"There are no magic words that will keep you from upsetting them," says Terence Patterson, a family psychologist in San Francisco. Even if you explain why you want to start your own traditions or if the thought of a plane ride with three kids is giving you hives, "you're still saying no," says Frank. "I don't think the actual reason or how honest you are about it really matters." So this conversation is about softening the blow. (Doubly so if you've decided to skip the rigmarole in favor of the Bahamas.) Deliver the news with the sandwich technique, says Judith Orloff, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Emotional Freedom: "Something positive on either end, with the difficult part in the middle," she says. The key is to finish on an optimistic note that sets up an alternative, like "We're planning a trip over President's Day weekend, when it's not so chaotic and we can have you all to ourselves." And if the news still goes over like a lead balloon? Give it time. "Many people do come around eventually," says Patterson. Also, learning to set boundaries or say no to your parents—even when it feels impossible—is part of being an adult, says Orloff. "Too often we keep doing things to be people pleasers," she says, "and although I understand the tendency to do that with our parents, it can be toxic."