Dear Amy: My sweetheart wants to plan a family trip. At first it just involved our household and one other household. Now it has expanded to include many other households.

I am uncomfortable with this, and have said as much.

The families involved have made suggestions to make me more comfortable, such as checking temperatures, etc., but I think it is a dangerous idea to gather in this way.

How would you navigate this?

Amy says: Here's how I am navigating this sort of dilemma: I'm doing it by saying "no." This can be surprisingly hard to do, especially when considering the competing agendas that surface during the holiday season.

I don't consider myself in a high-risk group, but I interact with others who are. I consider a "no" now to be an investment in a future "yes."

If your sweetheart decides to take this trip without you, he should be tested just before he goes, maintain safe practice while he is gone (not just temperature taking, but masking, maintaining good ventilation, and social distancing), and then he should isolate elsewhere after he returns and re-enter your home only after he has a safe test result.

You should assume that he will not maintain ideal COVID protocol while he is gone, but isolation and testing afterward should ease your mind, and might protect your household.

Reach out to sick aunt

Dear Amy: I have an aunt who is at the end of her life. I live in a different province, and due to COVID I won't be able to say goodbye in person or attend the funeral, but I do want to send flowers and donate to a charity.

Does the etiquette surrounding flowers/donations change? Should anything be sent to the dying person, or should it be treated like a regular passing and flowers be sent to the family after?

Amy says: Do not send your aunt a funeral spray. But if you think that a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers would make her happy (I could imagine that it might), then send them to her.

The most important thing for you to do for your aunt in advance of her death is to let her know how much you love and appreciate her. Whether that is through a card, letter, a video shot on your phone and shown to her — you have the opportunity to tell her that you love her, and that she means a lot to you.

After her death, you could send a bouquet or a food basket to her nearby family members, as well as donate to a charity in her memory.

Giving notice

Dear Amy: My daughter graduated from college two years ago, with a biology degree and an desire to attend a physician assistant program.

She did not get in anywhere last year, but I encouraged her to keep trying.

She had been working as a technician for an eye doctor.

Last month, she took a new position and moved across the county to the same town as us. The new job pays much better, and she is doing well.

Right before she started, she got an interview for a great PA program back East.

Now, a month into her new job, she has been accepted into that PA program. She will have to be in place 10 months from now.

My question: When should she notify her new employer that she will be leaving?

Amy says: Congratulations to your daughter! Her (and your) persistence paid off.

She should not feel any pressure to announce her plans until she is farther along in her current employment. Depending on the culture at the office and her relationship with her employers, I think that giving them six weeks' notice is generous and ample, giving them time to conduct a search, and for her to potentially help to train her replacement.

Send Ask Amy questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.