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Merry Christmas for Grinches


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So I am a huge Grinch. I dislike Christmas. All the noise, decorations, mess, too many gifts, traveling, obligatory giving...all of it makes me want to hide under the covers until December 24.

About December 22, after we did our travel, passed out the obligatory gifts, actually get to stay home and enjoy one another rather than racing from one event, party, or celebration to another, I start to enjoy it a little more. I can remember that it's really about Jesus. 

But the rest of the Chrismas season, I am kinda in a bad mood. Too much to do, too many obligations, bah humbug.

I'm always a little ashamed of myself. I feel like the biggest party pooper.

So I'm thinking of doing a simple project this Christmas season to help me not be so Grumpy. 

So I need people who don't really enjoy Christmas that much to help me think of ways to look on the bright side. Like, I'm never going to just LOVE going to the in-laws, so how can I make that more fun and enjoyable. (didn't someone post about a drinking game where they'd take a sip every time the annoying uncle brought up politics or vaccines or veganism or whatever? As a non-drinker, I can change that to m and m's or skittles) 

How can I enjoy the typical Christmas experiences without ruining my mood? 

Does that make sense? Anyone see what I am going for? Any ideas or thoughts?

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

 

 

 

 

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Would your kids be up for celebrating half-birthdays instead of their actual date? That would spread out the festivities and potentially be better weather, depending on where you are.

Would baking be more fun if you were making it for your family and just stocking an extra(or extras) in the freezer to pull out for those obligatory family meals? 

Just a few suggestions. And if you can find some fun time on your way to places you don't want to go it might help keep you in a better mood while there. So stopping at a favorite coffee shop or just picking up fun snacks to bring in the car.

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As far as gifts for everyone...  go to the Christmas section at Target and get edible gifts for everyone.  Or maybe give each family a movie or either a family board game and put some popcorn with it.  If they don’t like it, that’s not your problem.  Making extended family members and miscellaneous friends appreciate gifts is not your responsibility.  

For baking, bake extra cookies and freeze them for your own family.  Or buy store-bought for family and friend gatherings, and leave the good stuff for your own immediate family.  

Alternate each side of the family at the holidays. For example, see your folks on Thanksgiving, dh’s folks on Christmas, and the following year, alternate.    How far away are they from y’all?  If it’s not too terribly far, I’d squeeze it into one day max. 

I use to decorate everything.  Now?  I’ve got a fully decorate pre-lit skinny tree in my living room closet.  We literally open the door and slide it across the room when it’s time to decorate.  Easy peasy.  I chose 3-4 decorative things that I can’t live without for displaying for Christmas.  The other stuff that didn’t make the cut stays in a box in the attic and ds can take it with him or trash it when he has his own family.  

Pick and choose on the holiday programs/plays, unless of course, your kids are in something.   

Really, my advice is to be ruthless.  Your time is valuable and your family is #1 priority.  I had to really be ruthless when ds was 6 or so.  Our family all lived within 30 minutes of each other, but honestly, that felt even worse than being spread out because they expected us to be ready and willing to do every.single.thing. with them.   Everyone wanted us over when they decorated the tree, did Christmas baking, greet extended family when they came in from out of town, be there for EVERY meal when said extended family was in town (for days!).  We’d end up coming in super late on Christmas Eve night, not do a single thing I’d wanted to do with my own kid for that night, rush to bed, get up and open gifts in the morning, and be out the door, only to return late the next day.  He didn’t play with anything.  It was ‘go here, go there, get back over there for supper, etc.’. It was ridiculous and I finally said STOP. People were upset the first year. Really, really upset.  They got over it and it became a new tradition for us to stay home Christmas Day and let only our parents (both sets) and dh’s sis & her family come over.  All the extendeds did their own thing.  It was a Christmas miracle, I tell ya!   We actually enjoyed it!  Finally!   Trust me, put your foot down.  Be ruthless.  Prioritize.  ***Be.Ruthless.***

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1. Stop the obligatory shopping. You don't owe anyone excuses or reasons. Their expectations are on them.

2. Don't visit family if you don't want to. We have a long standing tradition of not travelling on holidays. It's just not worth the stress.

3. Stop baking for others. No one actually wants or needs extra treats.

4. Only attend what you really want to experience. No one can force you to "do it all".

5. Perhaps you'll get to enjoy celebrating your kids more when you've ditched the meaningless clutter of the season (whatever that is to you). Your kids have the right to be celebrated regardless of the extraneous seasonal stuff.

6. Don't decorate. 

Seriously, the season is whatever you make it to be. Let go of whatever causes you stress and embrace whatever you love. Everyone will survive (and oh yes, I do know about in laws on a guilt trip. But the joy and peace of my family is not less important than the superficial material trappings of theirs). 

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Number one is easy. If you have to get a gift for these people you don’t know well, just go to a store (or amazon!) and buy something you (or your kids) would like. Give it. Done. My DH has taught me that I need not worry if people don’t adore every gift I’ve ever given. You don’t have to get Bobby’s most favoritest toy ever. Just pick something, give it, and don’t worry about it.? I wouldn’t call asking what people want, especially if you dread doing it. 

Number 3 re: baking. Buy something from a grocery store or bakery for *all* get-togethers outside your home. Save your time and effort for baking for your immediate family. Take back your enjoyment of this activity!  

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Ooh, that schedule and expectations sound brutal. I'd hate that too. I think the only reason I like Christmas is that we intentionally minimize all the parties, gifts, decorations, and other things. We also don't visit family then. That's for other times of the year. I realize not everyone has these options, especially when you've been doing it for years. I also think it will get crazier as the kids get older and more involved in the community. But for right now we have the luxury of embracing simplicity. Is it at all possible to nicely cloister yourself for the season?

Can you identify a bare minimum of effort to put in without hurting feelings? Like, must you bring homemade pie and cookies, or would store-bought do? Must you do the obligatory gift giving thing, or would nothing, or a gift card, do? I'd dial back the productions and plays unless your kids are in them. Put up a tree and if anyone wants more, they handle it. I don't know what your extended family situation is, but maybe it's possible to minimize those visits or change what's expected of you. Maybe travel a different time of year?

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

So I am a huge Grinch. I dislike Christmas. All the noise, decorations, mess, too many gifts, traveling, obligatory giving...all of it makes me want to hide under the covers until December 24.

