Those of us who love Christmas....

(28 Posts)
nickdrakeslovechild Thu 28-Aug-14 21:33:50

Can I ask what your childhood was like? And do you think this is why you love Christmas?
I am completely OTT on Christmas as it was the only day of the year which was as near to normal as my childhood ever got.
I would just be interested if you were the same over compensating (like me) or recreating a great childhood?

strawberryshoes Thu 28-Aug-14 21:37:25

Idyllic childhood, love Christmas. It was one of the highlights of the year, food, gifts, family. The rest of the year was pretty good too though. I was lucky

nickdrakeslovechild Thu 28-Aug-14 21:42:01

Sounds good strawberry that's the sort of thing I am aiming at for my LO.

WeHateAmy Thu 28-Aug-14 21:58:00

Mine was always lovely.

We didn't have much money but my parents worked hard to make it special.

My Nana's (mum's mum) was born on Christmas Eve so that was always lovely, we would always have a birthday/Christmas celebration on the day. The first part of the day was birthday and from mid afternoon onwards it would be Christmasy.

On Christmas day we would open presents and have breakfast, then go over to my grandparents house across the road (dad's parents) to open presents and spend time with them.

Then home for dinner and the afternoon spent with our toys and things.

My Mum was really good at getting us doing crafts and singing songs and things, so the build up was always lovely too.

And at New Year we would either go to my grandparents house if they were having a party or I would spend the night with my Nana at her house, where we would have our own little party for two, which she would save balloons and Christmas crackers and things for.

It was always really nice.

So I'm trying to do the same for DS, although we are compensating a little as we don't see DH's parents so there's a side of the family he's missing out on. Not so much on PILs, who are awful, but on SIL etc when she has parties or whatever and invites the family as if PILs are there we don't go.

Most of my family lived in and around the same few streets when I was a child, so there was always someone doing something, especially at Christmas, and I'm sorry DS is cut off from that a bit because of PILs behaviour and people live further away now etc. The furthest some of my cousins lived was Scotland, his have made it to Australia.

If we have Christmas dinner in our own home then we like to have it early and go for a walk in the woods afterwards, as they are only across the road. We take flasks of hot chocolate with us and DS and the dogs like to explore. There's a surprising amount of people out and about in the woods on Christmas day and all of them are surprisingly cheerful, so it's lovely.

nickdrakeslovechild Thu 28-Aug-14 22:07:29

oh WeHateAmy I think I may have something in my eye!

ilovelamp82 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:20:21

I wondered recently why I am so obsessed with Christmas, and I think it may be this.

My brother fell out with my parents and moved out of home at a young age. I idolised him and we would often not see him or even know where he was for months at a time. When he did come back sometimes there were arguments, but whenever he came home at Christmas, it was always a lovely family day with no arguing.

Also my birthday is 5 days before Christmas, and I just prefer cold weather so it's my favourite time of year.

We didn't go without as children by any means, but we weren't bought toys on a regular basis, but were spoilt rotten at Christmas. I sort of do the same with my kids, I buy things often for them but put them away so they can have them on Christmas day, because I love the wow factor.

I don't have any other family around either, so I like to go over the top to compensate. I have such lovely magical, memories of Christmas and go to great lengths to make it perfect. Truth be known though that I can't really remember many presents, as I say it was having all my family together, harmonious for the day that I loved.

Also, my Dad was a real grafter, worked a lot of hours and when he came home he would generally be stressed or just have the TV on. It was amazing to have his full attention for the day and to see everyone happy.

noideawottoget Thu 28-Aug-14 22:45:10

my parents never made much of a fuss at christmas, my dad is seriously grumpy, antisocial and a control freak. minimal decorations, just a chicken dinner etc. it was nice, but it was nothing spectacular. as a result, i have always gone all out at christmas and often spend probably 2 grand ish total on presents ,food, drink decorations etc. its my favourite time of year, and i am just sad now that my kids are growing up and the magic wont last much longer.

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Thu 28-Aug-14 22:50:01

I'm slowly and subconsciously recreating the Christmas' I had as a child.

