Overcoming Overcommitment ~ Ways to Simplify Christmas

By Auntie Em, Contributing Writer

Image courtesy of [FrameAngel] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [FrameAngel] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every time you say “yes” to something, you say “no” to something else.

This statement was revolutionary to me. It’s changed the way I spend my time and the way I commit my time. I realized I was saying “no” to my husband far too often.

The past few weeks we’ve been trying to make it through the dangerous holiday minefields– finances, unrealistic expectations, and traditions, all of which can lead to major marital explosions. Today let’s look at one near and dear to my heart– overcommitment.

Know Your Own Limit

You must figure out how many nights a week and weekends a month you can have an activity. I happen to need a lot of sleep, plus a lot of still, quiet time at home. That’s what refuels me, and if I have more than one night-time commitment, even if it’s lots of fun, I will pay the price for several days. And if I don’t get my Sunday nap (don’t judge!), or if I have to be gone a large part of Saturday, the following week is run on an energy deficit. Two weekends in a row is more than I can handle.

So be aware that during the holiday season, especially if you have children at home, you can easily commit several nights a week and every weekend. Before you accept an invitation, look at the whole month, not just the days before and after. And consider the preparation for those activities. Many parties involve purchasing gifts and bringing food, and perhaps buying new clothes.

If you are hosting a party at your house, rehearsing a Christmas program at church, taking your children to parties for every organization they are part of, etc, you might never see your spouse. And the holiday season is too long a period to neglect your marriage.

Jami posted about a Holiday ePlanner, and Sarah told us how to celebrate the holidays with a KISS . These give you some great ways to avoid overcommitment! I’ll add these tips:

  • Keep your spouse in mind as you make your schedule. Remember that your marriage is your top priority!
  • Know how much sleep and down time you and your kids need.
  • Don’t think you (or your kids) have to accept every invitation. It’s okay to say no.
  • If you are hosting a party or gathering, delegate foods for guests to bring, and choose make-ahead items to make.
  • Hire a housekeeper or teenager to clean your house.
  • Watch the Steven Covey video “Do the BIG ROCKS first.” Then figure out your big rocks, do what the video says– Say “YES” to the most important things.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vws-EG7nL78]

This post is part of our Surviving the Holidays With Your Marriage Intact series! Come back all month long for tips, advice, giveaways, and a FREE eBook on the Holidays here at A Biblical Marriage. You can find the rest of the series HERE.


  1. I really love this post! This is exactly how I am, but I have never described it, or even understood it, as clearly as you have expressed it.


  2. Thanks Gaye! I could hear a bit of that holiday desperation trying to creep in– so glad you came!

  3. Hi Melinda,
    Thank you so much for these loving words. i do not judge you, I do admire you to say it out loud. I wish I could be so strong to do so and take a nap when I need one. I will be thinking of your words. Thanks.

    God bless.

  4. You are very welcome; I’m so glad you can get some inspiration! Go ahead and take that nap when you need it.


  1. […] on over to A Biblical Marriage and read my post about Overcoming Overcommitment during the holiday season– quite a challenge! And you can listen to Ado Annie while you […]