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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

Say Bah Humbug with a smile

They may be merry and bright, but the holidays are rife with scheduling conflicts, relationship negotiations, and pricey decisions. And they are even more challenging for a busy professional, juggling year-end goals and office parties. You may find yourself saying yes to way too much, only to spend the holidays feeling crispier than a tray of burnt Christmas cookies.

Instead, start with intention this holiday season. What do you want to savor? How do you want your loved ones to experience you? How do you want to feel when the New Year rolls in?

My version of holiday bliss centers on family, music, and food. I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter in her first Nutcracker and going to Christmas High Tea. I want to sing carols, bake cookies, and read big fat books.

Most of all, I want to show up for my family as the warmest, most jolly version of myself.

But as the saying goes, you can’t give what you don’t have, and I’ve spent my fair share of holidays playing the Grinch because I overextended myself trying to meet arbitrary (and often self-imposed) year-end goals, while trying to smile through every commitment I made in the name of all things merry.

So, if all that juggling gets in the way of joy at this time of year, remember that yes isn’t the only option. It’s okay to say no or to set better boundaries. It might sound like this:

  • Let's come back to this after the break with renewed energy.

  • I’d love to, but I have already met my holiday budget.

  • No thanks, I’m catching up on rest this break.

  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I don’t celebrate Christmas.

  • Yes, if I can reserve the right to cancel at the last minute if I’m not feeling it.

  • Yes, if we eliminate the gift-giving this year and just enjoy each other’s company.

  • Yes, let’s totally do that….in March.

Be bold enough to create the space you need for the holiday you want—for you and the people who love you the most.


MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership coaching and strategic consulting to help you drive change for good.

MindFrame is based in the Greater New Orleans Area and conducts on-site and virtual services nationwide.

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