It’s Okay to Say No This Holiday Season

Sharing why it’s okay to say no this holiday season and how it will improve your mental health, decrease stress, and help your Christmas season be the best yet! 

Does Christmas and the holiday season have you stressed? Today I'm sharing why it's okay to say no to things that don't bring you joy and how it can improve your mental health. #christmas #stressfreeholidaytips #sayno #holidays

It’s Okay to Say No This Holiday Season

Hey everyone!

Today’s post is one that has weighed heavy on my heart for awhile now, and I want to share it for anyone else out there who struggles with finding balance during the holidays.

Earlier this year I shared a post on Why I’m Doing Less This Year, and with that I’ve learned how important it is to be mindful of how you’re spending your time, and it’s okay to say no to things you don’t want to do.

In today’s post, I’m sharing how the best thing for your mental health and happiness is sometimes saying no to things that stress you out and make you overwhelmed, and although it can be hard (especially if you’re a people-pleaser), it really is the best thing you can do to make the holidays more enjoyable.

Why It’s Okay to Say No This Holiday Season

We hear it all the time that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of year”, but for so many of us it can often be overwhelming, stressful, and exhausting to say the least.

If you’ve ever did something during the holiday season that you didn’t want to do, trust me when I say you’re not alone.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been guilt-tripped into doing so-called “holiday traditions” that made me want to pull my hair out, or going to functions that I had zero desire to be at.

From ALL the…

  • Christmas shopping for 872 recipients
  • School plays and parties
  • Traveling here, there, and everywhere to see family
  • Signing up to make a feast for holiday work events

The list goes on and on…and it’s EXHAUSTING.

When it’s all said and done, you’re left exhausted and you don’t have much energy (or time) to put towards the things you do enjoy.

It’s pretty much the exact opposite of “the most wonderful time of year” and personally, I’m SO OVER this overly busy lifestyle.

Related: My Christmas Wish For You and Yours

Say No So You Can Say Yes to What Matters

I recently discovered a quote that really resonated with me and it said, “Every single time you say “yes” to something, you are inadvertently saying “no” to something else. Choose wisely.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

Every time you say yes, you’re also saying no to other things.

When you said yes to attending a social function on a weeknight, you were actually saying no to a relaxing night in.

When you said yes to buying every person in your extended family a gift, you might be saying no to a vacation with your family this year.

But just as every single yes you say has an impact, so does saying no.

It’s ultimately your choice and your decision whether or not you do something in your life.

And as a recovering perfectionist/people-pleaser this has been a total struggle for me.

But at the end of the day you have to do what’s best for YOU and your family and if that means saying no to things you’ve did for the last 5 years in a row out of “tradition” or guilt, then so be it.

And yes, saying no to something might initially upset a family member or friend, but if they truly love you, then they’ll understand.

Say no to:

  • Things that stress you out
  • Things that don’t make you happy
  • Things that take up too much of your time

In doing so, you can say yes to all the things you really want to do and the things that truly bring you joy.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes

Here’s a little helpful guide with questions to ask yourself before saying yes this holiday season.

1. Is this something me and my family truly want to do this year?

If yes, enjoy it!

If no, then SAY NO.


2. Am I doing this because I love it or because I feel guilty/trapped?

If you love it, make it a priority on your holiday list.

If it’s out of guilt, then stay strong and SAY NO.


3. Will this stress me out or take up too much time in my schedule?

If no, go for it.

If yes, SAY NO x 1,000,000.

Does Christmas and the holiday season have you stressed? Today I'm sharing why it's okay to say no to things that don't bring you joy and how it can improve your mental health. #christmas #stressfreeholidaytips #sayno #holidays

Things It’s Okay to Say No To This Holiday Season

So far we’ve covered why it’s important for your mental health, well-being, and happiness to say no to things that don’t align with your beliefs, values, or schedule and simple techniques to determine whether or not you should say yes or no to something.

Now let’s go over a list of things it’s okay to say no to this holiday season.


1. It’s Okay to Say “No” to Always Doing the Same Traditions

You don’t always have to do the same things every Christmas season.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back!

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing things every year out of tradition or even feeling like you’re obligated to do it because it’s been that way for 20 years, but traditions are meant to be happy, fun, and something that everyone enjoys.

If traditions are no longer bringing you joy, then maybe it’s time to make new ones.

Yes, it’s awesome that Grandma Susie always baked 14 apple pies every Christmas for the family, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Maybe just bake 1 pie instead and spend the extra time watching a Christmas movie with your family.


2. It’s Okay to Say “No” to Overspending and Buying Gifts For Everyone

A HUGE source of stress for many people every Christmas season is buying gifts.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to say no to overspending and to say no to buying everyone gifts.

Now if you LOVE getting everyone gifts and money isn’t a problem, then go for it.

But if money is tight, then maybe opt for cooking a special dinner and inviting everyone over in lieu of gifts this year.

