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The stress of a family holiday may worsen with vaccination questions

Posted at 9:51 AM, Nov 16, 2021

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — For some families, vaccinations may play a part in who gets an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner. Some counselors say that's okay to do depending on a person's personal values and boundaries, but you'll likely want to present your decision in a way that doesn't burn any bridges.

Thanksgiving is just like any holiday, and not immune from the uncomfortable conversations that many families frankly dread. But this year, those conversations are likely going to be a bit different.

"There's a lot of excitement of being able to be with family again but there is also a lot of stress and uncertainty related to this pandemic because it's not over yet," says Courtney Klapa a licensed Counselor at Rogers Behavioral Health in Appleton.

Klapa says with the ongoing pandemic and the politically charged discussions regarding vaccinations, many are already having tough conversations with family members.

"The best thing to do is know yourself, know your boundaries, and know your values. If you are hosting family, it really is up to you who you want there," adds Klapa.

Having folks over who are vaccinated or unvaccinated is ultimately a decision for the host. Klapa says if you prefer only a particular set of guests this year it's probably best to say so early on, and in a way that doesn't come off as a judgment.

"I love you. This isn't anything that is personal. This doesn't mean I love you any less. This is just something I am feeling really anxious about because I am feeling this anxiety. Maybe we can get together down the road," says Klapa explaining one option of explaining to a loved one you're not comfortable with their presence at a gathering.

And if you don't know where a relative stands on vaccines, Klapa adds it's okay to ask before inviting them into your home. Adding that while the uncomfortable family conversations may be starting a bit earlier this year, a loved one will understand we all are dealing with the pandemic in different ways.

"At the end of the day your perspective is yours, their perspective is theirs and it's okay to not see eye to eye on these things," says Klapa.