About December 22, after we did our travel, passed out the obligatory gifts, actually get to stay home and enjoy one another rather than racing from one event, party, or celebration to another, I start to enjoy it a little more. I can remember that it's really about Jesus. 

But the rest of the Chrismas season, I am kinda in a bad mood. Too much to do, too many obligations, bah humbug.

I'm always a little ashamed of myself. I feel like the biggest party pooper.

So I'm thinking of doing a simple project this Christmas season to help me not be so Grumpy. 

So I need people who don't really enjoy Christmas that much to help me think of ways to look on the bright side. Like, I'm never going to just LOVE going to the in-laws, so how can I make that more fun and enjoyable. (didn't someone post about a drinking game where they'd take a sip every time the annoying uncle brought up politics or vaccines or veganism or whatever? As a non-drinker, I can change that to m and m's or skittles) 

How can I enjoy the typical Christmas experiences without ruining my mood? 

Does that make sense? Anyone see what I am going for? Any ideas or thoughts?

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

 

Shopping for people you don't know-My question here is who are these kids that you don't know that you are celebrating holidays with?  If these are kids like...a nephew, a cousin...I am going to suggest perhaps trying to get to know them.  Unless of course your sibling or whoever you have connection to these kids is a toxic person that you specifically avoid for logical reasons.  If that is the case, or if these are kids like your brother's wife's nephew's kids, so some other distant sort of relation that you would otherwise never have any other contact with, then I have two suggestions.  First is just stop buying for these kids, cause that's weird.  OR, if family you ARE close to will just flip out...get these kids something cheap and easy.  Stuff like a Hershey bar and a $5 McDs gift card (enough for a single happy meal.)  Kids love that sort of stuff (and if they are tween/teen type kids, make it Chipotle or something instead of McDs....though even my 22 yr old likes McDs for getting drinks in the drivethru) and it makes the gift giving easier on you.  And obligatory adults.....unless these are siblings or parents that you see regularly, just stop.  Or at the very least, just get something cheap, easy and the same for everyone.  Candles, or gift cards or Avon lLotions, whatever.  Even if you absolutely can't get rid of the gift giving obligation for fear of alienating the people you actually like, just make the gift giving as easy as possible.  

Family visits-Honestly, this is one of those "suck it up" things for me.  Skip the "want it to look a certain way" (which, I am not sure I understand, do you mean they expect particular dress from you?) and just show up.  I do this every year with SIL....she isn't evil or terrible or dysfunctional or anything.  She is just............not my people.  Or DH's people.  Or my kid's people.  But she loves them and her brother and maybe even me....so we go....for her.

Baking-I have never understood the baking frenzy surrounding Christmas and have never participated in it.  My SIL bakes pumpkin bread, my mom bakes some pies, but no one ever bakes more than will get eaten and if anyone doesn't want to bake XYZ, that's fine either someone else will take over or it won't get baked.  Don't bake it unless you want to AND it will get eaten.

Christmas functions-I only go to my kids.  And homeschooling-there aren't many.  My mom has 10 grandkids and lived close to most as the kids got older......and never went to a single one.  She has been to random grandkids ball games, dance recitals, etc .  But it's random and there's no expectation that she will show up at X grandkid's Y Christmas thing, just for Christmas.

Birthdays-THIS....THIS is our downfall.  My kids have birthdays in September, October, November, and December.  My birthday is in December.  My brother's birthday is in December.  BIL's. Grandpa's (91 this year.)  etc etc.  Honestly, I push the kids birthdays....and don't worry about anyone else's.  Adults can deal. My kids come first.

 

Decorating-the Christmas tree goes up the weekend of my birthday.  And stockings go up the same time.    DH is responsible for putting up lights on the house either that weekend or the weekend before, as weather allows.  AND..............that's all we decorate.   Sometimes the kids might do paper chains, or draw some trees and tape them to the window but that's about it. Whatever doesn't happen that weekend......it doesn't happen.  

 

And, for my kids....ALL of that is always SO FREAKING AWESOME.  So that's what we do.  

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Does you husband feel the same way or does he enjoy everything Christmas?  Maybe have a conversation on what   you both don't enjoy and decline those invitations or events.  We decided with child 1 that we would not travel at Christmas.  All family members know they are welcome to come here but I stay home with my husband and kids and enjoy Christmas eve and Christmas with them.  I prefer to visit family throughout the year not around a specific stressful holiday.

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Start a new tradition where you stay home and only bake for your own family.  Just say no to everything else.  Just be honest with those who pressure you if you're brave enough. You might be surprised by how much pressure you DON'T get. If not, you're too busy (true, busy at your own house) or you already have plans (true, to stay at home) or *cough, cough,* you're really sorry but you have caught the flu (total lie, but no one wants the flu).

If you don't go you may not be obligated to give children gifts.  You could say that with college tuition to save for your budget just doesn't allow for extra gifts this year.  Or you could send the kids cards and cash, which is what they really want anyway.

Turn on the Hallmark channel, enjoy some cheesy Christmas movies, and ignore everyone who doesn't live in your house.  And the grumpy ungrateful ones who DO live in your house.

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I *love* Christmas!  Despite that, I was so glad when we stopped obligatory gifts!

If you really can't stop:  my sil used to buy the same kind of thing for everyone. Like one year everyone got a scarf and gloves.  Different colors and/or styles but all scarves and gloves.  Or my late father used to give all his kids the same thing and all the grandkids the same thing.  For the grandkids he'd often give granola bars and a bit of cash wrapped in bubblewrap!

I vote to buy food for potlucks and save baking etc for your family.  Even as a fan of Christmas I wouldn't even notice if something was homemade.  When Trader Joe's puts out their interesting Christmas stuff you could stock up!

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Go to Disney World for Christmas. It is crazy crowded, but you can pick and choose exactly what you want to do.... so maybe not realistic for most, but really it goes along with the above suggestion of starting your own new traditions.

i also dreaded  family holidays until we started going camping every Thanksgiving. We avoided all the drama with extended family, and had a great time camping. A former co-worker of mine takes her immediate family on a vacation every Christmas, and they don't do any gifts. 

