So much for 30+ years of hosting Christmas Eve at my house. No matter whether I crammed my family guests into my tiny apartment, or we had room to spread out in my townhome, it was something I looked forward to every year: my primary hostess splash.
Of course, it didn’t happen in 2020 and we were all looking forward to “returning to normal” in 2021. I say “all” but actually, I don’t want us to go back to normal. I liked this more selective socializing that Covid gave me permission to live. But…Christmas Eve…I mean, it’s tradition.
But before Christmas Eve, there was Thanksgiving and my brother’s family (the hosts) had some protocols about vaccination and testing. I’m vaccinated and boosted, and I really don’t want to ever find out how well my body will fight the virus. I don’t think we yet know what havoc it can wreak: not imminent danger, but forward-weakening of some cell, some organ, some system in our body.
And still, I’ve been inconsistent. I have worn a mask all night at a game night because one of the guests wasn’t vaccinated and from what I can see on social media, she’s quite social, and never in the company of mask-wearers. If I had a do over, I’d have just left the party. I didn’t get sick, and neither did anyone else, but still, I would leave if the same circumstances presented themselves again. And yet I have gone to restaurants and taken off my mask when I sat down, and of course I have no idea if the other patrons are vaccinated or not. How inconsistent. When did “consistent” become the high bar?
So when one of my loved ones who believes strongly that the vaccine would do her harm chose not to attend Thanksgiving, rather than test, I decided I would not have any Covid protocol for my Christmas Eve: I wanted her to have some place where she wasn’t bullied into living how we all think she should live, and I also know her social interactions are minimal. I took some comfort in knowing she hasn’t been on a plane, or out to parties, nor concerts, nor bars. My other family members, invited for Christmas Eve, didn’t share my “family exception” policy, though, and chose not to come.