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Thread: Refusing Christmas Eve / Day Invites

  1. #1
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    Refusing Christmas Eve / Day Invites

    Ok, so I know that folks on this board always know the right things to say. And sometimes I am like a deer in the headlights.

    I had a little cocktail party last night. One of the women asked what I was doing for Christmas this year. I told them how I usually drove to IL but this year I was staying home. Not really understanding where she was going with this.

    So she invited me to her house for Christmas Eve. And then another couple said, you need to come over to our house Christmas Day (and even bring Gigi.)

    I should have known, but I wasn't really expecting invites from these folks. I said something about how nice of them to invite me. But nothing else. And the conversation turned to other things.

    As the couple was leaving, they said something about seeing me on Christmas as they walked to their car. I again froze and just wished them a good night and thanked them for coming.

    I really, really, really don't want to go to either place. I am so looking forward to staying home. Snuggling in my warm house with all the holiday decorations. Watching Christmas movies I have taped. And I have already bought the cornish game hens that I plan on fixing. I have a bottle of champagne to make some Pomegranate Poinsettia cocktails. Just will enjoy the time by myself before we hit the after Christmas sales on the 26th.

    I just need to be clear when I speak to them next that I would rather stay home by myself with my dog than go to their house. [see how bad that sounds when I say it -- that is why I need some help.] Since neither finalized any times, etc with me, I know that I still have my opportunity to tell them that I am not coming. I really didn't mean to give the impression that I was. But I apparently was too lame in my response. It was really nice of them to offer. Help.
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

  2. #2
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    Just say something like "Thank you so much for the invitation, it means a lot to me that you'd invite me to share your family traditions. I've planned some special time here at home for myself that I'm really looking forward to so I'm going to pass. Let's try to get together after the new year.".

    I've done it many times, it's really quite easy and they probably won't think twice about it.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by armel View Post

    I just need to be clear when I speak to them next that I would rather stay home by myself with my dog than go to their house. [see how bad that sounds when I say it -- that is why I need some help.]

    Why do you have to be clear on the fact that you prefer your dog's company, to whom you seem overly attached, to their own? And yes, it does sound bad. A little tact is in order. I agree with Robyn1007.

  4. #4
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    Oh Armel, that's very sweet of them. And we all have the deer in the headlights moments!

    "I was so touched by your invite to join you on X, it was so kind and unexpected that I realize I wasn't very clear in my response. Although we're not going out of town, Gigi and I are going to spend a special day/evening together which I've had planned for quite some time. We do so appreciate the invite, though, and maybe we can all do something together after the first of the year."

    Sound better?

  5. #5
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    I feel for you, and I don't really have anything eloquent to suggest. I had this issue with my father and step-mom for Thanksgiving. That conversation was totally by e-mail, so I told them that we would be spending the holiday alone as DH was returning from 15 days in China just before and would need downtime.

    On T-day I receive a phone call from them (I did not pick it up), and in their VM they requested that we come over. I just ignored it and did not respond. I had already told them NO, and they can just never take no for an answer. (DH was still sleeping off jet lag anyway.)

    So, when these questions come up and you're kind of blind-sided, it's hard! I never know what to say either.
    Springtime is my time of year!

  6. #6
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    I echo what Robyn said. You should never feel pressured into doing something on a holiday if you don't want to. Being up front with your response is essential, there's no need to lie about what you are doing. As I've come to understand sometimes the best thing to say is "I'm sorry that I cannot attend. It is very thoughtful of you to invite me but I need some time for me that I haven't been able to get recently and Christmas (or whatever holiday it might be) was the time that I need so that I can recharge myself for what approaches after the New Year. Thank you for inviting me and I wish you the best on the holiday."

    I hope it isn't as tough as you imagine it might be.

    Peace,
    Les
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6 (NIV)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legolas View Post
    Why do you have to be clear on the fact that you prefer your dog's company, to whom you seem overly attached, to their own? And yes, it does sound bad. A little tact is in order. I agree with Robyn1007.
    You obviously don't know us on this board.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    You obviously don't know us on this board.
    Perhaps I do, perhaps I don't. I'm still entitled to an opinion I believe though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    You obviously don't know us on this board.
    I don't know, I think Legolas knows us better than one might think just by post count.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    You obviously don't know us on this board.
    Eh - I have a hunch legolas has been posting here a while, hasn't posted in a few weeks, and has now switched usernames for whatever reason.

    Armel - I think Robyn's reply is perfect, and I personally wouldn't mention the dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leightx View Post
    Eh - I have a hunch legolas has been posting here a while, hasn't posted in a few weeks, and has now switched usernames for whatever reason.

    Armel - I think Robyn's reply is perfect, and I personally wouldn't mention the dog.
    I have, and I have very good reasons for my change. I did it for my own protection IRL. The reasons are unrelated to anyone or anything on this BB.

  12. #12
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    Don't worry, I won't mention the dog. And for those of you that think I am overly attached to her, so what? I love dogs. Always have and always will. [Had two doggie play dates with friends this weekend.]

