Most Americans Won’t Open Christmas Presents With Unvaccinated Family, Poll Says

The growing rift between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is shaping up to disrupt the holiday season.

A woman wears antler ears on in an apparent Christmas celebration

Fall is here, which means that the holiday season is rapidly approaching. And while the vaccine rollout has made it possible for gatherings of family and friends to once again occur in a much safer way than before, people are finding one major roadblock to resuming holiday festivities: unvaccinated relatives and friends.

A poll from Harris Poll discovered that a majority of vaccinated Americans feel major discomfort regarding holiday plans that may involve unvaccinated loved ones. To conduct the poll, Harris spoke with 2,055 U.S. adults, including 1,454 vaccinated ones, about their feelings about spending time with unvaccinated family members and friends, including at holiday gatherings.

Of the nearly 1,500 vaccinated adults polled, half said that they would be “extremely” hesitant to spend the holidays with unvaccinated family members, with 42 percent saying they had already canceled an event or traveling plans because they would be with unvaccinated people.

“Our new data suggests the vaccine divide is not only reshaping relationships, but soon the holiday travel season,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said.

Of course, this problem extends beyond family, as 67 percent of vaccinated respondents said they would be uncomfortable attending large parties or events during the holidays due to interacting with unvaccinated individuals. There is a bit less discomfort for small gatherings, though 47 percent said they would still be uncomfortable being around unvaccinated individuals.

But even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, most vaccinated individuals won’t go as far as returning to the intense isolation that dominated our lives for most of last year. Just 12 percent of vaccinated adults said they would avoid events altogether. Instead, it seems that most are planning to take a two-pronged approach to safety by being selective of what events they attend and implementing safety precautions.

Sixty-four percent said they would wear masks to avoid contracting COVID, with many also saying they would practice social distancing (59 percent) and hand sanitizer (54 percent). Less than 10 percent said that they would take no precautions and simply “hope for the best” (which is pretty understandable given the last year-and-a-half). We’ll see what it all looks like when the holidays roll around.