My parents didn't have a lot of spare cash but they almost made sure we had a great Christmas. Decorating the tree together, mountain of presents on Christmas morning, spending the day together as a family - taking turns to play records/cd's that had been received, family board games etc. We stayed at home for the first time last year and it was fab. Definitely going to do it again this year - can't wait grin

RJnomore Thu 28-Aug-14 23:24:15

We didn't celebrate Christmas at all.

I am literally like a kid at Christmas every year.

2anddone Thu 28-Aug-14 23:31:20

My two biggest memories from Christmas when I was a child was
1 My mum rushing us through present opening as we had to get everything tidy and put in our bedrooms before our family came for lunch and
2 getting bought ridiculously large piles of gifts from mum and dad as they worked 7 days a week so overcompensated for the fact they never spent any time with us with loads of stuff at Christmas. The fact that actually all I wanted was one of them to spend time with me playing the games which they always bought then refused to play. My Christmas afternoons were spent adults asleep children trying to work out how the new games were played.
I now do things differently and dc don't get many gifts from me and whatever they are bought we play with together if they want me to

xalyssx Thu 28-Aug-14 23:38:34

Mum and I didn't go overboard at Christmas, we had a small tree, one room decorated, no outdoor lights etc, and only really celebrated on Christmas Day itself. But we had such a great time with all our family on that one day, and I just want to continue it for everyone else.

GiveMeCheesecake Thu 28-Aug-14 23:59:25

Lovely childhood. My parents were/are amazing even if I did think they were ruining my life in my teen years grin

My dad absolutely LOVES Christmas and this has definitely been passed on to me. Christmas was always a big build up in our house. Advent calendars, buying sweets and keeping them in the closet for Christmas, writing letters to Santa. Putting up decorations was a big deal and I even carried on doing it for a few years once I moved out. We would set a date and I would come to theirs and my dad and I would wear our Santa hats, put a Christmas CD on and decorate the tree together.

Growing up, we had a lovely home but we didn't get brand name clothes/shoes or the latest gadgets. AFAIR, we only got new toys on birthdays and Christmas. My parents spoilt my DB and I rotten at Christmas. All the things we'd wanted throughout the year. But the thing I loved the most, and the thing I look forward to now with my own family, is being at home together. I loved being all cosy and excited together on Christmas Eve and then spending Christmas Day eating loads of food and watching the telly together.

Christmas has changed hugely in the last few years. When I was a child (I'm 48 now) it didn't start so early. People didn't decorate the outside of their houses.
We had presents but they'd be one bagful.
Christmas Dinner would be chicken and something like steamed pudding.

As I got older ( probably 8+) we'd moved a couple of times. The tree we had and the lights had certainly seen better days but they still got put up.

My Mum doesn't like putting decorations up (even worse at putting them away) . Not keen on cooking either.
"I don't know how you can be bothered putting the decorations up" she says.
"Why do people want dinner"? (Any dinner not just Christmas)

We had a friend of my parents to stay and he did cook, my Mum would let anyone who dallied in the kitchen long enough, cook /clean/wash up (or it just didn't get done)

If you asked "What;s for dinner" the answer was "Whatever you want to make".

So, Christmas time, was not a time she enjoyed. We (myself, brother and sister) put up decorations, Dad did shopping.
Parents are Church goers so are very much aware of the reasons behind Christmas. At Church, she'd say "Oh, I;m going home and my dinner will be made" they probably thought 'Oh what nice DC you have' but if I didn't , it wouldn't get done.

"I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up after it's all over"
"My favourite day is Boxing Day. because then it's all over"
But it wasn't in a "Oh, ha ha, you are a card, but you deserve to put your feet up being so busy" , it really was that she'd rather it didn't happen.

They've been to my house for Christmas, I like the decorating and cooking. I will, quite happily spend 5 hours pottering about , cooking. When the DC were little, they took them to the park, while I cooked.
I refuse to spend Christmas outside of my house now,. I want to cook in my kitchen. Use my crockery.
I don't care where I spend NYE. But Christmas is with my DC and DH.
I'm not a martyr, I could book dinner in a resturant. I could buy all of it from M&S. I don't want to.