Edited by City Mouse
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1. Origami cash

2. Do you have a portable handicraft? I often crochet dishcloths or embroider while visiting. Snarky embroidery is best.

3. Costco pie is perfectly acceptable. Tell everyone you’ve started testing your fire alarms regularly while baking...you don’t know whether you are forgetting what you are doing or just needing bifocals.

4. Just say no, unless your children are performing. If they are, pick up pizza those nights, and find some “you” time later that week. As an introvert, I schedule one recovery night for every night I am out pretending to be an extrovert.

5. I also have this problem. My children must give me lists of reasonable expectations. I order online, dh wraps. I will do one high energy thing per kid—ornately decorated homemade cake or friend party or homemade gift but no more. I have been pushing for going out to eat on actual birthdays because I am burned out on cooking.

6. I got rid of more than half of what we owned, and kept for decorations 4 seasonal wreaths, and the Christmas tree/decorations and stockings. The end. The kids put up and take down the tree because it matters to them. Last year we were in temporary housing and had a miniature 6” high glittery living tree. It was perfect.

You don’t strike me as grinch. You sound tired and overburdened. Boundaries! If people in your household really want something, let them do it themselves. You do not have the obligation to make the holidays magical. 

I try for a lot of quiet time in the Christmas season—reading my scriptures, doing quiet acts of service, and just contemplating. It’s been a lot happier and healthier.

edited for grammar because the s and d key are too close together but verb tenses matter!

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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You hereby have my permission to stop the craziness! This from the women who used to make 75 fruitcakes and 50 dozen cookies and sent them all over the US. I stopped. No one died. They might have even lost weight! We made the decision 41 years ago that we do NOT travel at Christmas--we always blamed it on the cattle--can't ask the neighbors to feed! I tell my kids every year--we hope you can come sometime during the holiday, but I NEVER want to hear that you've said, "We have to go to mom's for Christmas." With 2 married, and one engaged, with 3 active duty, the chances of everyone getting together in one place at one time are not good. That's fine. One year we had Christmas in May due to deployments. It may happen again this year. That's okay. Step off the crazy train!

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The best Christmas gift my dh ever gave me was telling his family that we were dropping out of the gift exchange (after years and years of drama). The second best gift was choosing a profession where he can't take time off over the holidays. I love my husband.

I only do the things that bring me joy! That means staying home, listening to Christmas music, and baking cookies. No shopping or travel or drama. Every year is quiet and peaceful.

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I could have written the OP. I always feel burdened by all of the extra things to do, when I can barely manage the regular things I have to do.

And our parents are elderly and need me to help them do their gift shopping for my kids. And my SILs start bugging me for lists of things they can get for my kids before I have even decided what I will be getting them myself. So I feel a lot of pressure. I've tried various things to change this. One year I suggested that the extended family do some kind of mini getaway together instead of exchanging presents, but no one agreed. I suggested that MIL just buy gift cards for my kids instead of presents (the kids would love this), but she resists and wants me to buy them real gifts from her, instead. We do a pick-a-name gift exchange for the adults, and I would love to eliminate that, but SIL is not married and would get no gifts if we stopped that, so I feel I can't suggest it. Last year I asked DH to be in charge of gifts, and it backfired and became a bigger source of stress. UGH. And then I have to wrap everything!!!

I actually love the Christmas baking in theory. I have certain things that we only have at the holidays, and I would miss having them. But it's a lot of work and makes a big mess, and it just makes me tired to even think of it.

I love the idea of entertaining, but it's stressful for me to do it. I love looking at my home when decorated, but the process makes me tired, and I wish I didn't have to do it. If I skipped it, I would miss it.

The whole thing is stressful, and I feel that there are demands upon me that I cannot refuse. I gave up sending Christmas cards years ago -- mainly because I would buy cards and/or write a letter but never end up sending them -- but I regret that now, because my friends no longer send me cards, and I looked forward to those yearly cards from people that I still care about but don't see any more.

I wish I could enjoy it more. The problem is that the things that I COULD cut back on, are the things that I myself want to do. I don't want to take store bought goodies to parties, for example. I love the things I bake.

As the calendar turns to November, I already feel stressed about all of this, because I feel it coming.

So, OP, I don't have advice to offer, but I can empathize.

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Do family gifts, or kids of each family gifts, and make them all the same.  The year I gave each family of two kids a set of walkie talkies is still legendary.  And the ice cream maker kick balls from LLBean were such a bit hit that they basically stopped the whole celebration dead in its tracks (oops) so that each family of kids could whine to their parents about why they don't have cream and rock salt in the house and why they can't go shop for them right. this. minute. for a while.  This year I'm giving each family a kids' adventure book and some piece of camping or hiking or foraging equipment.  Then one present per couple.  Voila, half or less of the presents you bought before, and no asking what they want.

Also, get your Christmas shopping completely finished before Thanksgiving so that you don't have to fight the crowds.

Lay out a calendar with your most crucial items on it, and then keep it a little sparser this year.  See how it feels.

Organize a cookie exchange early in Dec.  Make 7 dozen of just one kind of cookie, or a log of cookie dough.  Get 6 other folks to do the same.  Get together over something simple (hot cider?) and trade.  You will end up with 7 dozen assorted cookies, so will everybody else, you'll have an Actual Grownup Party, (but low key), and you will be all set.  Freeze what you can.  Wrap the rest tightly in plastic (one reason to keep this around) and store in covered containers in a cool place.

Decorating--claw out one room, just one, that is straightened up and made neat, and only decorate that one.  No tree or creche until Christmas Eve or at the earliest the weekend before.  That way you can enjoy Advent, and gradually put out a few candles, a tray of ornaments, some greens, the stockings, etc. just a little bit at a time.  Hang out the Advent calendar or calendars by Dec. 1, and that's the kick off.  For your child whose birthday is right after Thanksgiving, I'd consider a custom my mother had (I was early in the second week in Dec.) which was not playing any Christmas music until after my birthday.  Celebrating one holiday/season/special occasion at a time is really fun.

 

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3 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

 

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Organize a cookie exchange early in Dec.  Make 7 dozen of just one kind of cookie, or a log of cookie dough.  Get 6 other folks to do the same.  Get together over something simple (hot cider?) and trade.  You will end up with 7 dozen assorted cookies, so will everybody else, you'll have an Actual Grownup Party, (but low key), and you will be all set.  Freeze what you can.  Wrap the rest tightly in plastic (one reason to keep this around) and store in covered containers in a cool place.

