Enjoy the Holidays by Setting Boundaries Now

Issue 1. December 2, 2022 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

If you’re dreading the holidays because you end up doing things you’re not really interested in doing, or going places you don’t really want go, or exchanging gifts when you don’t feel like it – I’ve got some good news for you!

You get to have the kind of holidays YOU want to have!

It’s OK to ask for what you really want and need during the Holidays. This could mean the type of gift that you want, the amount of time that you want to spend with someone, the amount of alone time or lounging time you have with your family, or certain destinations that you’d like to go to.

It’s also okay if people get mad at you for setting boundaries during the Holidays. It’s not the end of the world to have someone upset with you – it shows that they heard you! You deserve to enjoy the Holidays just like everyone else does!

The sooner you set boundaries with your friends and family, the sooner you’ll be able to actually enjoy the holiday season!

  • it’s OK to not go home for the Holidays
  • it’s OK to change holiday traditions
  • you don’t have to spend the Holidays with people that you don’t like 
  • you don’t have to exchange gifts if you want to 
  • you don’t have to host a holiday event this year, or ever (even if you’ve always been the one to do it)
  • you don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations for the Holidays
  • it’s OK to refuse affection from family during the Holidays
  • it’s OK to stay at a hotel instead of at your family’s home during the Holidays 
  • and you don’t have to talk about subjects that are private or that make you uncomfortable over the Holidays

Below are a few suggested scripts for some of the above boundaries you might want to set.

You don’t have to explain yourself if you’ve changed your holiday traditions. In fact, it’s never your job to convince anyone to understand your boundaries. Choosing to no longer over-explain and justify a boundary is a boundary in itself.

If you want to change holiday traditions, you might say something like, “I’m not going to _ this year.  I’d like to try something new. it doesn’t mean I don’t value our old traditions, it means I want to create some new traditions.”

It’s OK to not go home for the Holidays. You might say, “I’m not gonna make it this year mom. I know you’re disappointed, I am too, but it’s just not possible this year.”

You don’t have to exchange holiday gifts if you don’t want to. You could say, “I’m no longer exchanging gifts with friends, just family. What I’d really like is to spend some time with you.”

You don’t have to talk about subjects that are private or that make you uncomfortable. You might say something like, “I don’t discuss that with other people” or “I’m uncomfortable with this conversation, let’s change the subject.”

If you know you want to set one or more of these boundaries for the holidays, I recommend you do it today! It’s respectful of the others with whom you’re changing plans, and it gives you peace of mind that it’s over with (and that you’re not going to do things you don’t want to do!).

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Things I don’t want to live without…

If you know me, then you know I’ve been deeply and profoundly changed through the process of 12-step recovery. So one of the things I don’t want to live without is meetings. 12-step recovery meetings have been an integral part of my life for 7 ½ years now. It’s at meetings that I feel most purely myself, and where I feel most connected to others. It’s the place where, no matter how fucked up things are or were, others in the room get it. Instead of feeling judged or ashamed, I feel accepted. Because what others are really saying, just by being in the room, is, “Yeah, me too.”

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