Guide to Healthy Holiday Boundaries

Healthy Holiday Boundaries


Healthy boundaries mean you are looking after your own needs and not after another adult’s. The biggest boundary problems occur when you put someone else’s needs before your own and allow yourself to be mistreated or devalued. Healthy boundaries are key to an enjoyable and relaxed holiday season.


The holidays add some extra challenges when it comes to healthy boundaries.

As you know, the holiday season means more social commitments, financial pressures, family gatherings, more eating and drinking. You may find yourself over-stressed and off your normal routine of exercising, sleeping, healthy eating and other positive coping activities.


It becomes easy to make excuses and make unhealthy choices “because it’s Christmas”. You may become more passive and not want to voice your needs for fear of ruining the holiday with an argument. Being around family can also mean slipping back into old relationship patterns that you’ve worked hard to untangle yourself from.


Don’t let the holidays become an excuse for poor boundaries.

I put together this guide to healthy holiday boundaries to help you stay focused and true to yourself.

  1. Ask for what you want or need.
  2. Say “no” without guilt.
  3. Say “yes” because you want to, not out of obligation or to please others.
  4. Let go of trying to control what other people eat, drink, wear, say, or do.
  5. Be empowered to skip, go late, leave early, or drive your own car to holiday parties.
  6. Express your feelings in an assertive and respectful way. Avoid passive-aggressive behavior.
  7. Take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  8. Spend time with supportive people.
  9. Take responsibility for your own happiness and don’t be a martyr.
  10. Don’t make excuses for yourself or anyone else.
  11. Act according to your own values and beliefs.


Recovering Codependents' Guide to Healthy Holiday Boundaries




I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!




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©2015 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.

Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.

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