Learning to Say No: Setting Firm Boundaries During the Holiday Season

Contributor: Kelly Everson, MA, contributor for Addiction Hope


Christmas snowmanThe holiday season is just around the corner. Goodbye boredom; welcome exhilarating time!

This season comes with lots of spending and fun activities. The one time when you are allowed to let your hair loose and have fun. But there is another side to it. Apart from being a season of celebrating and having fun, this time can also cause great strain on your life.

You don’t want to remember this as a time when you made the most grievous mistakes of your life. Imagine waking up next to a total stranger after imbibing on too much alcohol at a party the previous night or having overcharged your credit card while trying to entertain friends. Is that not right?

You don’t want to go that direction. You should only have splendid memories: ones that will leave you rejuvenated not depressed. The attempt to ensure we do not regret after the season is what brings us to the question: how do you ensure you do not over indulge? How do you ensure you keep yourself in check?

1. Budget

Holiday season is synonymous with spending time. You have to make lots of purchases. This is also a time when stores have the most attractive offers. If not cautious you could end up draining your accounts buying unnecessary stuff and trying to impress people.

This is where a budget comes in. It helps you buy stuff that you have allocated money to and avoid unnecessary largess. So ensure you put aside the money you intend to spend. This money will direct your plan.

2. Plan in advance

Table full of FoodPlanning is paramount before you embark on any venture. In this regard, it helps give you a layout of the things you intend to do. For example: where you will be spending your holiday. Is it in Hawaii or the sandy beaches of Africa? This will help avoid peer pressure moments where you will feel inclined to go where you mates are going.

For instance: Suppose you are engaged to this awesome lady. Then she comes and tells you that her best friend and her man are flying to Africa for the holidays. She rants about how beautiful the wildebeest migration is and how she would sell a kidney to go. She literally cries trying to convince you to take her to Africa.

There are two end points to this. You could either decide to overdraw your account and probably take a loan to cater for this travel or you could just decline and risk her hating you forever.

What can you do?

You do what any reasonable gentleman would do: you say NO. You can’t afford it.

“So where are you taking me?” she asks.

You stand there tongue-tied because you don’t have a plan. She storms out of the house muttering about how she does not know how she ended up with a fool like you. She dumps you. Your life falls apart and your holiday is ruined.

Now, all this could have been averted if you and your partner had laid out a plan on where to go. The budget and plan would have helped convince her why it is impossible.

“See baby, $1000 is not enough to grant us a breathtaking experience here in the U.S. but it can book us into this amazing resort.” You would have calmly said. So plan in advance unless you want to be with no money for home expenses and other provisions.

3. Set your own rules and stick to them

One thing you have to remember is that life continues after the festivities. What image do you want to hold after all is said and done? Do you want to be that damsel who drank herself silly during the company’s party and threw up on the boss?

Man driving truckOr that guy who starts the year with such a bad stomach nobody wants to sit in the same room as him? This is just the best of what could happen: it could get even worse.

This is why you need to set rules on what you will drink or eat during the parties. Don’t throw your plans to the wind just because its holiday time. You don’t have to grace every party and drinking spree say no if it was not on your plan. Take time to sleep. If the doctor said no alcohol then keep it that way.

You don’t have to taste every dish just decline. Your host won’t take offense. And finally don’t play cool by bending backwards to entertain people. If you can’t afford it, you can’t give it. Ensure you follow your budget, plan and rules to the letter. These will save you big time.


The holiday season can bring forth numerous unpleasant repercussions if you don’t trend carefully. This is why you need to set boundaries and observe them to ensure you smoothly transit to the next season without being broke or embarrassed. Learn to be assertive this holiday season.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What planning steps do you take in order to maintain boundaries and stay sober during the holiday season?

Kelly EversonAbout the author: Kelly Everson is an American author and has an MA in English literature. After spending time as a writer in some of Health Industries best websites, she now works as an independent researcher and contributor for health news related website like Consumer Health Digest. In her spare time, she does research work regarding Beauty and Women Health, Fitness and overall health issues, which acts as a fuel to her passion of writing. When she is not researching or writing, you can find Kelly staying active, whether it be practicing yoga or taking swimming classes. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 16, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.