    I must say, I have gotten some great suggestions on what to say. If I were closer friends with them, I wouldn't have felt so awkward about stating my plans to spend a quiet time at home. It was just so unexpected.
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

  13. #13
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    The thing is, you don't ever have to explain why you are turning down an invitation. Just say you appreciate their thoughtfulness, thank you so much, but I have other plans. You never EVER want to tell someone there's something else you'd RATHER do than be with them. Ever. That's the height of bad manners. That's why you don't want to get into the explaining / justifying. You always decline invitatations with regret and thanks.

    You have time ... why not send them a holiday card or note? "Thanks for your generous invitation to blah blah blah (Robyn's wording is good). I'm sorry that I won't be able to attend. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and please give my best to your family." Etc. No mention at all of what you will be doing, or your personal preferences of how you want to spend the holiday. Just gracious thanks and regrets. By writing snail mail, you won't have to deal with counter-arguments.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Legolas View Post
    I have, and I have very good reasons for my change. I did it for my own protection IRL. The reasons are unrelated to anyone or anything on this BB.
    No biggie - it's none of my concern. Just wanted to clear up a misperception.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by leightx View Post
    No biggie - it's none of my concern. Just wanted to clear up a misperception.
    ...Thanks...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by funniegrrl View Post
    The thing is, you don't ever have to explain why you are turning down an invitation. Just say you appreciate their thoughtfulness, thank you so much, but I have other plans. You never EVER want to tell someone there's something else you'd RATHER do than be with them. Ever. That's the height of bad manners. That's why you don't want to get into the explaining / justifying. You always decline invitatations with regret and thanks.

    You have time ... why not send them a holiday card or note? "Thanks for your generous invitation to blah blah blah (Robyn's wording is good). I'm sorry that I won't be able to attend. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and please give my best to your family." Etc. No mention at all of what you will be doing, or your personal preferences of how you want to spend the holiday. Just gracious thanks and regrets. By writing snail mail, you won't have to deal with counter-arguments.
    Great idea!
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

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    Quote Originally Posted by armel View Post
    Great idea!
    I agree about omitting the part about the dog or even being alone or needing downtime, b/c as gracious as these people seem to be, there's always the danger that they'll react to your "other plans" and try to talk you out of them. I have a relative who's like that, and I've learned not to give too much info b/c I'll get argued with on the virtues of my prior plans vs. the proposed ones.

    Enjoy your time with your doggie, great food, Xmas movies . . . sounds like a vacation for you, and I'm glad you're not getting talked into attending things you don't want to attend.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  18. #18
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    I'd bet Legolas would enjoy some days w/just the pets, too! :-)

    I'm sure their feelings won't be hurt if you turn down their offers. Everyone has been there at some point or another. Some years we all feel more social than others on holidays.

    I know that, often times, people just want to look out for friends spending a holiday by themselves.

    Your Christmas plans sound fantastic to me! Very relaxing. Don't get out of your pj's all day. (except to walk Gigi, of course)

  19. #19
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    Legolas-

    You are entitled to your opinion, i never said you weren't. And for the record I have no idea who you were or who you are. The poster was asking how to turn down an invitation nicely, not asking if we thought she was overly attached to her dog.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by armel View Post
    Don't worry, I won't mention the dog. And for those of you that think I am overly attached to her, so what? I love dogs. Always have and always will. [Had two doggie play dates with friends this weekend.]
    .
    There are lots of times when I'd prefer just hanging out with my dogs rather than spending time with people. I hope you have a nice Christmas!

  21. #21
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    Ooh, enjoy your holiday at home. Sounds lovely.
    I do find that people sometimes question why I'd prefer my own company (or my dog's) to theirs. Some people are simply more externally motivated than I am. I DO need to be alone to recharge and would love a holiday on my own. One time I mentioned to my brother that I had gone to dinner alone. He found that unimaginable. "But didn't you feel like a dork? Just sitting there alone?" he asked. Nope. I loved it.
    Not everybody can relate to enjoying a quiet day alone. But I think you can politely decline the invitations you received, thoughtful though they were.
    TKay

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKay View Post
    One time I mentioned to my brother that I had gone to dinner alone. He found that unimaginable. "But didn't you feel like a dork? Just sitting there alone?" he asked. Nope. I loved it.
    Just this weekend I had the best dining experience of my life. And I was alone, except for the company of the restaurant staff and owners who were fantastic. (Read my blog if you want the review)


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyn1007 View Post
    I don't know, I think Legolas knows us better than one might think just by post count.
    i think it is really weird that people are being sneaky about whoever it is? _________? _____________? someone else? weird.

    regardless, i think politely telling the people you have other plans is totally acceptable. and i will also say that my dogs are far superior to most people

    ETA: to delete the names... altho i think it is strange that you refer to your past personality on this board if you truly are afraid of something/one... in all honesty, i think you should leave for a longer period of time.
    Last edited by avariell; 12-17-2007 at 07:57 PM. Reason: v.o.r.
    - Josie


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by funniegrrl View Post
    The thing is, you don't ever have to explain why you are turning down an invitation. Just say you appreciate their thoughtfulness, thank you so much, but I have other plans. You never EVER want to tell someone there's something else you'd RATHER do than be with them. Ever. That's the height of bad manners. That's why you don't want to get into the explaining / justifying. You always decline invitatations with regret and thanks.

