Q: How do you tell your family you won't be coming to Thanksgiving dinner this year?
A: The best way to handle this is similar to any other event — you should RSVP as soon as you know that you will not be attending. In fact, with family, you might even consider letting them know as soon as you are even considering not going.
The important thing is to be confident in your decision and in relaying that decision. Your family is always going to want you home to spend time with you, and if they think you are not set in your decision, they will try to make you reconsider. The more confident you are, the less pressure you will face.
And when making the announcement, remember that honesty is the best policy. Assuming your reluctance is related to COVID-19 being on the rise, be upfront about wanting to keep your exposure low.
JULES MARTINEZ HIRST, etiquette expert
A: Telling your family that you won't be joining them for the holidays can feel intimidating. But the reality is that everyone everywhere must face the fact that this holiday season is going to be different. Although there might be ways to commune with your family safely — provided you follow protocols and guidelines from the experts — the most responsible thing to do is to limit travel and stay home.
So my advice is to take a deep breath and call your family (yes — call them — it's a tough conversation, and hearing your voice will be important). Tell the truth about how you feel, and tell them how much you love them. But maintain your boundaries.
EMMA COULING, writer, moderator and host of the positivity program "Stay Mad Chicago"