How To Set Family Boundaries During The Holiday Season

Most people tend to go “extra” during the holiday season. From overspending to over-eating to even over-working, people live in excess. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying yes to almost everything with no regard to boundaries. Many people usually let their commitments get out of control only to regret later after the holidays are over. They either find their bank account in negatives, ruin their diets, or spoil relationships.


To avoid future regrets, it’s only prudent to set boundaries. By doing so, you will be able to focus on what brings joy to your life. You need to clearly state your feelings, emotions, plans, and needs even when you don’t agree with the person you are interacting with. You also need to be true to yourself and find out precisely what will make you happy and not give other people a wrong impression about you.

If you often feel overwhelmed and exhausted after the holidays, then this is the right article for you. To begin, have you decided on what boundaries you want to set? If yes, then you are on the right track. Below are some of the tips to help you create boundaries during the holiday season. 



Spending Time With Family

Well, this is another debate that most people tend to go back to time and time again. Spending time with your extended family can be exhausting for so many reasons, and yet, we can’t help but keep saying yes to them. It even gets draining financially and emotionally when there are kids involved. So how do you set boundaries when it comes to family reunions?


Of course, you don’t want to come off as snobbish and proud. However, you can clearly state that you do not have time or that you can spare a few minutes to be with them. Do not feel obligated to say yes to every demand from family members. You need to make sure that your own wellbeing is considered.

Do A Needs Assessment

This is one of the crucial steps in setting boundaries. Ask yourself, what are these people’s needs? What are your own needs? Consider emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual needs. Then assess if you will be able to meet each one of them. These questions should always be at the back of your mind before you can make any commitment.

For instance, if you feel attending a family gathering that has your ex or family members that you are not in good terms with, skip it. Likewise, don’t commit to disrupting your kid’s sleeping pattern by letting them stay up until midnight for the sake of ringing in the new year. Be clear from the start and let everyone know what you expect to avoid future conflicts.

Get On The Same Page With Your Partner

There might be traditions that are very dear to your partner, but you don’t want to be part of them for whatever reason. If this is the case, have a sit down with your partner and talk things out. Is it because of finances, health, or any other purpose? Be open and clearly state this so that both of you can be on the same page. However, timing is very crucial here. You don’t want to say you are not going for a family reunion the day before the event. To avoid this choose an appropriate time, perhaps over dinner the week before, to talk about it.

Have a realistic schedule mapped out on your calendar. Yes, you will have disagreements but always work towards getting a win-win situation. Relationships are about compromise, so make sure that both of you and your partner’s needs are being fulfilled this holiday season. 

Always Communicate In Advance

If you are skipping Christmas lunch with your parents, Christmas eve is not the best time to break the news. Communicate your plans and schedule ahead of time. Also, be ready to explain your actions. Your family will certainly wonder why you won’t be able to make it.

Keep it simple. You don’t have to go into details, as long the message has been delivered. For example, you might say you and your partner are thinking of starting new traditions as a family. After this, you might be hit be opposition but stick to your guns and tell them that that’s your decision to make, however much they disagree.

If you are married, it can be difficult to split of holiday time between both families. One side or the other will likely always feel a bit rejected. In any case, always be the unifying factor. If you feel communicating via phone call will not be perceived well, then organize for a meetup and state your case.

Host A Holiday Even

The holiday season comes with all sorts of events popping up from every corner. Instead of appearing at every event in other people’s homes, commit to hosting at least one event at your house. This is a great way to do your part and also set your own boundaries around the event since it will be in your own space. 

Let Your Kids Enjoy Family Time

You might not like the idea of spending time with your in-laws, but this doesn’t mean you should deprive your kids of the opportunity. Never deny your kids the chance to bond with their grandparents and cousins; it’s essential for social development. And if you are keen enough, you will realize that in most cases it’s the children not you that relatives usually want to spend time with.

You might not be comfortable leaving your kids with relatives, and that is understandable too. However, you can consider hosting fun activities and invite all the kids over. This will be a win-win situation for both of you.

Bottom Line

It’s essential to set boundaries with your family members during the holiday season where everyone expects you to be available. By setting boundaries, it will help you and your in-laws enjoy each other’s company without clashing or feeling frustrated.