 

Or....just don’t.  My sister set up something like this one year.  It was awful.  I didn’t know a single person in the exchange.   Half the cookies were inedible.  And I baked more cookies than I ever would have otherwise

 

it was never suggested again

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We used to do too much. Travel to see family 850 miles away, bake zillions of cookies to give away, make gingerbread houses, go to holiday concerts and performances....the list was endless.  Then when the kids were young teens we burned out and as a family talked about what things were really important.  Going to the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, and driving around on Christmas Eve looking at holiday lights while drinking hot chocolate. Who knew?????  So that’s what we do, along with watching holiday movies while lounging around on the couch.  We have kids living all over the country and they can;t afford to come home for Christmas and we’re ok with that. We talk to them all the time and FaceTime them often. It’s much less stressful.

Identify the things that make you happy and do those. And don’t do the things that do not bring joy. It’s like we Kon Mari-ed our holiday. 

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24 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

 

As the calendar turns to November, I already feel stressed about all of this, because I feel it coming.

So, OP, I don't have advice to offer, but I can empathize.

 

This is how I feel, too.  It gets so overwhelming.  I enjoy Christmas Day but everything leading up to it is stress stress stress.

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Or....just don’t.  My sister set up something like this one year.  It was awful.  I didn’t know a single person in the exchange.   Half the cookies were inedible.  And I baked more cookies than I ever would have otherwise

 

it was never suggested again

I participated once. Only once. I dragged home a bunch of cookies that were not tasty and even the ones that WERE tasty weren’t our traditional family favorites and my family wanted our traditional cookies, not someone else’s favorites. 

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4 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Or....just don’t.  My sister set up something like this one year.  It was awful.  I didn’t know a single person in the exchange.   Half the cookies were inedible.  And I baked more cookies than I ever would have otherwise

 

it was never suggested again

Wow, all my experiences with this have been great, except that one time when about half of the participants brought the sameish sugar cookies.

People IME tend to bake something 'wow'.  My personal wow is incredible taste and rather large sized cookies.  Others specialize in complexity (multi-layer, anyone?) or highly decorated appearances.  The variety is really fun.

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4 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Wow, all my experiences with this have been great, except that one time when about half of the participants brought the sameish sugar cookies.

People IME tend to bake something 'wow'.  My personal wow is incredible taste and rather large sized cookies.  Others specialize in complexity (multi-layer, anyone?) or highly decorated appearances.  The variety is really fun.

We ended up with a whole bunch of those star shaped things with the little stale jelly dots. Which non of us eat anyway. 

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The easiest way for me to enjoy the crazy of Christmas is to finish my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. But I also called back big time on the number of ppl I shop for. Aside from my kids and dh I shop for mil, fil, dh's grandmother, and 6 kids. Trust me when I say the number of people I used to shop for was crazy because we both have large families. I spent fifteen minutes on a sick day having my 8 year old shop with me on Amazon for the 6 kids. The adults I will shop for closer to Thanksgiving as they give me lists around then, or I get alcohol I know they'll like.

After the shopping is done and Advent starts i simply shift to Advent celebrating, which is very calm and reflective. I simply make Advent a priority and observe it first thing in the morning. It makes all the other obligations easier and puts it into perspective because Christ is always center to my Advent observance.

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4 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

So I am a huge Grinch. I dislike Christmas. All the noise, decorations, mess, too many gifts, traveling, obligatory giving...all of it makes me want to hide under the covers until December 24.

About December 22, after we did our travel, passed out the obligatory gifts, actually get to stay home and enjoy one another rather than racing from one event, party, or celebration to another, I start to enjoy it a little more. I can remember that it's really about Jesus. 

But the rest of the Chrismas season, I am kinda in a bad mood. Too much to do, too many obligations, bah humbug.

I'm always a little ashamed of myself. I feel like the biggest party pooper.

So I'm thinking of doing a simple project this Christmas season to help me not be so Grumpy. 

So I need people who don't really enjoy Christmas that much to help me think of ways to look on the bright side. Like, I'm never going to just LOVE going to the in-laws, so how can I make that more fun and enjoyable. (didn't someone post about a drinking game where they'd take a sip every time the annoying uncle brought up politics or vaccines or veganism or whatever? As a non-drinker, I can change that to m and m's or skittles) 

How can I enjoy the typical Christmas experiences without ruining my mood? 

Does that make sense? Anyone see what I am going for? Any ideas or thoughts?

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

How old are the children?  Movie passes and passes to other local venues are popular with tweens and teens.  If you volunteer to take the children, you'd get out of the house for a few hours. (And then have an excuse to need to go and rest.)  You could make this year 'game year.' Buy each child a game.  You then, of course, need to play the game with the children. (Only do this if you actually like playing games with children.)  This gives you a valid excuse for ignoring annoying uncles.  Otherwise, either search for Amazon wishlists or buy something your children liked at the current ages of the children.

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

You may be stuck for this year, but could you get your husband on board for no winter travel next year?  

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

Baking – mix your cookie dough now.  Either roll into logs and freeze for slice and bake cookies or bake and freeze now. You can do the same with cakes and pies. If this is still too much work, do any of your children like to bake?  If not, get premade baked goods at the grocery store.  

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

Ask your family which functions are most important to them.  Drop those that no longer interest you, your husband, or your children.  

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

Suggest to your children that you do something fun in February or March in lieu of going all out for birthdays this year. Ask for ideas of what they'd like to do. On the child's actual birthday, make a special meal and give the child a voucher for the selected event. 

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

Just a tree is fine.  If any family members want more, put them in charge of tidying and decorating.

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

 

 

 

 

 

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I have cut out lots of gifts.  I do my 3 kids and something  small for my mother.  Seriously, that is it.  We don't do siblings or cousins or niece's and nephews, etc.   We just get together with them and have a nice meal and the kids play. 

We used to do the Christmas hotel for a few years where my mom would get rooms for everyone and the kids would swim, etc.

Oh, I will add a small gift for dd's fiance.  Even close friends and I just decide to have a lunch out together or go for a nice long walk, etc.  We value time together more than gifts.

