From the toy aisle to the Christmas dinner table, the holiday season is full of “no’s.” It’s important to be able to say no when it comes to things that you can’t do (or even don’t want to do). But figuring out how to say no at Christmas to friends and family can be a bit tricky. After all, everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving.
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I've learned the hard way that not saying no can take a toll on a person. Sometimes instead of trying to please everyone else, we have to look at what is truly in our best interest (and our family's as well).
Here are 5 tips on saying no – even at Christmas
Even if you’re saying no, you can still present your case in a positive way. If someone’s asking you to organize a holiday party or to set up decorations, try to highlight the benefits of doing things a different way rather than the negative aspects of their plan. You could even suggest resources they can look into that will help them organize a holiday party themselves. If your kids can’t live without a certain toy, try to keep them focused on the positive-like being grateful for what they have and who knows, maybe they'll get that for Christmas- rather than simply telling them no. Of course, be sure they create a holiday wish list on Amazon or write one themselves.
People can often tell when you’re feeling unsure of yourself and this can make them less willing to take no for an answer. If you want people to take you seriously, it’s important that you project confidence. You really can look confident even when you don't feel confident. When you need to tell someone no, say it with conviction so they can see that you’re serious. This doesn’t mean that you need to be aggressive or rude. Just be firm and clear, and stand up for yourself.
Find a Better Solution
If you’re telling someone no about something but you don’t have an alternative to suggest, the person you’re talking to isn’t likely to come up with a new plan. Instead, they will probably try to find a way to make their initial suggestion seem more agreeable to you. And, while a compromise like this may be better, you’ll still end up doing something that doesn’t agree with you. Instead, try to come up with an alternative plan yourself. They just may go along with it, and that way you can avoid their suggestion without actually saying no.
Avoid an Argument
Any disagreement can turn into an argument at any moment, especially during the Christmas season. With tensions running so high, even the smallest issue can turn into a Christmas confrontation. If saying no causes an argument, ask if you can discuss the subject once things have calmed down. Arguing isn’t likely to lead to an agreeable solution, and can also cause feelings to be hurt. Sometimes you have to just walk away and give the other person time to calm down.
Check out these tips for avoiding an argument so you can be prepared in case you have to say no.
Stick to Your Guns
Stick to your guns, no matter how hard someone tries to sway your decision. Remember, you don’t need to feel guilty about saying no. There’s no need to be upset about it either. The vast majority of the time, it really is in everyone’s best interest. Simple explain that you’re not saying “no” to be mean or disagreeable. Reiterate the reason or reasons why you’re saying no, as gently as you can.
Yes, believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to say “no” at Christmas. Armed with all of the tips listed above, the task is probably easier than you think.
What kinds of things have you had to say no to (or are planning on saying no to)? Would love to hear from you in the comments!