for Easter 2021.

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  22. Staying home also, just hubby and me. We will order a nice turkey dinner take-out from a local restaurant that does this, bring it home to a nicely-set table with candles and eat our pumpkin pie in front of the TV. No guilt. Christmas, the same, but he and I will cook something ourselves and enjoy the day and the leftovers. Some simple champagne and appetizers for both Christmas and New Years Eve. Actually looking forward to safe, quiet holidays by ourselves. And as Heinz stated above, maybe some winter walking in the woods if we're so inclined. Stay safe everyone.

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  23. Since I remarried 15 years ago Christmas and the rest of the holidays and birthdays has not been the same. In part to the passing of my parents. My wife's family, apparently, was not much on celebrating with gifts, dinners or parties on the day of the holiday. So this year, it will once again be just the two of us, me cooking, and maybe a glass of Champagne and watching TV. Not as Merry as I would like. Cheers, to all of you.

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    1. Perhaps invite some friends for socially distant champagne and if your wife is interested she can join in the good cheer?

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  24. My 83 yo father usually travels from Michigan to Rhode Island to spend much of the winter with us after hunting season. As I work in a hospital, I feel great uneasiness in having him visit. Thankfully, my brother lives in the same town.

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  25. Between Odin's Birthday and Winter Solstice our daughter and her wife and her ex-husband will be visiting along with their animals. We hate having to heat the guest cottage, but anything for family. We are hoping that the goats and the ocelot get along better than the last time they visited. Masks for everybody, it gives us the opportunity to create new themed masks for the season. We hope the authorities will permit us to visit the son at the correctional center, although he and his sister really do not take to one another.

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    1. What happened last time between the goats and the ocelot?

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  26. For Halloween the kids will do an egg hunt at home. On Thanksgiving and Christmas we will be just with the immediate family that we quarantine with, as we are committed to keeping a couple of our high-risk family members safe. It will be nice, quiet holidays. While it is sad to not see family that we usually spend time with on holidays, everyone understands.

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  27. It will be simple, at home, but at least we will be together as a family. Thank you!

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  28. Everyone is being really careful here in tornado alley. Immediate family only.

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  29. This year, just my husband and I for a cozy dinner together and, I hope, a family Zoom gathering for a Thanksgiving toast at some point during or after dinner. A very different holiday to be sure but we'll focus on the blessings we share. As the forest fires here in Colorado rage, we pray for those who have lost so much and will have a holiday they never imagined.
    Best wishes to all this amazing SWNE community and our lovely hostess, Muffy.
    Suzanne in Boulder

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  30. Two adults and a teen, in our small condo in NorCal. We have never done much for holidays, so we are happy to not have further obligations.

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  31. We are listening to Dr Fauci and hope to be able to see our children and grandchildren by this time next year. *sigh*. It’s the only decent thing to do.

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  32. This will be our 98th family Christmas gathering. We will build outdoor fire pits,weather permitting .Social distance with masks but will have cups of cheer! Stay safe everyone and enjoy the holidays.

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