There are lots of ways you can express your love for your family without spending a dime, and I even wrote a full post on this with The Best Christmas Gifts Money Can’t Buy.


It’s also okay to say no to over-buying gifts.

Your kids don’t REALLY need 25 new toys or the latest Lovevery play kit.

This year we’ve decided to focus more on gifting experiences and planning out trips to see family throughout the year, and honestly it’s so much less stressful than having to figure out what to buy everyone.

P.S. If this is an area you personally struggle with, check out How to Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need with 8 helpful tips you can put into action right now.


It’s Okay to Say “No” to Every Holiday Function

There are only so many days in December and hours in a day, and your time is precious.

It’s okay to say no to every holiday function, party, and social gathering invite you get, and it’s okay to turn down going to things that stress you out.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and if you’re spending every waking moment doing things that wear you down, then it’s time you say no.

An easy way to tackle this is by making a list of all the things you truly want to do this holiday season and then figuring out whether or not other things fit in your schedule or are something you want to be in your schedule.

Remember, it’s your choice.


It’s Okay to Say “No” to Doing Everything the Hard Way

These days there are so many helpful tools and products out there to make life easier, so take advantage!

It’s okay to say no to baking everything completely from scratch, spending hours wrapping gifts manually, and volunteering to do everything by yourself.

I promise, everyone will still love you even if you bring store bought cookies to the holiday party and if you used gift bags and boxes for wrapping your gifts.

(But if you wanna make some yummy ones homemade, I have a TON of delicious Christmas cookie recipes over here!)

It’s also 110% okay to ask for help and accept help from others when offered.

Don’t be pressured into doing too much to where everything feels like more of a burden than something fun.


It’s Okay to Say “No” to Perfection

Let go of that silly idea in your head that everything has to be perfect during the holidays.

Life still happens, regardless if it’s June 16th or December 25th, and nothing is ever going to be perfect.

It’s okay if your house isn’t always spotless, if you don’t always have a 5-course meal on the table, and it’s okay if you didn’t get everything decorated just the way you wanted it.

It’s okay, I promise.

Don’t force yourself to bend over backwards in trying to keep everything perfect and remember to slow down and focus on what really matters.


If you can relate, I hope you enjoyed today’s post on why it’s okay to say no this holiday season.

I love Christmas as much as the next person, but as an adult I now realize the many stresses that can come along with it and how overextending ourselves and doing too much can really take the joy out of the holiday season.

My Christmas Wish For You and Yours is that you say yes to things that make you happy and say no to things that don’t.

And if you loved today’s post, be sure and share it with a friend or family member that needs to hear this.

Thanks for stopping by! – Cara


Pin This Post

Does Christmas and the holiday season have you stressed? Today I'm sharing why it's okay to say no to things that don't bring you joy and how it can improve your mental health. #christmas #stressfreeholidaytips #sayno #holidays


  1. Pingback: How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don't Need - Kindly Unspoken
  2. So true!!! I heard that quote about saying yes to something means saying no to something else from The Best Yest Bible Study from Lysa TerKeurst. It’s changed how I think about things when I agree to do them. Such a great holiday message. We’ve been editing our traditions this year to make them work for us and leave room for relaxing at home.

    1. It’s honestly such a powerful reminder to really be mindful about what we say yes and no to in life. So glad to hear you all have been having a great holiday season so far!

  3. This is such a great post and really well said!! It’s definitely something I’ve been working on this year! Sometimes you just can’t do everything, even don’t want to, and that’s okay – there’s no need to feel guilty about it!

    Georgia Rose |

    1. Thanks, Georgia! I couldn’t agree more! A lot of times I can’t do things for time constraints, but then there’s other things I truly just don’t WANT to do, and that’s okay too. It’s your life and your decision on how you spend your time. Happy Holidays!!

    1. Yes! So well said, Kate! I’m so glad to hear you’ve been doing less lately and focusing more on the things you actually want to do. Hope you and your family have the best holiday season!

  4. This is such a great post, Cara and well-said on everything! Ryan and I definitely have pushed back on some things this year, and while saying no hasn’t been the easiest for others to accept it has made a world of difference for us. The holiday season is so ridiculously busy, and sometimes we don’t have anybody else to blame for that except ourselves. It’s nice to be able to say no to some things and then say yes to things we don’t usually have time for/want to enjoy! I love that you’re focusing more on gifting your boys experiences/trips throughout the year – those are the things that they’ll remember and cherish most anyway instead of a bunch of new toys!

    Just sayin’,

    1. Thanks so much! I feel like so many people try to hide under the facade that Christmas time is perfect, but let’s be real it can be extremely stressful at times if you get inundated with trying to do too much and please too many people. It can be hard saying no to family, friends, and groups you’re part of, but honestly we’re only human and there’s only so much we can do. I’m so glad to hear you all have been doing less and are happier as a result! And I’m all about the experiences nowadays- I’d much rather spend money on experiences and vacations etc. than a bunch of stuff I don’t really need. Hope you all have a great holiday season!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *