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  • Generally, for my family, the holidays are a time of celebration and togetherness. Large family dinners and parties, traveling to visit loved ones, and all sorts of festive activities. This year, those things are risky – and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take. It’s been difficult to decline social invitations all year, and even more so now that I’m seeing so many other families proceed with their usual holiday gatherings despite COVID health guidelines.

    There have been some hurt feelings and even a bit of resentment when I’ve explained (for what feels like the hundredth time) that my little family won’t be participating in holiday celebrations outside our home. I can completely understand the desire to forgo health guidelines for the sake of family connection. However, I keep reminding myself that saying “no” and choosing to stay home is a small price to pay if it’ll help ensure that we all make it to next Christmas.

    Just a couple days ago, I once again had to explain to someone we were unable to attend a family Christmas party. I was expecting some pushback from this particular family member, but instead, I was met with unexpected compassion. “I understand,” he said. “I respect you for doing whatever you need to do to stay safe. This must be really hard.”

    They were the exact words I needed to hear to remind me that it’s okay to say no; it’s okay to do whatever we feel is necessary to protect ourselves.

    So, if you need to hear a similar message, let me be the one to say: It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to stick to your convictions even when others don’t understand. It’s okay to do whatever is necessary to protect your health. Don’t let the pressure from others make you do things you don’t want to do. We’ve got this. You’ve got this! 

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