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How has your Christmas changed now that the kids are grown/on their own?

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Now that my kids are all adults, I want to cut back big time on gifts.  Would love to do just one or two each besides the stockings, which they really look forward to.  They're really hard to buy for now anyway!And with just a 2 yr old gs, not looking to buy him stuff for their house either. 

We'll have to switch to more game playing, I guess, like we do at my big family's gathering.  And now I'll probably have to fix a big dinner, too, tho maybe I can get away with appetizers again like last year, when the kids didn't come til 4 or so, after gs had his nap.  Also, I'll be making the big dinner for 20 the weekend after Christmas.  Once for the week should do, I think! 😉 

How about you?  Things changing at your house, too?

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I only have one adult DD, but really, there's not much that changed with regards to her and Christmas.  She of course doesn't live at home, but she's still single and she comes home usually for Christmas eve, so that she's here Christmas morning as the younger kids open gifts.

As far as gifts.  Last year, we just gave her money.  We spend the same amount per kid, so last year, I just gave her that amount in cash.  I might do the same this year, or I might get her some gifts and some cash.

 

The only struggle I have is sibling gifts.  There are 4 kids total.  Growing up my parents never instituted any sort of sibling gifts...what a pain to manage having Child A get for B, C, and D, making sure Child B gets for A, C, and D, and on and on .  DD23 however chooses to get gifts for her younger siblings (there is a very large age gap between her and the other 3.)  And it's just hard for me to figure out what to do....do I have them all get something for her?  And then if I do, do I have to also manage each of them getting for each other?   I dunno.  So far, we haven't done that....but they are getting older and last year, DD11 asked about getting a gift for her sister, so...blah.  

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I try not to think of it as depressing.  I miss the living room being taken over by Legos, battle bots, American girls etc.   We only have one home and she's 14 and has asked for only 1 thing but it's pricey so dh and I are debating..  The adult kids are hard to buy for.  My Navy kid will be home and will only have his back pack to take anything back with and needs or wants for nothing.  I miss the shopping and planning.  However we do have a grandson and since his parents and he are here all day Christmas I'm trying to find him a gift that's entertaining.  So that's been fun trying to find that one or two toys for him.  I'm thankful dd likes to decorate for Christmas with me.  I'm thankful for the many years I had while the kids were little and am embracing our new reality of life as semi empty nesters.

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It is much more quiet.  No getting up at o'dark thirty for the mad dash to the Christmas tree.  My adult kid is not usually here so his things get saved until he comes home.  My teen doesn't want presents this year, just a stocking with candy.  We are doing a thrift store book hunt the week before Christmas and then will save all our books to start reading on Christmas day.   We give our son money and then fun food gifts (usually from Trader Joe's cause he doesn't have one near him) and cleaning stuff, toilet paper....the kinds of things that are horrifying to think of receiving as a kid, but thrilling to receive as an adult cause you don't have to buy them for the month of January.   It is kind of odd to think how Christmas morning has changed since they were little, but it is still fun....just in a different more laid back less frantic way.

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It's different, and it's the same. The big push is the annual Christmas tree hunt, preferably NOT getting the trucks stuck and breaking axles! We've done that several times. It's different, with the addition of boyfriends, fiancees, husbands, etc. It's definitely different, with a number of military kids, one who is currently deployed. It's different because it often changes dates--looks like the 27th-28th this year. Maybe. We won't have the family string quartet at church on the 24th, and that's sad. But that reminds me--need to get the piano tuned. It's the same because we'll still feed the cattle before we do presents, only this year we may be German and open presents on the 27th (our Christmas Eve) to accommodate sil flying back down to Colombia. The kids will still get each other stuff, and they've continued being very thoughtful doing so. I imagine ds will get his usual stack of Subway cards--that's been a tradition since he left for college. There will be lots of new books, and I hope, a new Naxos recording will be out from oldest dd! There will be lots of chocolate in stockings, and youngest will give everyone maple stuff, as she'd based in VT now. I've taken a few years off from baking 100+ fruitcakes, and I actually thought yesterday that maybe I'd go back to it, but maybe just a few. We'll probably continue with the tradition of folks going up the canyon and shooting, if we don't have too much snow--that's always fun. We'll have lots of music, two of the kids will have violins here, and youngest has her own cello now. We'll sing a lot of Christmas carols around the piano. And we'll probably pile in cars and look at the decorated houses in town, in the evening. We'll have some folks from the neighborhood, along with an elderly friend or two, and so we'll be driving people to and fro. And the Christmas tradition of a blizzard will probably still hold, as usual. 

