Will you be having an anti-vaxxer for Christmas dinner? Obviously, I don’t mean as an alternative to turkey. I mean as a guest. Or perhaps you, yourself are a vaccine refusenik. Will you be asking the triple-jabbed to share your seasonal celebrations? Or are you so enraged by their stance on inoculation you wouldn’t let them in the door?
Where once it was Brexit that divided people and in some cases caused ructions between former friends and even relatives, now it’s Pfizer. Or AstraZenica. Or alleged infringement of civil liberties.
The etiquette of entertaining guests for Christmas 2021 is further complicated by the fact that, in some cases (maybe even, most cases), the fully vaccinated have genuine concerns that inviting unjabbed guests could present a threat to others with immunity issues.
The vaccinated, as we know, can still carry and spread the virus. But, as we also know, not nearly as much as someone who hasn’t been vaccinated. Those people spewing out the Covid virus like soot in the TV ads are generally the unjabbed.
And, awkward as it might be to leave one of them off your festive guest-list, when weighed up against granny’s health and well-being, it may have to be done.
Could you, would you do it, though; risk losing a friend by making it clear they aren’t welcome to share your sprouts just because they haven’t had a jab?
One possible way around the disinvitation dilemma: there have been reports of weddings both in the US and on this side of the Atlantic where the happy couple have found a solution of sorts by seating all unvaccinated invitees at the same table. Away from everyone else.
Whether this is a sensible, or an effective, measure, I don’t know. Isn’t there a bigger chance of cross-pollination of infection in Covid Corner?
Obviously, where Christmas dinner is concerned, a similar seating arrangement may be trickier still. Asking auntie and uncle to sit by themselves in the draught by the open window takes cold-shouldering to a new level.
Would you really want someone you love to feel so uncomfortable?
In fairness, where there are genuine concerns about the health and safety of another guest, you can understand why someone might feel conflicted about inviting a self-declared antivaxxer — no matter how close they may be.
But it’s a different matter when you’ve decided not to invite someone just because you don’t agree with their stance on the syringe.
We’re back to Brexit-scale bitterness here. When that debate was in full spate, even long-term friendships were swept aside.
I remember a friend telling me about meeting up at a party with someone she’d known for years. There was a debate about Brexit. She mentioned she’d voted to leave.
Your man spat out his disgust and turned on his heel. And he never spoke to her again. Whatever happened to reasonable discussion, agreeing to differ and a full and frank exchange of views?
That doesn’t happen anymore. I’m right, you’re wrong, or vice versa. That’s about the size of it.
I don’t agree with the antivaxx viewpoint. (I’m not including here people who, for genuine medical reasons, have not been jabbed.)
Even so, I can’t imagine refusing to socialise with someone — even worse barring them from my house — on account of their inoculation record.
I’d like to think my antivaxxer friends (I have a few) would see it the same way — even if they, too, might have practical concerns about mingling with me and my treble-jabbed mates.
If I’m worried about them dripping Omicron on the dry roasted peanuts, they, too, may be fearful of picking up some of my Bill Gates microchips from the salsa dip.
All round, hosting a Christmas soiree is shaping up to be a hygiene and etiquette minefield in 2021.
We all had a quieter Christmas last year (Tories obviously excepted). But, in a way, that made it much simpler.
As of now in Northern Ireland, we’re still allowed to have our parties and dinners. But we’re also being advised to have a Covid test before heading out.
Some party-planners say they will insist that unvaccinated guests have one. But who wants to go to a bash where the hosts demands you first prove you’re not infected?
Bring your own bottle is off-putting enough. I can’t see a big take-up for bring your own antigen test.
It’s been a bruising week for Boris. There’s public outrage at Tory party partying — in contravention of the Government’s own rules.
Then Wallpaper-gate reignited, following proof that Boris did get a party donor to pay for his flat revamp.
His enemies are circling. His allies are nervous. His aides are going down like ninepins.
And then, amid all that, another Boris baby. Paternity leave will be a welcome respite.
Changing nappies will be good training for the mess he’ll face when he returns to Number 10.
A list of the most Instagrammable sites in Northern Ireland has been released this week.
No matter how spectacular the backdrop, however, it still takes a certain degree of luck, or more likely, professional skill, to produce that Wow! result.
As evidence, I would submit the breathtaking image by photographer Colm Lenaghan which graced the front page of this newspaper on Wednesday showing Storm Barra at its peak.
Beyond even Instagrammable.
The nonsensical contradictions of the Government’s Covid Plan B are rightly pilloried.
In England, you’re asked to work from home, but are also allowed to work from the pub (you can see how that might catch on).
You must wear a mask in public places, but can remove it if you want to sing.
To me, such silliness is illustrated by TV football. Commentators sit in the studio, carefully socially distanced, or stand several feet apart pitch-side.
Meanwhile, in the background, literally tens of thousands of fans, bunched together, are jumping up and down singing Sweet Caroline...