Whether it’s a family showdown or an office party from hell, everyone has a few holiday gatherings on their itinerary that they wouldn’t mind skipping. With the calendar filling up and the days until D-Day (or should we say C-Day) dwindling, there isn’t enough time to fit in every party, no matter how hard we try.

Well, it turns out squeezing in another holiday party could actually be detrimental to our health. According to the Society for Research in Child Development’s Social Policy Report, over-scheduling can lead to a slew of stress-related health problems, including headaches, heart issues and insomnia. Womp. We’re not saying to ditch every holiday shindig, but if going to a party is causing you undue stress, it’s entirely acceptable to opt out. Need a good reason to ditch a holiday bash? These five classic excuses can get you out of almost any holiday gathering (and help you reclaim that holiday cheer!).


1. I am attending another event. While it’s technically a little white lie, a growing body of research says that a small fib here and there isn’t actually that bad for you — especially when you’re doing it to stay healthy. Keep the details sparse, but clear, and you’ll be well on your way to a luxurious Netflix night in.


2. I have a family dinner that night. No one will question a family gathering (blood is thicker than water, baby!). Just make sure to call your mom and confirm she isn’t planning on attending the party herself.


3. I’m working. Unless it’s an office party, this one is a sure winner. Make sure to use this excuse sparingly, so people won’t start to get suspicious.


4. I need to look after my dog/cat/iguana/kid. The point of having a pet or a child is to get out of awkward events, right? Okay, maybe not, but it’s a perk nonetheless. Plunk yourself down in front of the tube and babysit to your heart’s content.


5. Be honest. Even though telling a little white lie isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s always best to be honest. If your friends and family really care about you, they will totally understand that you need a little break.

How are you dealing with over-scheduling this holiday? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!