Christmas may look a little different for many families this year.
The smaller gatherings may be a welcomed opportunity for a more informal and intimate holiday for some, but for those separated from family, it may make for a lonelier day.
But while it may be easy to extend an invitation to a friend, when it comes to outlier relationships, it can be hard to know if it would make for a kind gesture or overstepping a boundary.
Especially if the person in question was your child's teacher. That's the dilemma faced by one mum, who has asked Slate's Care and Feeding advice column if she would be wrong to ask her child's teacher to join their celebrations.
Explaining that their child's 26-year-old fourth grade teacher, 'Ms X' had spent Thanksgiving alone, as she was single and had no family close by, the mum said she wanted to give her a happier Christmas.
"We've had Ms. X as a teacher before — our daughter had her a few years ago, and completely adored her. We're under the impression that the feeling is mutual," she wrote.
"We feel close to Ms. X because of her relationship with our kids and our family, and we are all so sad to think of her spending the holidays alone. Would it be at all appropriate to invite her over on Christmas Eve or Christmas for some socially distanced cider or hot cocoa in our backyard?."
Adding that she did not want to make the teacher feel 'weird or uncomfortable' the mum, going under the pseudonym Where's the Line, fretted she may be overestimating the teacher's feelings toward the family.
"Is this a terrible idea? Or maybe there's a way to phrase it so that it's a very casual invite? I want to respect her privacy; I also want her to know we care about her."
Dishing out the advice was Ms Scott, an eighth grade teacher, who put it simply: 'This is easy. Invite her'.
"The way you don't make it weird or uncomfortable is you don't make any assumptions about how close you are or how lonely she is," she advises. Y
Adding that a note outlining the family appreciates her efforts with their kids and a casual invite for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day if she was free and an easy out of 'if not, no worries', may be a good approach.
"Even if she declines your invitation, she has this lovely note saying how you feel about her. It's always nice for teachers to hear how much we're cared for and appreciated. And my favourite notes are the ones that note specific things I've done with and for my students," she added.