    You have time ... why not send them a holiday card or note? "Thanks for your generous invitation to blah blah blah (Robyn's wording is good). I'm sorry that I won't be able to attend. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and please give my best to your family." Etc. No mention at all of what you will be doing, or your personal preferences of how you want to spend the holiday. Just gracious thanks and regrets. By writing snail mail, you won't have to deal with counter-arguments.
    This IS a great idea! When you put it in writing you get to say everything you want to say without interruptions or arguments. Enjoy your Christmas!

    And, yes, sometimes the company of pets is the very best kind.
    Jean

  25. #25
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    I was recently in the exact situation, armel, down to the saying, "It's very kind of you to invite me" and thinking it was non-committal. Then I got the "We're so glad you'll be joining us!" email. Oops. I know it's better to be direct, but sometimes you're just trying to buy a little time because you're caught off guard.

    While I generally agree that you certainly don't need to provide an explanation or excuse (and obviously you weren't going to say that you would prefer to loaf on the couch with your dog than to join them at the table ) I am in slight disagreement here because it sounds like you already DID tell them what your plans were. Or rather, that you didn't have any. So in effect (as I read it) you'd STILL be saying, in effect, "I'd rather sit home by myself than join you." That's why I like Robyn's response. Because there are people out there who don't seem to believe that anyone would choose to be alone given the choice, I think the way Robyn worded it sounds like a soft "I need a little quiet time at home, and this is a wonderful opportunity". Otherwise, you've gone from saying "I have no plans" to their extending an invitation they believe you've accepted, to your using the vague "I've got plans". Does that make any sense?

    If it would be appropriate, a note might be a good idea because for me I find my voice is off in such situations. Not that it's a lie, but I think there's a little stress in it or something or I feel like I'm lying and that comes out.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TKay View Post
    Ooh, enjoy your holiday at home. Sounds lovely.
    I do find that people sometimes question why I'd prefer my own company (or my dog's) to theirs. Some people are simply more externally motivated than I am. I DO need to be alone to recharge and would love a holiday on my own. One time I mentioned to my brother that I had gone to dinner alone. He found that unimaginable. "But didn't you feel like a dork? Just sitting there alone?" he asked. Nope. I loved it.
    Not everybody can relate to enjoying a quiet day alone. But I think you can politely decline the invitations you received, thoughtful though they were.
    Yes. Yes. Yes. We are super attached to our pup, first of all. My girlfriend will feel sorry for him for being home all day, and we have to take him out on a car ride.

    I also agree about time alone. We go home, and get so busy with making sure we see everyone and doing everything...that I just want to sit and do NOTHING. Sit on the couch, pet the dog, and that's it.

    Hell, we did that for thanksgiving. We called home and said "you know what, coming home will wear us out too much, so we are going to sit this one out" Then they flew out to see us instead ~sigh~ so much for a holiday alone. Good luck on yours!

  27. #27
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    I agree, TKay. That's the difference between Introverts & Extroverts.

  28. #28
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    I think most folks associate the holidays with being with crowds of family and friends and don't want any one to be feeling alone and left out. I would invite someone to join us if I knew they were going to be alone, but I stay busy enough that I can totally understand relishing in a quiet day with few excuses or temptations to go out and no deadlines to be met. Let them know you've got plans for your time. If they press, let them know you won't be lonely and you promise that, if that changes, you know you can call on them and thank them for thinking of you and making you feel welcome.

    Pretty much what Canice and Robyn have said -- and Robyn, I had one of the best meals of my life alone in a restaurant overlooking a winery in Australia.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanMac View Post
    I agree, TKay. That's the difference between Introverts & Extroverts.
    Yep. Haven't we had this conversation before?
    TKay

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth View Post
    I think most folks associate the holidays with being with crowds of family and friends and don't want any one to be feeling alone and left out.
    Agreed - when I was single and just out of college and had just moved farfaraway without knowing anyone here in Georgia, I had lots of holiday invitations. All were sincere and some were rather insistent! God bless my friend Nancy who finally tamed her (very thoughtful and well-meaning mother) saying, "she KNOWS she's welcome. She has planned a different kind of Christmas and she'll call us if it doesn't work out."

    What worked best for me was acknowledging their generosity, wishing them a fabulous holiday, and a "if my schedule frees up on Christmas, I'll give you a call and maybe we can get together." Because as far as I was concerned, my stack of magazines (a big treat in those days) and a movie or two was my well thought out plan and, frankly, might not leave me any extra time (especially if a nap came out of nowhere and struck me down ).
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