Dear Annie: My husband has a HUGE family. They gather every year between Christmas and New Year's Eve in a hotel for at least three days. They are planning to do so this year, during the pandemic. So far, most of them plan on going, which would be almost 80 people. They are coming from Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington and Maryland. I, of course, will not be attending.
I don't think they will cancel their gathering, and I fear that my spouse or our child will contract COVID-19 and be contagious when they return.
My spouse says he's going no matter what and taking our child, too. I've told him I think it's irresponsible, and he knows I have health issues that would make me vulnerable to the virus and probably not survive it.
I take every precaution, including washing hands, wearing a mask, sanitizing and avoiding stores (I actually have groceries delivered). Could you give me advice on how to convince my spouse that going is irresponsible? It is putting not just our child's health at risk but also other people's and mine. If both of us get COVID-19, our daughter may end up with only one parent or no parents. — Not Willing to Risk It
Dear Not Willing to Risk It: I don't blame you one bit. A get-together of 80 or more people from different states is not responsible right now. Your husband is being short-sighted, especially since the vaccine is already being shipped across America and will be available to all of us during the upcoming year.
Promise him that you will attend the next family reunion with bells on. If he still insists on attending, then when he returns, he and your daughter must quarantine for 14 days and get tested.
Dear Annie: Your column in the Cape Cod Times brought back memories of how I "celebrated" Christmas when my son and his wife were living thousands of miles away.
Over a period of a few weeks, I watched for and bought items that I thought they might like. It was important that each item be wrapped separately, so I did so, and I tagged them and put them into one or two cardboard banker's boxes. I sent to them to be opened on Christmas morning. Some of the items were "serious," real gifts, but others were chosen because they would cause the kids to have a good laugh.
If any of your readers want to do this, possible items could include individual single-serving cartons of their favorite breakfast cereals, favorite candy bars, joke books, puzzles, small games, a calendar (perhaps with family dates added to it) — anything that would be appropriate for the particular recipient.
I believe I had as much fun choosing and wrapping these gifts as I suspect they had in opening them. It was a great way to be together while being apart! — Mama M.
Dear Mama M.: What a wonderful suggestion for making the best of a challenging situation. I especially love the idea of a calendar with family dates added to it! Thanks for sharing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette - is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]