Stuff to Say No To This Holiday Season

However you celebrate the holidays–and even if you don’t celebrate them at all–the “holiday season” is a demanding time of year. Being a mom is hard enough without the added pressure of the holiday season. The commercial trappings. The office parties. The classroom parties. Family gatherings. Baking. Decorating. Gift-giving. The extended break from school that can test even the jolliest of parents.  And that little Elf, with his judgy eyes. Before you know it, something that is supposed to evoke joy and peace turns into another set of expectations we cannot meet.

I have an idea:

Before the radio starts playing holiday music, let’s get ahead of this thing and decide that we are going to actually enjoy ourselves and our family. Sammy Cahn wrote that iconic tune, “Let it Snow,” but this season let’s take stock of all the stuff we’re expected or asked to do, reflect on who and what is most important, and (sing it with me, mamas), LET IT NO!

This is easier said than done, I know, so I’ve called on some of the moms in my life for inspiration. Here’s the stuff they’re saying no to this holiday season. See if you don’t relate to some of these!


Gift-Giving Gone Mad 

I’m saying no to making so many homemade gifts for my children that I don’t have any time to spend with them over the holiday season.

I’m saying no to dozens of gifts for my four daughters and yes to activities we can do together.

I’m saying no to using credit cards. No more holiday debt that haunts us into the New Year!

I’m saying no to perfectly-wrapped presents. I actually enjoy wrapping and making them beautiful, but with four kids and two jobs, it’s just not happening.

I don’t want to deck the halls…

I am saying no to sending Christmas cards. Christmas cards completely stress me out. I never can get them done before Christmas! I’d rather spend the day baking or decorating the house with my daughter.

I’m saying no to Christmas lights. My husband and I both hate doing it, and we end up leaving them up until Spring. I’ll bank on the neighbors having festive houses that make us look festive by association!

I’m saying no to Elf on the Shelf. I’ve said no every year and it brings me enormous joy to do so!

Family is not always festive

I’m saying no to visiting the in-laws. I signed up to work instead!

I’m saying no to feeling guilty for not going “home for the holidays.” Going home means 16-18 hours in the car with 3 kids or spending $2,000 on plane tickets to spend the holidays with our parents and extended family. I’ll say yes instead to my sanity and my bank account!

I’m saying no to being the grumpy mom who always says no, and saying yes instead. Yes to letting the kids help me bake even though the mess is bigger, and going to more holiday parties that are fun even though the kids might be up past their bedtime.


Guilt…the gift that keeps on giving

I’m saying no to some of the job obligations that happen during the holidays. I spend so much time at school making things perfect for other people’s kids that my own child misses out on time with me.

I’m saying no to over-indulging this holiday season. I have a tendency to let my inhibitions go over the holidays when it comes to food and booze. This year, I’ll celebrate with moderation. 

I’m saying no to mom guilt and enjoying a grown-up Christmas party. I’ll do plenty of things with my daughter to enjoy the holidays, but I might need to get out and enjoy some time with friends when I can!

I’m saying no to fundraisers. It’s already a hectic season and I refuse to ask family members to spend more money.

I hope this list helps you think of some stuff to say no to before the holiday season begins. I wouldn’t be a good mom if I didn’t remind you that saying no to stuff is also like saying yes to other stuff–stuff that you truly care about. Stuff that just might make you truly merry.

What stuff will you say no to this holiday season?


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.



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