COVID means we'll be celebrating a challenging Christmas like no other
With stricter COVID-19 restrictions in place, Holiday celebrations will be different this year. But for some, they don’t want to let go of the tradition, and having conversations about what to do is difficult for many people. (Jaime McKee/CTV News)
SUDBURY -- Like many things in 2020, Christmas celebrations this year will be quite different for a majority of people.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford government urged everyone in Ontario so spend the holidays with only their immediate family.
For some, this means having difficult conversations with friends and family, telling them “I won’t be attending this year.”
Johnathon Loftus, a registered social worker at Northern Ontario Counselling Clinic, told CTV News having these conversations can be tough.
“I think it’s important to just be kind, that’s the starting point for any tough conversation," Loftus said. “If it’s important for to you to not attend, then stand by that … as well as approaching the conversation with more of a sense of trying to contribute, rather than critique or criticize and trying to fix things.”
Health officials say, as of right now Northern Ontario can technically celebrate with 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.
“It is the Holidays, and we know the virus spreads through human interaction and close contact,” said public health nurse Natalie Philippe.
Prevent the spread
“So the best way to reduce the spread of the virus itself is to limit the amount of people we come in contact with these Holidays.”
For some, choosing to spend the Holidays with immediate family only is an easy decision, but others don’t want to give up the tradition.
Experts say it is best to plan the tough conversation beforehand.
“Starting off the conversation with a little bit of empathy, letting people know ‘yes I really went to be here, but I just don’t feel comfortable or safe,’” said Loftus.
“Explaining how you feel about it, and then maybe providing solutions. ‘If I don’t attend, what can we do alternatively or what can we do later once the restrictions are softened a little bit?’”
Health officials are also encouraging families to find new traditions, and celebrate in different ways than what we’re used to.
“Celebrating remotely -- you can do that by phone, video, social media, there’s a couple of apps you can download that are free to play, like Pictionary,” said Philippe.
“You’re just kind of changing you’re Holiday tradition to make it a little bit more COVID safe.”