Linda Kelsey, (pictured) doesn’t mind excluding people who are’selfishly incapable of getting jabbed’ during her Christmas plans
By Linda Kelsey
Although Christmas is a season that promotes peace and goodwill it has its limits. If it came to anti-vaxxers I’d have no hesitation in excluding them from the festivities.
My family celebrates Christmas Eve with a big dinner. Three days of preparation are required to prepare the food and serve up to 20 guests, from children as young as three years old to older adults. All extended families and friends, including those who wouldn’t normally be alone are welcome. In other words, I’m a pretty generous hostess, even willing to host vegetarians and vegans who shun my lovely moist turkey. But there’s no place for anti-vaxxers.
The ‘rest of us’ includes several people in their 60s and 70s. I’m clinically very vulnerable, as is my 80-year-old pal who has kidney disease. I’d be mortified if one of my guests gave her Covid because he or she had selfishly failed to get jabbed.
I’d never pull crackers with this selfish lot
It’s not that I’m averse to all risk. Despite the ominous-sounding Omicron, I’m determined to make this a magical Christmas after last year’s paltry affair.
The small kids aren’t vaxxed, and there’s always a chance that someone will be harbouring the virus as a result of socialising in the run-up to the holidays, but I’m not going to ban my partner’s little grandson or my great-niece and great-nephew from the house. I just don’t want anyone who doesn’t take Covid seriously sitting at my table and souring the celebrations.
This has become a nightmare Christmas for one couple that I know.
Two adult children, and four grandchildren are theirs. Their daughter is an experienced nurse and has witnessed the devastating effects of Covid on daily basis. The son is an anti-vaxxer who loves to spout conspiracy theories and his wife has demonstrated against vaccinations outside her own children’s school.
‘They’re not bad people,’ my friend told me, ‘and I love my son, despite his incomprehensible views. However, my daughter refused to talk to him. So it was either cancel Christmas or choose.
‘I’ve had to tell him he can’t come on Christmas Day, and we’ll meet him and the kids in the park on Boxing Day and hand over the presents then. It makes me really sad.’
My view is that anti-vaxxers not only are selfish, but also irresponsible. In a free country, they are entitled to think what they like — just don’t expect me to pull a cracker in their company.
Melanie McDonagh (pictured below) states that exclusion is “not in the spirit and season of the day.”
By Melanie McDonagh
What if someone was not vaccinated and they wanted to attend a Christmas party? It would be a helluva! My Christmas dinner table is open to all. It’s not in the spirit of the day or the season. All are invited.
I have one good friend in my home town who isn’t vaccinated; she’s a refusenik and elderly — in her 70s. She has resisted all of the government’s warnings and her family’s advice. But she is also an intelligent woman who doesn’t care to be bullied or coerced. I’m going to be inviting her for Christmas lunch this year.
My mother died of Parkinson’s disease two years ago; she was vulnerable. If my mother were still with me, would I not have kept my friend in touch to protect her?
No. If they shared a Christmas lunch, I would have kept the windows open — like a sanatorium, as my mother used to complain — and probably killed us with pneumonia. My mother and my two vaccinated children would be at my side, so I would not have sat next to my friend. However, my friend was still welcome.
My Irish cousin has an autistic son. When her daughter traveled from London last Christmas to celebrate with her family, her mother kept her son apart during quarantine. Both ate Christmas lunch separately. They were nevertheless under one roof. There is one thing we could do with close family, and that’s ask them to take a Covid test.
It’s not in the spirit of the day to turn people away
No, I wouldn’t do it with my friend — she’d be insulted. My family would be required to take a lateral flow testing before I let her go. It is our responsibility to make sure she does not become a risk.
Covid kills. It claimed the life of my father in law, who likely contracted it from an untrained family member.
I am very conscious of the possibility that infection could occur. It is possible to have Christmas exactly as you want it to be, if everyone in the family is aware of the dangers and takes precautions to ensure that they are separated.
The tradition of Christmas hospitality is fundamental to the season and I won’t compromise on it.