Let Yourself Off the Hook: Things You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About This Holiday Season

Let Yourself Off the Hook: Things You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About This Holiday Season

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Adrienne Breaux
Nov 26, 2015

Along with lower temperatures, holiday decor showing up in stores annoyingly too early and Christmas jingles already starting to worm their way into my consciousness, the beginning of holiday season is also the start of feeling guilty about never doing enough. Overwhelming yourself with to-do lists and comparisons with people who always seem to be kicking holiday-butt are frequent bedfellows.

But let's say goodbye to comparisons. Let's forget about not feeling enough. This year, let yourself off the hook. Here's your permission slip to not feel guilty about these things this holiday season:

1. Not giving a gift to every human you know

When you're a generous person who loves giving gifts, not giving a gift to every human (and pet) you know can be tough. But if you're on a budget, it just doesn't make sense to blow more money than you have on holiday gifts, especially if you're giving gifts because you feel like you have to. Start your gift giving list early and do a lot of healthy editing to really whittle it down to the essential people you'd like to give gifts to. Get smart to find deals or DIY gifts to save money. Or consider the kinds of gifts that don't require money, like helping out with kids or pet sitting. But most of all, you have permission to not feel guilty for not giving gifts to people you don't know that well or those you just don't want to.

2. Sending digital holiday cards (or not sending any at all)

While sending holiday cards you can hold in your hand and that you've made is sweet and charming, it should only be attempted if you, you know, want to, not because you think you have to. Sending digital holiday cards to a handful of favorite folks is perfectly acceptable (and better for the environment). Don't even feel like you have to send any cards at all; a nice call or email with holiday greetings and a "hello" can get the job done, too.

3. Not decking every single one of your halls with holiday cheer

There are any number of affordable, easy-to-do, DIY holiday decorations that can absolutely make your home feel cheery and seasonally exciting. But only if that's the kind of thing you want to spend your money and time on. You don't have to decorate your home, particularly if you're not a big fan of the holidays or if you know you'll be doing a lot of traveling. And you don't have to feel guilty if you abstain.

4. Going away for the holidays

You work hard all year long. Does the prospect of spending the little time off you have awkwardly making small talk with family not your idea of relaxing? It's important to make time for friends and family, without a doubt. But it's also completely okay to make time for yourself — so make a quick visit with family really meaningful and special, and then if you want to, take a small trip to sight-see, be in nature or relax that's just for you (or you and a partner). And don't feel guilty about it one bit.

5. Setting your own boundaries

Do you always feel like you get roped in to co-hosting that holiday party or Thanksgiving potluck with that friend who is a little too ambitious in their party planning? Do you have a really small home that you'd prefer to not be transformed into a hotel when the holidays hit? Do you love being a guest to holiday parties but in moderation? It's completely okay to set boundaries for yourself so that you actually enjoy the holidays and not feel overwhelmed. Practice saying "no" instead of "maybe.". And don't feel like you have to offer up a lot of excuses. You've got the right to enjoy the holidays in any way that makes them meaningful to you.

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