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Wanted to add--just thought of a gift for dd--she mentioned mealworms for her ducks, so I went looking for them on Amazon. The banner read "Gifts for everyone on your list!" and then: mealworms. Hmmm...not too sure how many people are looking for mealworms. 

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This was going to be the first year without one of mine. DD21 is married and living in another state. Her husband is Air Force so we thought they wouldn't be home on the holiday and they would be flying so we would just send the prez to their house. This felt kinda weird because that means the big pile under the tree...would be very light this year. Just found out a few days ago, they are getting 2 1/2 weeks off and now the only limiting factor, will be her job!  She will be here for Christmas and are driving home, which means I can buy them presents for under the tree!!!!  Wooo Hoo. Christmas just got better!  I gently asked what the plan was for the actual holidays, and they plan Christmas Eve with us, Christmas Morning with us and Christmas lunch with his family. Another win!  LOL

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We just have one at home this year with dd18 in college and the two older girls married. We have had some Christmases with all of them home and some all alone. It is different but also kind of fun to figure out new traditions. I’m still buying pjs for everyone, though I think I’ll give that to the couples to do for themselves next year. It’s nice to have a tall son to help with putting up lights and decorating the tree. I still bake cookies and try to have some warm afterschool for most of December. But no gingerbread house.... (though I love the gingerbread house, so maybe?)

Last year I let the married kids know that I wasn’t doing stockings for them any more (the year before we were all together and I filled all the stockings, but I didn’t want that to become a tradition!) 

I tell myself to do one gift for the couple and call that good, but I have always bought another small thing or two for each kid and inlaw. 

Buying for the older teens is actually harder than the married couples!

We will have Christmas with some of the kids and then see the others the week after. Oldest dd just asked if I was planning to bring the chimes (we have a simple set of pipe chimes that we use to sing carols with) it made me happy that she still wants to do them! (Perhaps it’s time to make a set for each couple?)

As a military family with the next generation heading into the military next year, we feel hugely blessed that we have lived somewhat close to both sets of married kids for the last few years. I’m sure things will change as we continue moving and they start moving and or start families, but for now it is wonderful to have the chance to see the kids over the holidays!!

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Now that the dc are out of the house, the focus is on enjoying the times that we can get together. Without all the school activities, its a lot easier for them to relax and enjoy the holidays.  We are all in our own community music groups, so the ones who have to miss a concert listen in via phone if not a work, or watch a youtube recording if at work/sleep during concert time.  As a military brat, I find it more than cool that we can all skype or facetime...phone was so expensive growing up that conversations had to be short. So, yep, we all travel more and have learned how to get to/from the airports cheaply. We have set up a tablet at the place on the table the absent member normally sits and they skype/facetime in and enjoy the convo.

The extended family used the leaving the nest as an opening to attempt to replace the dc with them; we've walked out on some tantrums as we have rejected the roles they want to assign.  Dropping our participation in their extended holiday celebration before our children fledged has turned out to be very very wise as it made the point that we have cleaved & our religious life and our immediate family is first in priority.  Not that we don't want to spend time with them; we just aren't going to sacrifice our immediate family or our retirement funds in order to satisfy the demands.