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Forgot one thing!

Something that used to bother me about Christmas was that you would have all this work and franticness and build up, and then bang it was over.

So I started celebrating Christmas starting on Christmas Eve, and continuing until Epiphany.  We sometimes save a few presents for then, and we do nice, cozy things most days.  One of the reasons I put the tree up so late is so that it is still fresh on Christmas Day, and I never take it down before Jan. 6.  So it's a sustained calm and fun period rather than just one mad day.

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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Forgot one thing!

Something that used to bother me about Christmas was that you would have all this work and franticness and build up, and then bang it was over.

So I started celebrating Christmas starting on Christmas Eve, and continuing until Epiphany.  We sometimes save a few presents for then, and we do nice, cozy things most days.  One of the reasons I put the tree up so late is so that it is still fresh on Christmas Day, and I never take it down before Jan. 6.  So it's a sustained calm and fun period rather than just one mad day.

 

This.  The twelve days of Christmas stretch from Christmas to Epiphany, not Advent!

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17 hours ago, MEmama said:

1. Stop the obligatory shopping. You don't owe anyone excuses or reasons. Their expectations are on them.

2. Don't visit family if you don't want to. We have a long standing tradition of not travelling on holidays. It's just not worth the stress.

3. Stop baking for others. No one actually wants or needs extra treats.

4. Only attend what you really want to experience. No one can force you to "do it all".

5. Perhaps you'll get to enjoy celebrating your kids more when you've ditched the meaningless clutter of the season (whatever that is to you). Your kids have the right to be celebrated regardless of the extraneous seasonal stuff.

6. Don't decorate. 

Seriously, the season is whatever you make it to be. Let go of whatever causes you stress and embrace whatever you love. Everyone will survive (and oh yes, I do know about in laws on a guilt trip. But the joy and peace of my family is not less important than the superficial material trappings of theirs). 

 

ALL.OF.THIS! The word 'no' is incredibly freeing.

We work very hard to keep Christmas sacred and spend it with our immediate family. We do not like to travel, do it rarely, although people are welcome to come to us. There's never a guarantee that DH will be home with us so we cherish and guard those moments fiercely. This way, we always get our favorite foods, enjoy our own annual traditions, and de-stress. As our kids have gotten older, they get fewer things anyway. Their advent calendar is filled with Bible verses and personal messages about what I love/appreciate about them. They were never much for presents anyway. All they ask is that I decorate and cook. That's easy (because I like to do it). =)

Edited by Sneezyone
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3 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

  For your child whose birthday is right after Thanksgiving, I'd consider a custom my mother had (I was early in the second week in Dec.) which was not playing any Christmas music until after my birthday.  Celebrating one holiday/season/special occasion at a time is really fun.

I have a child whose birthday is middle of December and so I always tried to keep the Christmas stuff till after her birthday so she wouldn't feel it was just lumped into Christmas (my sis was born Jan 1 and always freely shared all the ways people made her birthday feel unimportant since it was stuck in the middle of holiday season).  Anyways by the time that child was 6 she was BEGGING me to put up that tree for her birthday.  It's now our annual traditional that the tree MUST be up for her birthday (even if we are doing it 15 minutes before her birthday supper).  She doesn't even want to consider a birthday celebration without all the Christmas stuff.  Sometimes you just can't win these things.

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An epiphany!

there is NOTHING planned during the holiday season that is for ME!

(that sounds so selfish. But spending weeks doing everyone else’s idea of fun, particularly when that fun makes more work for me, feeds my resentment of the holiday season. Now what is fun? And will I feel like making my own fun when I’m already so swamped?)

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1. Shopping for people I don't know very well.
- Give cash. (google search for creative ways to give money)
- Or donate to a charity in their name.
- Or politely let everyone know NOW, starting this year, your family is cutting back and simplifying and won't be exchanging gifts, so: "please, no gifts for us, as we will only be exchanging gifts within our immediate family."

2. Family visits... [with] people [who] are... inflexible...
- Switch to Skype/Video Chat visits at Christmas.
- Switch to in-person visits outside of the holiday season, so no Christmas inflexibility to deal with.

3. Baking
- See #2 -- stop visiting at Christmas, which means not having to bake for outside of your family.
- Or, have a family cookie baking day -- everyone in your immediate family participates and has fun making/decorating all together (or each family member is the main overseer for one treat) so it doesn't all fall on you.
- Or, switch Christmas baking to the summer -- Enjoy baking/eating one favorite goodie each week of the summer.

4. Christmas functions
- Pick ONE outside Christmas event to enjoy all together as a family. After that, each family member is responsible for their own choices of going/not going to any other events -- no pressuring.
- Substitute some fun at-home things instead -- watch special Christmas movies or concerts on TV or DVD. Or videos of plays/productions.

5. Birthdays
Super tough. Very similar situation here, both in my growing up family, and now with my DH and DC. Ideas:
- Celebrate the birthday on the day, but hold the party separately, several weeks farther from Christmas (so, early in Nov. for the after Thanksgiving b-day) and at the end of Jan for the New Year's week b-day).
- Or, celebrate with a party on the half-birthday (6 months from the real date) rather than on the birthday.
- Or, cut way back on Christmas (return the focus on "the REAL reason for the season") -- like, 1 gift per person, and reduce to just 1-2 Christmas events -- and then go all out for the birthdays.

6 Decorating
- Skip decorating other than what YOU would *enjoy* putting up, and enjoy seeing for the season. (AND make it the amount that you feel like you won't get stressed about or mind taking down again afterwards.)
- If someone wants something additionally, "hand the baton" to them, that they are in charge of putting it up AND TAKING IT DOWN.
- Make tree decorating a relaxing special family time -- Christmas music, hot chocolate and cookies, and everyone enjoying chatting about favorite ornaments as you hang them. Double dip and that could be one of your substitute Christmas functions for #4.
- Or, skip decorating entirely for a year or two; instead, go out a few times during the season to stores or neighborhoods that decorate a lot and enjoy *their* decorations (and the peace you are feeling from NOT having to take time to be the pre-season decorator and janitor afterwards for this year).

