Opinion | Skipping a trip home for Thanksgiving shouldn't earn you a guilt trip

Opinion | Celia Viggo Wexler: Covid-19 makes Thanksgiving travel risky. Staying home shouldn't earn you a guilt trip. - @NBCNewsTHINK

11/22/2020 7:20:00 PM

Opinion | Celia Viggo Wexler: Covid-19 makes Thanksgiving travel risky. Staying home shouldn't earn you a guilt trip. - NBCNewsTHINK

Don't make us present medical journals or risk models to make our case for not attending. If we're fearful about our health, that should be enough to accept our choice.

No one can lay on guilt better than close friends and family members. So the season synonymous with spending time with loved ones will now be replete with arguments, recriminations and manipulation. It takes a lot of stamina to stick to one’s guns and not give in. Indeed, The New York Times

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recently consultedtwo clinical psychologists, a family therapist and an expert on negotiation about the appropriate strategies to navigate this new third rail of relationships. (How did declining a dinner invitation become as fraught as trying to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or figure out a decent conclusion to Brexit?)

But we shouldn’t have to present medical journals or risk models to make our case for not attending. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of love and celebration. If I am anxious and fearful about participating, that should be enough of a reason to accept my decision to decline.

Nov. 20, 202004:58Granted, not all families play the guilt card. But if they extend an invitation to a relative or friend they know is at higher risk, isn’t that itself an inducement to attend? Wouldn’t the kinder gesture be to let them know they’re welcome, but to actually discourage them from showing up, particularly if it involves plane travel? Loved ones may not want to admit it, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. As

the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it, “A Zoom Thanksgiving is a lot better than an ICU Christmas.”This comes down to one value: genuine concern for the physical and emotional well-being of the person you presumably love.

Consider my friend, a cancer survivor past 70 who has faced a barrage of family engagements this year. She’s taken several plane trips to attend birthday parties and at least one baby shower, though her relatives don’t wear masks or social distance when they’re together. She told me that she goes to these events mainly because her family is so happy to see her.

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THINK I love my mom. So I won't be travelling to her. My husband and I work in mental.and physical healthcare. We can't afford to guess about whether we're carrying COVID. There's no guilt. I miss her, but I love her too much to possibly infect her. THINK Haven’t traveled for thanksgiving in YEARS. I live in the same town as my parents it’s never been a problem. You’ll all live. Learn to cook.

THINK While we’re on the subject - How You Can Tell When Another Wave of Covid is About to Strike (Read This - It May Save Your Life!) THINK 'Staying home shouldn't earn you a guilt trip.' And choosing to travel should not earn you a guilt trip either. THINK Unfortunately, an unforgivable and unimaginable percentage of folks are going to carry on as if we're not in the grips of uncontrolled community spread of a deadly virus. Source: