How to Tactfully Opt Out of Family Holiday Events

spending the holidays with your familyStuck with the ever-difficult decision about spending the next big holiday at your parents’ home or your in-laws’? That predicament can be even more troubling if you don’t want to do either! Don’t worry; it’s okay to want to spend the holidays in the comfort of your own home and your own family traditions. But to keep feelings protected, be careful when you’re breaking the news. Here are our top tips to keep family relations congenial this holiday season:

Let the Blood Break the News

So it’s the first year you won’t be spending time at your parents’ home for Christmas. That’s fine, but don’t make your spouse break the news. Each partner should communicate with his or her own family about the plans (or lack thereof). Making one partner deliver the bad news to in-laws puts him or her in an awkward position.

Do it Early

If you won’t be showing up for the annual Christmas Eve fondue party, make sure you let your family know now. It’s much more respectful to communicate your plans well in advance, rather than leave your family hanging at the last minute.

Be Honest

Don’t feel pressured to come up with some creative excuse. Instead, communicate the real reasons you won’t be spending the holidays with your family. “I want to create new traditions with my kids like you did for us,” is always a good and honest way to express the sentiment.

Find an Alternative

If you won’t be spending Thanksgiving dinner with your family, it never hurts to propose an alternate get-together. A pie party on Wednesday or Friday of that week might be a fun tradition to start, or promise your attendance next year (but only if you mean it).

Don’t Worry About Approval

If your biggest goal is to make sure you’re making everyone else happy, chances are, your holidays won’t be very cheery. Be courteous, kind and respectful, but understand that you can’t make everyone happy all the time. It’s okay to put your family first.

Your turn: What’s the best way to bow out gracefully?