Edited by Lori D.
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22 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

I have a child whose birthday is middle of December and so I always tried to keep the Christmas stuff till after her birthday so she wouldn't feel it was just lumped into Christmas (my sis was born Jan 1 and always freely shared all the ways people made her birthday feel unimportant since it was stuck in the middle of holiday season).  Anyways by the time that child was 6 she was BEGGING me to put up that tree for her birthday.  It's now our annual traditional that the tree MUST be up for her birthday (even if we are doing it 15 minutes before her birthday supper).  She doesn't even want to consider a birthday celebration without all the Christmas stuff.  Sometimes you just can't win these things.

 

This is my DS. We took a trip to South Africa for Christmas last year and he insisted we put the tree up before we left (we celebrated his birthday early). In his mind, Christmas=his birthday and Holloween=sister's birthday. They practically dance a jig into every new year.

21 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

An epiphany!

there is NOTHING planned during the holiday season that is for ME!

(that sounds so selfish. But spending weeks doing everyone else’s idea of fun, particularly when that fun makes more work for me, feeds my resentment of the holiday season. Now what is fun? And will I feel like making my own fun when I’m already so swamped?)

 

Definitely build in something you love/enjoy! Self-care is healthy.

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Do you want to go see a movie by yourself?

Have a romantic dinner with dh?

Get your hair/nails whatever done?

Read a book quietly somewhere?

Go out to brunch with a friend some Saturday?

Serve meals at a homeless shelter?

Play music for an hour at a nursing home? Or call bingo?

Drive around by yourself with some hot cocoa and look at Christmas lights?

Watch Netflix, a lot? Or buy a season of a show you’ve always wanted to catch up on?

 

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For one thing, I hand off so much of the baking to the kids, just as my mom did. And I've simplified the list I grew up with, including turning our delicately filled and shaped cookies into a spiral-wrapped and sliced log, lol.

The absolutely best thing ever was deciding to stay home. I had grown up spending half the day with my mom's side of the family and half with my dad's. (Alternating afternoon and evening.)  It had worked out so well for my family, with 3 adult families on each side, that I hadn't imagined what problems there could be.  I underestimated my in-laws!  So, after trying for a few years, we ditched the whole thing!

Gift-wise, our family went with drawing names for the adults, and then started having us kids do the same once we weren't babies anymore.  Now our family is pretty lopsided, so it doesn't make sense to draw names with my 5 kids and the 3 cousins we send gifts, but most of my family members stick with "family gifts" for them, like amusement park tickets or science center memberships.  One and done!

Decorating is a tough one for me.  I love all the trimmings, but I'm really only designed to live with them for 2 weeks or so.  The other 6 people in my house?  They want Thanksgiving to mid-January!  That is where I do my best to suck it up, and they do their best to give me an immaculate (well, by their standards) house after the undecorating.
When #5 was born a week before Christmas, I really thought I'd be able to convince them to hold off until the day after his birthday. There was a mutiny.

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What I do for me:

—Church.  Candlelight service on Christmas Eve is one that I look forward to all year.  We also go to church on Christmas morning.

—Waldorf Fair—not every year, but when I can fit it in, I always enjoy this because they sell the kinds of things that I like for myself, with beauty and natural materials and handwork prominently featured.  It’s the first Saturday in Dec.

—Singing.  A lot.  I”m in a community choir that usually does 4 performances during Dec.  That’s a little much, but it’s basically enjoyable.  

—Looking forward to the time after Christmas.  The house is decorated, it’s peaceful, no one wants me for anything, it’s cozy, I can curl up an read in a pleasant place, I don’t have any desire to go outside.  The days are short and I can sleep a little more than usual if I want.

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20 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

Off the top of my head in bold...

 

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? Maybe not more fun and entertaining, but you could make it easier on yourself and just give gift cards. Or go with a theme and give everybody the same thing, but different--such as puzzles. Bonus: people might spend time together doing them. (If you haven't looked through puzzle catalogs lately, there are so many options.)

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. If you're traveling and getting stuck with visiting this relative and that once you're there, tell them you love them but can't make all the side visits this year (no reason necessary). But you'll be at Grandma's house and they can all visit you there. Then pull out the puzzles or a board game and invite them to play. It helps with conversation.

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. Buy the stuff you take elsewhere and save your baking energy for the things your family enjoys.

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame. Pick the one that means the most and skip the others unless your kids are performing. If they are, you're stuck.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu. Switch out the individual celebrations with a quarterly "Fairfarmhand's Family Birthday" tradition. Make it a big deal.  It's still going to be one day instead of several.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree. It's time for everybody to pitch in to get the house cleaned up and in shape for decorating. Extra bonus points if you can combine the family birthday celebration with decorating. (My kids liked having "their" decorating job each year. Woe to the kid who took the string of lights that "belonged" to the other.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Move to Jerusalem! You won't have to bake, visit anyone, decorate or buy gifts for far away relatives.

Lots of church, though. Lots and lots of church. ?

Seriously, hope you can change what you dislike and give a good attitude to others as your Christmas gift in the areas that challenge you. 

 

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Oh my goodness, you are describing my life. When I have more time I'll go back and read what everyone else said because I probably need it. A few strategies I've adopted over the years:

When it's time to shop, I get up super early in the morning to avoid the crowds. And that's for stuff that I absolutely have to go out and buy, like groceries. We do almost all of our Christmas shopping on Amazon.

We've approached several family members and just suggested that we stop exchanging gifts. Or, we've just stopped reciprocating. Eventually they get the message. One person just insists on doing it anyway. When we know we are going to see their kids, they get itunes gift cards. Done. When we aren't going to see them, we don't get them anything.

I used to go crazy baking for a bunch of people at church - my husband is a pastor. He was a bit critical of the fact that "all we're giving them is [whatever I chose to bake that year]". So finally I decided not to do it anymore. Let him figure out what to do for these people. He bought his associate pastor a gift card and that's it. I bought gift cards for my two Children's Church helpers. Everyone else just got a card. Nobody seemed to notice they didn't get cookies or whatever. I am so done with the baking thing. Speaking of cards, we usually order photo cards. People LOVE those things. We see them on their refrigerators when we go to their house. Way less effort than baking and people seem to appreciate it more.

I don't decorate. The tree is enough. My husband does the lights outside.

