Pandemic Sparks Family Fights Over Holiday Plans

December 21, 2020 Admin

One would hope that a pandemic might bring families closer together. But at least one survey suggests that debates over the proper way to celebrate year-end holidays in the time of COVID-19 is having the opposite effect.

The ValuePenguin survey found that roughly one in four Americans say they’ve argued with their family over holiday plans this year. Yes, the study was undertaken in the U.S., but this doesn’t sound to me like something that would be that different in Canada.

Fifty seven per cent of respondents said their arguments have been about whether they should see each other during the outbreak, while 36% said they were fighting over how large of a crowd should gather for the holidays.

Another 26% argued about where the holiday gathering should be held, but that’s pretty much par for the course for any year, I suspect.

The ValuePenguin survey also had some interesting thoughts about what sources people are using to guide their decisions.

The largest percentage of respondents — 51% — said they’ve looked to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance. The next most important source of information were city or state authorities, cited by 36%.

The third most important source of information cited by survey respondents was family of friends (27%).

That’s not so bad, but 19% are simply trusting their gut instincts and 18% (gulp) are getting their safety advice from social media.

I was chatting about the issue with a Canadian friend the other day. This was before Monday’s Ontario-wide lockdown was announced, but it’s still a telling conversation.

“I’d have to my brother come over for Christmas dinner but he insists it’s not safe,” my friend told me. “I can’t even convince him to come inside the house for a minute.”

My advice, not that I’m one to be giving out life lessons, was to let it be.

“Living in a pandemic is something none of us are used to,” I said. “Everyone has different levels of fear or anxiety, and different ideas about what’s safe. If you attack your brother as being misguided or wrong it’s not going to end well, so just have to let it go.”

I suspect a lot of families are going through similar discussions. Let’s hope we don’t ever have to do it again.

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