NOT Home For The Holidays: Setting Healthy Boundaries


NOT Home For The Holidays -Setting Healthy BoundariesIf you are the type that loves to be busy and constantly on the go and the holiday season does not put a strain on your heart and mind, then maybe this post isn’t for you. However, if you are like me and the busyness/commitments of the holiday stress you and pull you away from staying focused on the true meaning of Christmas, keep reading! Perhaps it is time to develop a boundary for you or your family.

When we moved from St. Louis to Iowa, we were deeply upset to not be able to go home for the holidays and have the traditions we already established as a family. My husband’s family lives outside of Champaign, Illinois, 6 hours away, and my family is in St. Louis, also 6 hours away, bringing a whole new stress level to the holiday hustle and bustle.

The thought of making everything fair, while planning travel around an Iowa winter and trying to accommodate our son’s special needs was enough to zap the joy right out of the season.

I knew I didn’t want this for any of our family, but most importantly I wanted my son to enjoy and appreciate the true meaning of CHRISTmas in a way he could understand it. This required some choices and boundaries to be put in place and to protect our family from getting sucked into all the fluff and busyness of holidays.

Our move created a natural boundary of distance and an opportunity for our family to re-write how our holidays, spring breaks, and summers were spent.

This natural boundary of distance became the healthiest thing for our family.

Please understand we are blessed with family who is willing to drive to us too and has really been amazing at respecting our choices. This makes establishing and enforcing these boundaries easier on all fronts. Of course, not every boundary was easy and required sacrifice, but looking back we have been so thankful for them.

Our boundary was established by these 3 things:

1. Establish what your family needs

We wanted to be in our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with no traveling. When you have a child with special needs, you can’t just talk about the meaning of something. You have to make it a visual and real-life experience. Christmas was our protected time for the three of us in Iowa. We welcome family to join us in Iowa for this holiday and partake in our family tradition.

2. Be in unity with your spouse

My husband and I had some long conversations and much prayer on what boundaries were right for our family. We continue to do this whether it’s for the holidays or everyday life. Life changes, and so will how you handle it, but I feel the importance of boundaries for your family is essential.

3. Don’t let guilt determine or alter your boundary

We naturally want everyone to be happy, but sometimes when you establish a boundary some people will take it personally. Remember, boundaries are to protect your family and help you live life joyfully. Each family is different and needs different boundaries. Communicate the ‘why’ behind your boundaries, and be secure in knowing this boundary is the glue to help hold your immediate family unit together.

These are things that have helped our family. Whether you need boundaries to help keep your sanity around the holidays or manage everyday life in a more healthy way check out this article for more insight!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and truly enjoy your family this holiday season!

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Jaclyn Strawn
Jackie is living and journeying through life with her husband, Andy, and 5 year old special needs son, Easton. Jackie has a passion on navigating life and learning as much as she can about learning differences to provide her son with as many opportunities in life as possible. She has a true heart for connecting with other moms and experiencing life together. Jackie's perfect day would include: waking up to a good cup of coffee with her husband, followed by testing a new recipe out in the kitchen, dinner with friends and capping the night off with a game night with her family.


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