ROCHESTER, Minn. - Millions of people will be traveling for the holidays, but there are plenty of people choosing to opt out of celebrating in-person this year.
One doctor at Mayo Clinic explained it's okay if that's you. The most important thing you need to do is make sure your loved ones know why you're staying home for the holidays. Not gathering in crowds, even if it is your family, is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Dr. Craig Sawchuk said be honest with them and stick to your values. "Sometimes, we may get pushback because people may feel very strongly about their opinions and why you should be with them," he explained. "And we understand that it's coming from a good place. But those times, it's good to be in a broken record routine: 'I love you. I want to spend time with you and I'm choosing to sit this one out this year.' And you may have to repeat that phrase a couple of times."
Some topics you can bring up during the holidays are 'how many people will be there and are masks going to be worn?' Dr. Sawchuk stressed the importance of sticking to your values and be clear with your loved ones about what those values are. To avoid having an argument, keep the conversation short, sweet and to the point. "Sometimes, you know, we can be pleasantly surprised. They may be understanding, on the same page with us, as well," he said. "But other times, they may not understand, and that may cause some friction."
Having that conversation the earlier, the better. Another piece of advice Dr. Sawchuk has is remember to be empathetic when you're talking about your decision to stay home and avoid turning it into a debate. If you choose to stay home, there are plenty of other ways you can still stay connected with your loved ones and celebrate, like hosting a virtual gathering.