Every year at Christmas, the members

Mariashiara Montera

The family comes from all over southern Italy, where they share their stories and regional favourites, from spaghetti and mussels to fried fish and classic dessert panettone.

This year Miss Montera is spending the holidays alone. His mother, aunts, uncles and cousins are also left behind.

My mother is nostalgic, but she knows it’s safer for everyone, said a 40-year-old independent consultant who lives in Turin.


Mariachiara Montera is planning to eat windows this year on Christmas Eve instead of fish, not only to get homesick in Turin.


Mariashiara Montera

For many Christians around the world, Christmas is the highlight of the holiday calendar. But this year, families face a dilemma: Whether we meet despite the risks of the Covida 19 pandemic or whether we play it safe and reduce its magnitude at the expense of tradition. Many try to intervene, plan small holidays and reduce the risks with common sense, sharpened by hiding the virus for a year.

Carrie Milligan

from Fairport, New York, is torn between spending Christmas with her parents aged 80 and 83 or leaving for the first time in her life. She and her sister, husbands and children usually go to church together on Christmas Eve and then sleep with their parents to open presents together the next day.

The thought of not doing it makes me sad, but we don’t know yet, Mrs Milligan. The big problem is my parents.

To increase her chances of spending Christmas together, Miss Milligan’s mother cancelled her annual Thanksgiving dinner, which is usually attended by about 50 parents. Ms. Milligan has also been away from her parents since the number of cases has increased again.

In the United States, restrictions on meetings vary from state to state. In Europe, many governments have tightened travel restrictions and socialisation to counter the influx of infections in the autumn by cancelling large Christmas gatherings. In most Alpine countries the ski resorts are closed and in Italy it is even possible to travel between the regions from the 21st century until today. From December to December 6. January is forbidden.


Carrie Milligan took her daughters to the ceremony and set up Christmas decorations in advance to put them in the holiday mood despite the pandemic.


Carrie Milligan (2)


However, some countries, such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany, intend to relax some of these restrictions only for the holiday period. Some scientists fear that such relaxation, which could postpone the Christmas holidays this year, could pave the way for a new resurgence of the infection.

The problem won’t be people thinking about how to protect their families, but in people who don’t care, he said.

Alexander Kekule,

a German virologist, who believes the government should have tightened restrictions a few weeks ago to reduce the number of infections before Christmas.

On Sunday, Germany announced that it would close shops, schools and kindergartens that were no longer needed from Wednesday to mid-January, which would lead to greater isolation as the holiday season approached, as the number of infections continued to rise.

Mr Kekule and his family members meeting for Christmas will be isolated a week before the holidays, and he will check on everyone on Christmas Eve before meeting them, he said, a privilege not available to everyone in Germany, where rapid tests are not yet widely available.


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An opinion poll published on Tuesday by the German Army University in Munich showed that although more than two thirds of Germans agreed with the country’s restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, 42% said they could break the rules at Christmas.

Even within families, the question of whether exercise at Christmas and in the run-up to Christmas can be exercised with caution can be controversial.

Amelia Martin,

who lived in New York at the start of the pandemic, is still angry with a family member who attended Thanksgiving dinner when he had symptoms of Covida-19. A parent later tested positive, but none of her relatives in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina seemed to think it was a big problem, Martin said.

We survived the blockade of New York, we thought my daughter’s best friend was going to die, we heard the sirens all the time, but the people here in the countryside didn’t, said Mrs Martin, who has now moved with her husband and daughter to a small town near Plumtree. They don’t see my fear as real.

Mrs. Martin believes that it is not safe to visit relatives on the spot until they have all been vaccinated. At Christmas, she still hopes that her two younger sisters will visit her and they plan to isolate her for two weeks and give her a test before the meeting. At the usual time, she said she would welcome at least 20 people into her new home and participate in her family’s Christmas party, a tradition that has existed since 1952.

Recent measures to distribute vaccines in many countries have not yet made much difference to families’ Christmas decisions. Some people, like Mrs Martin, say that there is still too much uncertainty about when the vaccines will be available so that everyone can make decisions based on those vaccines.

We still have to survive the winter, it’s not over yet, she says.

While holiday planning can generally be a joyful foretaste, the balance between security and the shock of expectations in the middle of a pandemic can have the opposite effect, adding emotional stress to already overburdened households, he said.

Kristina Yohim,

a psychotherapist in Berlin.

In the Western world, Christmas is traditionally associated with intimacy, unity, family and friends, and in these times of reticence, we become even more aware of everything we miss, said Mrs. Yokim.

Etienne Balmadier,

85 years old, will not be able to attend the traditional French Christmas dinner of seafood and foie gras that her daughter usually takes home in the suburbs of Bordeaux, in the southwest of France. He is not allowed to leave the nursing home and the visit is strictly regulated.

During the race of U.S. states and hospitals for the first Covid 19 vaccines, Daniela Hernandez heard the hospital administrator and vaccination specialist talk about the logistical challenges of this first phase of the vaccination process. Photo: Victoria Jones/Pa Wire/Zuma Press

Anne-Joel Balmadier

hopes she can at least bring her father oysters, a bottle of chilled white wine and a present for her mother, who lives in the same institution and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s hard not even to hug them, said Mrs Balmadier, who will be celebrating this year alone with her two sons.

In a year in which more people are lonely at Christmas than usual,

Sebastian Furman,

The pastor of a Protestant church in Berlin wanted to enable as many people as possible to attend church services safely.

As in many countries, the number of people admitted to churches is limited in Germany. Father Fuhrman will preach on the playing field of an amateur football stadium, which can accommodate up to 500 people and between which there is a large gap. The trombonists will be at least 20 feet apart.

Cancelling Christmas is a great sacrifice for many people, says Furman. I wanna at least do people a little normal.

Write to Ruth Bender at [email protected]

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