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How to say no during the holidays

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. She has one more published book under her belt and is currently a freelance writer for SheKnows, Pregnancy and B...

Reducing stress by saying no

Holidays are a time of togetherness, family, warmth and giving. Sometimes it can also be a time of stress, especially if you've bitten off more holiday cheer than you can chew. With family obligations, travel, shopping and cooking to do, it's no wonder that the holidays can be less than joyful for those of you who do it all. If you're feeling overwhelmed during this season of joy, check out the top 5 ways to say no gracefully (and without guilt)!

Woman saying noSay no to hosting

It's the holidays and you may be asked to host the holiday party. If you have the time and desire to do so, that's great! But if you're unsure if you can pull it off, feel free to pass.

Send an email to the rest of your family and poll them on hosting -- maybe another relative has wanted to host a family party. When someone else volunteers, be sure to let them know you'll bring a dish and help out if they need it. Bringing a small gift for the host is a nice touch.

Say no to going

Many modern families are spread out -- across towns, states and even across the globe. You may feel pulled in several different directions as you plan your holiday visits, and spreading your time amongst your (and your partner's) family may not be feasible or possible.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to either choose one destination per holiday and alternate each year, or visit on another day close to the holiday. This way you aren't trying to pack in four visits in one day where no one can relax and have fun.

Say no to gifting

If money is tight this year, explain to family members and friends up front that you are only going to be buying gifts, for example, for children. Make it clear that you do not expect a gift from them. Another great idea is to draw names -- everyone in your group puts their name in a hat and you only buy gifts for the names you pick. This way everyone gets a gift but you're not scrambling to buy gifts for 25 people.

Say no to cooking

With holiday and school parties, you may be asked to supply food or treats to a number of different gatherings. While cooking is a fun hobby for many people, you might find yourself rushing to complete a last-minute cookie batch or a veggie tray.

First, see if you can find a quick and easy recipe to save time, but if not, remind yourself there is no shame in baking bread from a boxed kit or even buying something premade. Many grocery stores even have party trays you can order as well as desserts that taste as good as what you can make on your own.

Say no to guilt

Last but not least, you should learn to let go of your guilt. As mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, it's easy to get into the habit of shouldering too much responsibility. Prioritizing your time as it best suits you and your family makes your time better spent and leads to a more relaxed holiday.

Read more about putting yourself first

The benefits of saying no
How to put yourself first
Get more done with less stress

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