How to deal with anti-vaxxers at Christmas

How to deal with anti-vaxxers at Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s generally a time for Christians to celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ

But last year due to the pandemic, larger gatherings, such as parties, weren’t recommended because of the risk of infection.

While there are still variants of Covid-19 around, things are looking up thanks to the vaccine.

According to data from, 234.2m or 71 per cent of Americans have received at least one dose.

In an effort to help spread the message, some restaurants and other places of business in cities such as New York City require proof of vaccination to help prevent further cases of the virus.

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Despite this, some people have reservations about vaccinations. So, what should we do about the loved ones who are seemingly against the vaccination this holiday season?

At Indy100, we spoke with two etiquette experts to get to the bottom of it.

If vaccination status is a deal-breaker for who comes to the holiday dinner, how do you explain this to your loved ones?

According to etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts, also known as The Golden Rules Gal, said that “you don’t” have to explain your reasoning.

“You don’t. Your opinion on the vaccination has no bearing on family members unless you will not allow them in your home without showing proof of vaccination or a test for anti-vaxxers within 72 hours, as the CDC suggests,” she said.

Etiquette Expert, Lisa Mirza Grotts, aka The Golden Rules GalEtiquette Expert, Lisa Mirza Grotts, aka The Golden Rules GalPhoto courtesy of Lisa Mirza Grotts

Maryanne Parker, the founder of Manor of Manners, says that we need to be direct and gentle with our approach.

“We can show our understanding and position in an elegant way. Before, a hostess was never allowed to ask personal questions (and a vaccination status today is considered a personal question). Today, the etiquette rules are rather different. We will have to let our family members know that we would like to gather in a safe environment, and we prefer people to be vaccinated, or otherwise, we can suggest that we will be checking the temperature at the door,” she said.

Parker also noted that we should explain that there may be “very young” or “fragile” family members attending and “would love to keep everyone safe.”

“If there is a negative response, perhaps the negativity won’t stop there, but it will continue throughout the entire holiday dinner.”

Maryanne Parker - Etiquette Expert, Founder of Manor of MannersMaryanne Parker - Etiquette Expert, Founder of Manor of MannersPhoto courtesy of Maryanne Parker

If anti-vaccine family members are at the holiday dinner, what is the best way to talk to them about sensitive topics?

For Parker, she believes that we have to “read the room” and know the personalities of those we invite.

“Not all of our family members will be vaccinated, and perhaps they won’t even get vaccinated any time soon. For almost 24 months, families have been separated due to the Covid restrictions and now is probably the time for us all to get back together.”

She also suggests that a conversation about the vaccine should be conducted before the family function to curb “unpredictable results during the event.”

“For a hostess, the most important role is to make sure all of her guests are satisfied, excited, happy and safe during the event. “

Guests at the dinner tableGuests at the dinner tableShutterstock / Olena Yakobchuk

Parker also noted that it’s also important to “evaluate both sides” of the vaccine discourse for various reasons.

“Many people refuse to get vaccinated because they are experiencing health issues, and they were advised by medical professionals that right now might not be the best time for them to get vaccinated. Others have phobias from needles which is an obsessive fear from any kind of shots which might be a result of previous surgeries and traumatic medical experiences.”

She added: “That is why we shouldn’t judge anyone based on what we just see or hear because people do have different reasons for their choices.”

On the other hand, Grotts said that “a host will never be able to control how somebody feels” about “taboo topics of discussion.”

“Taboo topics of discussion in social settings have always been politics and religion, and now we can add the vaccine to this list. If it’s your party, then it’s your rules, but one thing’s for sure: a host will never be able to control how somebody feels about the vaccine, pro or con. If they make it clear that they’re not going to get vaccinated, that is their prerogative.”

Overall, we must keep ourselves as safe and healthy as possible while enjoying the holiday festivities.

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