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On 10/30/2018 at 3:25 PM, fairfarmhand said:

So I am a huge Grinch. I dislike Christmas. All the noise, decorations, mess, too many gifts, traveling, obligatory giving...all of it makes me want to hide under the covers until December 24.

About December 22, after we did our travel, passed out the obligatory gifts, actually get to stay home and enjoy one another rather than racing from one event, party, or celebration to another, I start to enjoy it a little more. I can remember that it's really about Jesus. 

But the rest of the Chrismas season, I am kinda in a bad mood. Too much to do, too many obligations, bah humbug.

I'm always a little ashamed of myself. I feel like the biggest party pooper.

So I'm thinking of doing a simple project this Christmas season to help me not be so Grumpy. 

So I need people who don't really enjoy Christmas that much to help me think of ways to look on the bright side. Like, I'm never going to just LOVE going to the in-laws, so how can I make that more fun and enjoyable. (didn't someone post about a drinking game where they'd take a sip every time the annoying uncle brought up politics or vaccines or veganism or whatever? As a non-drinker, I can change that to m and m's or skittles) 

How can I enjoy the typical Christmas experiences without ruining my mood? 

Does that make sense? Anyone see what I am going for? Any ideas or thoughts?

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

 

 

 

 

 

Take this with a grain of salt, but:

1.  Allow them to have a coronary.  I don't want gifts from these people and I don't want to worry about what to get people I don't know.  So we just stopped, both giving and receiving, and it was good.

2. My mom told me that once she had kids, the rule was that Christmas morning was at home with just the immediate family and then if no one was sick we would go to a relative's house for Christmas afternoon or dinner.  If it was more than a couple hours' drive, we just stayed home.  

3. My dad made an excellent pumpkin pie and very good cookies for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  When someone asked for the recipe, he'd say "ask Sara Lee" (by which he actually meant ask the store brand frozen pumpkin pie box, because he wasn't about to buy frozen pie for nine prices).

4. Can you go to some and assign DH to go to others?  Do you have to be at all of them?

5. Ugh, that is kind of a bummer.  I have a niece with a post-Christmas birthday and they always do something very simple - pizza at Chuck-e-cheese or roller skating or something, low key-ish.

6. I don't decorate.  I do buy supplies and show DD13 my Christmas decorating Pinterest board.  Kids love that kind of thing.

 

So anyway, maybe you can just cut back in one or more areas with no guilt.  You do way more than I do as you can see!

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On 10/30/2018 at 1:25 PM, fairfarmhand said:

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

 

I'll bite.

1.  We are not the closest family or the largest family on the planet, but with my birth family and now with my married-into family, too, once a kid is past 18 (or 21), the gifts stop.  All of ours have to be shipped, I don't even KNOW my nieces and nephews.  Of 7, I have met 4 of them only three times, and they all have kids now...or could.  I ship from Williams Sonoma (like ship directly from Williams Sonoma, in one session on the computer) a toffee cake to DH's siblings.  My sister gets more because she and I are close, and she is more involved with my family than any of my DH's siblings.  Our moms each get a toffee cake and some other consumable.  Cheese for three months, something like that.  One Williams Sonoma session and I'm done with everyone in the family and life-friends list.  Frankly, the cost of shipping gifts annoys the tar out of me, and we are really dialing it back.  Is there anyone on your list who needs more stuff???  DS and his girlfriend will get nice gifts, because they need stuff.  We don't.  Please don't give me stuff.  My son gives me a "dinner and a movie" date.  I LOVE that.  

2.  Family visits.  We have been in proximity to one set of parents for a number of years, and now we are in proximity to the other.  So we just have dinner on Christmas, and watch a movie.  And after grandma goes home, we watch Die Hard.  When my son was born, we set the rule (which we broke a couple of times) that we would travel AFTER Christmas but not before.  Sometimes my parents came to see us, and that was great, as my sister used to live in town, too.  

3.  I have never baked a thing in my life ever.  My mom baked pumpkin breads for all her friends, and that was their Christmas gift, and that was brilliant, but she started in October, and froze them, so it wasn't a dreadful marathon.  We cook a generous Christmas dinner (prime rib) and invite stragglers from church who would otherwise eat at McDonalds, and that's what we call good enough.

4.  Here is one where I probably can't help you much because of...well, you'll see.  Orthodox Christians observe 6 weeks of Advent (pretty much from November 15 to December 24).  There are regular church services and so on, but it is supposed to be a time of living quietly and in expectation.  Christmas happens on December 25 (or January 6 for some) and there are TWELVE DAYS of Christmas afterward.  We give a little present each of those days...a LITTLE present.  But Advent is quiet.  So many of us try to have all the shopping and so on done by November 15.  It really dials it back, not having to go to the mall when it is completely insane or think about material things constantly starting in about 12 hours (November 1, anymore).  Just staying OUT of the madness is enormously helpful.  And that leaves time for the *events* that you need to attend...things like office parties or children's concerts...with some margin around them for peace.  We also celebrate St. Nicholas Day December 6 which has its own little traditions, and that reduces the hyperactivity around waiting three more weeks to open presents.

5.  Can't help you on birthdays.  We are all summer folk.  :0)  Our anniversary is the day before the Advent Fast kicks in, so we go out for dinner.   My friend, a priest's wife, has her birthday on December 24--they just flat out moved it to another date.  The point isn't the date, it's the remembrance.

6.  I hate decorating...it is worse than making a bed (I'm just going to get back in ...  ).  YES I love it when it is done.  But we downsized, and I had to get rid of a lot of stuff, or save it in the shed for when my son gets his own place that can display it (a lot of it is his).  We got a small tree that folds up sort of like an umbrella.  It takes 2 seconds.  We leave the lights on it, year after year.  I get a wreath for the front door.  I grab a different box of ornaments each year and we put up about 25 of them.  We hang all the stockings by the chimney with care...they were handmade by my grandmother, and they "decorate" the family room.   The tree "decorates" the living room.

And after saying all that...I have to say that dialing it back, intentionally focusing on the reason, like for 6 weeks, and meaning something by it (like NOT shopping) and living into our Church life has made it so I actually DO like Christmas again.  Turns out it wasn't Christmas that was making me insane...it was consumerism.  Advent and Christmas are now beautiful again, and I look forward to them.  Maybe not as much as most, but a lot more than I used to.  :0)

 

 

 

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 1. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?"  