Edited by HeighHo
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Things are different because we moved here. Only dd comes at Christmas now, although next year I want that to change. We had 2 Christmases where one son was in rehab, and that premature leave-taking left a hollow place in my heart. He is married now and has our granddaughter; I encourage my kids to have their own celebration at home and then come over as a rule, but he did come twice for Xmas and that was actually good (although we fought the last year we were home  the day after Xmas, and he said he'd never come to that house again--didn't know we would move and that turn out to be true). 

Anyway, last year was really hard here, even tho we did go to the Church of the Nativity for a service Christmas Eve. It was amazing but I was terribly anxious in the crowds and homesick. This year will be better, and I only have to get thru one more til we can go home. 

Edited by Chris in VA
clarity
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20 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

The only struggle I have is sibling gifts.  There are 4 kids total.  Growing up my parents never instituted any sort of sibling gifts...what a pain to manage having Child A get for B, C, and D, making sure Child B gets for A, C, and D, and on and on .  DD23 however chooses to get gifts for her younger siblings (there is a very large age gap between her and the other 3.)  And it's just hard for me to figure out what to do....do I have them all get something for her?  And then if I do, do I have to also manage each of them getting for each other?   I dunno.  So far, we haven't done that....but they are getting older and last year, DD11 asked about getting a gift for her sister, so...blah.  

 

My three will sometimes buy for each other, or sometimes just one will.  It varies.  I don't worry about it.  Youngest, dd, likes to make something for everyone most years.  It's totally up to them.

 

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5 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

Things are different because we moved here. Only dd comes at Christmas now, although next year I want that to change. We had 2 Christmases where one son was in rehab, and that premature leave-taking left a hollow place in my heart. He is married now and has our granddaughter; I encourage my kids to have their own celebration at home and then come over as a rule, but he did come twice for Xmas and that was actually good (although we fought the last year we were home  the day after Xmas, and he said he'd never come to that house again--didn't know we would move and that turn out to be true). 

Anyway, last year was really hard here, even tho we did go to the Church of the Nativity for a service Christmas Eve. It was amazing but I was terribly anxious in the crowds and homesick. This year will be better, and I only have to get thru one more til we can go home. 

Hope you can plan something unique for this year, so it will stand out special in your memories.

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20 hours ago, lynn said:

I try not to think of it as depressing.  I miss the living room being taken over by Legos, battle bots, American girls etc.   We only have one home and she's 14 and has asked for only 1 thing but it's pricey so dh and I are debating..  The adult kids are hard to buy for.  My Navy kid will be home and will only have his back pack to take anything back with and needs or wants for nothing.  I miss the shopping and planning.  However we do have a grandson and since his parents and he are here all day Christmas I'm trying to find him a gift that's entertaining.  So that's been fun trying to find that one or two toys for him.  I'm thankful dd likes to decorate for Christmas with me.  I'm thankful for the many years I had while the kids were little and am embracing our new reality of life as semi empty nesters.

My gs is 2.  I've been looking in the stores for toys, and haven't liked anything I've seen there.  I was in an antique shop and fell in love with an old Fisher Price camper.  Went to Ebay and found a complete camper set that I HAD to have. lol.  Showed dil and she said he's going to love it!

Having the kids with one really makes Christmas...

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Our daughter had been living and working in South Korea for some six years now. She came home for a visit in April; when she returned to Korea, she carried back our wrapped Christmas gifts with her. We'll add a few Kindle books and probably a few paper books from Book Depository, so she'll have a few more packages. We'll Zoom (akin to Skype) with her on her Christmas Day/our Christmas Eve and open packages together. 

My husband and I might get together with other local family or friends, or we may just be mellow together.

Regards,

Kareni

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On November 21, 2019 at 9:03 PM, Margaret in CO said:

Wanted to add--just thought of a gift for dd--she mentioned mealworms for her ducks, so I went looking for them on Amazon. The banner read "Gifts for everyone on your list!" and then: mealworms. Hmmm...not too sure how many people are looking for mealworms. 

Hey, me!!  I have the world's most spoiled chickens.

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