Guest post by Kim Kash
Does your holiday season consist of rushing from craft fair to Christmas party to shopping mall to family gathering? Are you feeling overcommitted, overstimulated, and overstuffed? Then it's time to learn the fine art of saying no. People think saying no is so ... negative! But a kind-hearted no often creates more relaxation and joy during the holiday season, for the giver and the receiver. Let's talk about how to say no without causing hurt feelings or offense to your loved ones. It's a wonderful thing, no?
- No drama. Sometimes there are holiday get-togethers that just don't interest you. When Cousin Mary Lou invites you to her yuletide singalong this year, you can respond with a simple no. Just say, "I'm sorry I won't be able to join you," or "No, I can't be there, but thank you for inviting me." Don't waffle about it. Don't say yes and then fail to make an appearance, as that can cause hurt feelings. Don't say you'll try to stop by, because that sends poor Mary Lou the message that her big shindig is on your B List. Most importantly, don't go overboard with a bunch of drama about how bad you feel to be missing the event. It's just not necessary. (Plus, if your performance is really convincing, she may change the date so you can be included. Nooooo!!!)
- No explanations. When someone invites you to do something you don't want to do, it's enough to offer a gracious no. Many of us feel an irresistible urge to justify. To explain. We lay out our entire, crazy schedule for inspection. That way, everyone can see why it's simply impossible to squeeze another thing in. In fact, nobody cares. The only useful piece of information is whether you will or will not be attending a particular function. My go-to expression is, "I have another commitment." It works like a charm.
- No, but... Maybe you love hanging out with Cousin Mary Lou, but you just cannot bear to stand around the piano belting out "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Instead of feeling like you have to go to the dreaded singalong for Mary Lou's sake, try something like, "I'm so sorry I can't be at your holiday singalong, but I do want to see you. Can you join me for a hike the next day?" You've sent the message that you want to spend time with Mary Lou, which will make her happy. Plus, maybe you'll end up creating a great new holiday tradition that's more to your liking. Everybody wins!
- No Means Yes. Whenever you say no to something you don't want to do, you're saying yes to more time for the things you love. Yes! Maybe you said no to yet another office holiday get-together. Instead, you said yes to staying home with your family and decorating the tree. If you're rattled and overcommitted (and who isn't?), you may feel guilty and distracted all evening. You wonder, am I missing something important? Did I make the right decision? While all this is going on in your head, you're not spending good time with your family. You may as well have gone to the office party! When you're snuggled on the sofa in the glow of the Christmas tree watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, really bask in it. Be present--say yes--to the joy of the moment, wherever you are.
Kim Kash has been a writer and editor for over 20 years, many of those with Daedalus Books. The author of the bestselling Ocean City: A Guide to Maryland's Seaside Resort (Channel Lake, 2009), Kim is a founder of the Greenbelt Farmers Market near Washington, D.C. and often writes for beachbody.com, which provides home fitness video programs such as P90X2