Life Advice



Ask Amy: Family struggles with extremes over holidays

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Stuck

Dear Stuck: As lonely as last year’s holiday season was, I have a feeling that many will look back on the weird and isolated winter holiday season of 2020 with a certain nostalgia: Eating dinner off of disinfected TV trays and watching “A Christmas Story” after the family Zoom meal might hold a certain appeal, certainly when you compare it to the complication of entertaining extremists.

You have two groups of family members representing pandemic polar opposites, but they have something important in common: Neither seems to be applying common sense to this challenge.

You have taken this on as a problem you hope to solve, in order to provide a homespun holiday experience for everyone.

You’ve done your own risk assessment and obviously don’t believe that having unvaccinated people in your home presents a risk to you and yours.

It seems that the family member who doesn’t feel safe is inspiring you to dilute your celebration.


I think you should host your holiday meal (if you still want to) and let the usual parties know the time and place. Let them decide whether to attend.

If your more risk-averse relative doesn’t feel safe in your home and is only willing to see vaccinated family members, then could she host her own gathering on another day in an atmosphere where she feels safe?

You might let all of your family members know ahead of time that if anyone chooses to degrade other family members or engage in rude or anti-social behavior, you may ask them to leave, and everyone can try again next year.

Dear Amy: My mother recently passed away unexpectedly, and I have to clean out her condo.


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