Give your two youngest kids a list, a budget, and the Amazon password. Boom, done. 

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

This depends on just how much visiting you are doing. It sounds like you're done a few days before Christmas, so if you're just making sure everyone gets a visit in December, I'd probably suck it up for the most part. Have you ever tried anything like bringing games to play? Either party games or board games? If some don't want to, that's fine, but nothing keeping you from doing it. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

Well, I just wouldn't do this. It doesn't matter if you've done it for the last 30 years, you don't have to keep on doing it. 

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you going to see people you know appear in productions? If it's your own kids, yeah, you have to go, lol, but you can nope your way out of everyone else's. 

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

I would definitely ask if anyone would like a half-birthday. In any case, I wouldn't be doing three separate parties in six weeks. I have two kids and they each had one birthday party on their own (their first) and it was joint parties every year after that. Are they doing friend parties or just family parties? Mine are two years apart, so this worked for friend parties, too. If they do friend parties and combining won't work, and you pay for them, either offer them some cash to NOT have a party, or give them a budget and say, here, plan your party!  

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

Can you put the kids who want to decorate in charge of decorating? My kids loved having the house decorated, so I always did it even when I didn't feel like it, because I figured there were only so many years they'd be home. This is actually the first year I haven't decorated for Halloween, because both the kids are in college and even local girl was barely home in October. It was nice to skip the effort but a lil sad, too. 

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

Pick two things on your list and make big changes. And then definitely plan something YOU want to do! 

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On 10/30/2018 at 4:25 PM, fairfarmhand said:

So help me out: What I don't like about Christmas:

1. Shopping for people I don't know very well. This is what I mean by obligatory giving. It irritates the crap out of me to have to call someone and say "What would your child like for Christmas?" If I knew the kids and what they'd like very well, I wouldn't have to ask. So these are gifts for sort of strangers. I'd love to forego the obligatory giving, but I think certain relatives would have a coronary. Is there a way to make this more fun and entertaining? 

1. Most kids want an expensive item their parents have told them they have to save up for-you can help make that dream come true with cash.


2. I finally bit the bullet and 2 early Novembers ago made a large chart and showed it to the relatives that I thought would have a coronary explaining why I wouldn't do gift exchanges anymore (20 people to buy for between my immediate family and extended relative kids.) I also highlighted every person who asks me for a list of what my kids want each year (8 people) and explained that I couldn't reasonably be expected to come up with that many lists. It was hard for them to argue with me. I got a couple of mild comments about it during the holidays, but I ignored them.

2. Family visits. I don't mind this too much but some people are a little inflexible and want Christmas to look a particular way every single time. And add that to the "we live a decent distance from family so it's not just go there and come back in one day."  And I don't have a ton in common with all my relatives. They're not evil, they're not unkind or terrible. Just not much in common so that can be hard. 

1. Stop wanting to please them.  Stop being bothered when they're displeased. It's not your problem, it's theirs.

2. You don't have to go there every year.  You just don't. Last year we finally told my mom's side (there are 3 sides in addition to my immediate family) that we would be available in early January.  It was great!  So much less pressure.

3. And it can be easier.  When you have a lot in common with them it can be boring because it's such familiar territory.  I think it it's MUCH easier to chat chit (I hate chit chat) with someone I don't have things in common with because I get to hear about new topics and hear new points of view.  It's easy to come up with questions to ask them because I don't know much about their interests. Think of yourself as a talk show host and ask questions and follow up questions to the answers if you get stuck at a family gathering. 

3. Baking--Ordinarily, I love to bake, but bringing cookies to this event and a pie to the above mentioned family gatherings, etc. I just get so burned out that I don't even want to prepare anything for MY family to enjoy. 

We take a fall break in early-mid October and I do most of my holiday prebaking then.  In my freezer I now have double batch cookie doughs: orange sugar cookies, lemon sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and assembled but unbaked pies: cherry and apple plus some baked and frozen muffins: lemon blueberry.  During November weekends I'll get some cranberry pecan muffins, croissants, and another apple pie made.

For people who don't like baking or don't have time, store bought is delicious too, and I notice you have kids that are old enough to do some baking on their own.  If they really want baked from scratch treats they can bake from scratch and clean up after.

4. Christmas functions--I like productions and plays but Christmas is just too much crammed into too short of a time frame.

I'm assuming you mean something your kid isn't in. Choose one to attend this year if you go at all.  Every year does not have to be a Christmas production/function year.  Next year send Christmas cards everyone sits around the dinner table and signs/addresses/stamps together.  The next year go to Granny's.  The next year go sledding.  You get the idea. Don't try to do everything every year, have a highlight for the year and keep everything else low key.

5. Birthdays--Three of my four kids have birthdays within six weeks of Christmas. So we get partied out very quickly. My poor oldest has a birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my second has one the first week of January when EVERYONE is sick of gifts and celebrations, if they're not down with the flu.

Oldest's is New Year's Day and Middle's is often Thanksgiving Day.  We offer half birthday options.  Never had a taker. Consider a simple event like activity (movie, ice skating, children's theater, painting ceramics, bowling) and dessert out (ice cream place, dinner with pie selection, restaurant with dessert selection.) Keep the number of people invited in line with your budget. It can be lovely with just 3 people.

6 Decorating--I used to like to decorate. Now, not so much. The house is so messy anyway, that adding more crap to the clutter just makes me annoyed.I do well to put up a tree.

I put up a tree, wreath on the front door, my Grandmother's nativity set, stockings, and an advent candle set.  That's plenty.   If the kids want outdoor decorations they have to put them up and take them down. 

Does family help put up and take down the tree? You can have cocoa (easy mix packets) while everyone helps set up the tree together.  You can put on a favorite movie and easy lunch or munchies to take it down and put it away together.  Also, if you have the space, you can wrap or cover a decorated tree and store it upright and not have to put away the ornaments at all.

Aynyone want to help fix my Christmas without just adding to my to-do list?

Unplug the Christmas Machine https://www.amazon.com/Unplug-Christmas-Machine-Complete-Putting/dp/0688109616/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541034810&sr=8-1&keywords=unplug+the+christmas+machineis a good way to help you analyze what you do and don't want and make a plan to make it happen.

 

 

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