Q: There are so many parties and events this time of year. I feel pulled in too many directions. How do I decline graciously? — Cassie, Dallas

A: Cassie, it is more gracious to decline when first asked than to cancel at the last minute. Before accepting, look at your calendar with an eye to how much you already have on every given day. If it is too much, say how sorry you are, but you cannot make it. One needs to take care of oneself during the holidays, too!

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