How to say “no” to a Thanksgiving invitation

CDC recommends against traveling for Thanksgiving 0:45

. – With Thanksgiving just days away, coronavirus cases continue to increase in many parts of the U.S.

Health experts have urged Americans to modify their vacation plans this year, encouraging people to celebrate in their own homes or host socially distant gatherings outdoors.

But if you need to decline a Thanksgiving invitation, etiquette experts have some advice: They say it’s a good idea to express your choice personally.

Using “first-person statements,” or statements that begin with the first-person pronoun, make it clear to your loved ones that your decision has nothing to do with them, said Kianga Kelley-Crowley, founder and owner of Simply a Lady, a etiquette and communications consulting firm in Wichita, Kansas.

“It’s okay to say, ‘I’d rather not meet everyone’ or ‘I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to attend this year,'” he said. Take responsibility for your decision. Take responsibility. Tell your family members the truth. It is perfectly acceptable to say that you are focused on your own safety and that you prefer to stay home.

Zoom to remove limits on video calls on Thanksgiving 0:26

Lisa Mirza Grotts, who calls herself the “Girl of the Golden Rules,” added that her buzzword of the season is risk.

The etiquette expert said she has focused on explaining her decisions only in terms of potential danger, nothing more. This approach has made it easier for him to deliver unpleasant news, he noted.

“When you share your feelings in the context of risk (‘I don’t want to spread the virus and put others at risk’), the sentiment is very frank,” said Grotts, who lives in San Francisco. This is one of the easiest outings there will ever be. It is not about you. It’s about others and what you can do to them.