This article is part of the Sailing Through Christmas series. Do you feel like you’re stretched in every direction during the holidays? Between office parties, kids school parties, church events and family get togethers, many people wind up wishing they had a clone to attend some of the events for them. Add to this that many people get married during this time, birthdays, baby showers and so on and it’s enough to take up every spare second of your day.
What’s a person to do? How can you keep everyone happy and still stay sane? The answer is that you shouldn’t keep everyone happy. It is okay to say no to some social engagements. Here are a few rules of thumb that will help you not overbook this holiday, which in itself will allow things to flow more smoothly:
- Limit yourself to no more than one or two social events per week. To add anymore into everything you’re already doing can be pure insanity.
- Only say yes if you truly feel like attending. Never say yes out of obligation. You can always send your regrets with a gift card.
- If you say yes to attending and then find you’re too tired or have overbooked, don’t hesitate to take care of yourself and your needs. Phone the person and let him or her know you won’t be able to make it after all. Try to be honest. Even if you simply don’t want to go, be honest and explain how exhausted you are or that you’ve overbooked for the week.
- A good way to phrase a no is to say, “Oh, I really wish I could attend, but…” Not sure of what excuse will be accepted? Simply say, “I’m so sorry that I won’t be able to attend. I really wish I could.” You are not required to go into lengthy explanations. You can also phone while you know the person will be at work or away and leave a brief message on their answering machine. This is a little sneaky and you really shouldn’t do it much or you risk offending friends and family, but for those pushy people who don’t take no for an answer it can work wonders.
- Save a few of your sick days and personal days for December. You’re certain to need them in order to recuperate from everything.
- Take time to enjoy the season. If your children are still young, take the time to spend with them during this important time of year and share the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. Children grow so quickly. Yet, the memories of happy holidays will remain with them forever. Take the time to bake sugar cookies, make gingerbread men, put up the Christmas tree, watch Frosty the Snowman for the hundredth time and sing Christmas Carols.
- Take the time to refresh your spirit by reading the Christmas Story in the Bible (Matthew has a good account) or to attend a candlelight Christmas Eve service. It is amazing how much clearer everything becomes when our spirits are in