My DC (especially my DD, DS is a typical teen now) will talk about Chrismas and the things she enjoys, from her tiny years to now.
My Christmases weren't spent in a drunken or violent house, just a huge anti-climax. I was very envious of friends whose mums took them shopping and made an effort. It was almost like we weren't worth the effort?

But, Christmas back then was a three day event and no more. I think if it was now, I'd feel royally ripped off .

JustAShopGirl Fri 29-Aug-14 08:19:20

my mum was a manic depressive - so it depended on where she was on her own personal scale as to what Christmas was like - my dad was an alcoholic- they were both "very" Catholic, so we spent most of Christmas in church - midnight mass, morning service, then lunchtime at home, then afternoon service.

dad bought the tree... on Christmas Eve... we decorated it with about 3 tinsel garlands and 2 baubles... it was always too big, so we had to cut the top off to get it in the house - it looked peculiar every year - that is about all I remember.

I try to make Christmas memorable for the kids - we decorate the house, have many lights, light up reindeer outside etc. We have presents and feasting and have relatives round to stay.

And we buy a tree that fits......

PureMorning Fri 29-Aug-14 08:34:49

Crappy Christmases here for me and my sister. We dreaded Christmas day
Mum was a bitter old alcoholic who would do the house up, buy nice food and lots of gifts. However we were not to touch the tree, the food and gifts were for her.
She would smash or rip anything we would get from others too so noone bought us gifts.

We would go to my dad and stepmums on boxing day who alway made it amazing. Proper movie style Christmas. Them and my stepsister would wait to celebrate with us.
We spend christmas day with them every year now.

Me and my sisters all love christmas, we have lots of traditions we started when we had kids ect.
Panto Christmas eve, kids pick a new decoration for the tree, lots of family time.
My kids are 11 and 3 and both love christmas and only have good memories of the festive season.

I do go abit overboard but my kids love it and i dont get into debt over it so wheres the harm?.

Think dh would enjoy it alot more if i didnt insist on Christmas jumpers grin

SolitudeSometimesIs Fri 29-Aug-14 10:50:27

Some of these stories are so sad. I'm glad you are creating new memories for yourselves and your children now.

We really didn't have much money as a family and we were very aware of it, so we never asked for big gifts or anything too expensive. My Mum used to make sure if people asked what we wanted for Christmas we would get things that we really wanted. She couldn't afford to buy it all for us but put thought in to everything. We had traditions that we still followed up until I left home, Dad had to go down the stairs first, followed by kids in descending ages and then my Mum following us. We opened our stockings on our Mum and Dads bed after we'd woken them up at 6.30am. It's nothing major, just really sweet memories of excitement and family.

We've started traditions with our children that I hope they will appreciate and look back on fondly, Christmas baking (homemade mince pies that look like a mincemeat explosion and little fingerprint encrusted cinnamon cookies), we make handprints each year and hang them on the tree so they see how much they've grown, and my Christmas cd's blaring as we decorate the tree. We don't have a lot of spare money so I shop bargains all year 'round and buy second hand stuff. I don't think the monetary value of presents mean anything as long as it's something my children want and will use.

Feel all excited about Christmas now grin

Beenspotted Fri 29-Aug-14 13:21:22

My childhood Christmases were the only times my older brother and sister were both at home, but I often found them an anticlimax because nobody wanted to make an effort. I go out of my way not to let that happen in our home. I can remember my mum moaning at my sister for doing her oldest son a stocking for his first Christmas."you'll have to do that every year now!"

Beenspotted Fri 29-Aug-14 13:21:23

My childhood Christmases were the only times my older brother and sister were both at home, but I often found them an anticlimax because nobody wanted to make an effort. I go out of my way not to let that happen in our home. I can remember my mum moaning at my sister for doing her oldest son a stocking for his first Christmas."you'll have to do that every year now!"

nickdrakeslovechild Fri 29-Aug-14 21:13:17

It's lovely hearing all your stories. As the much much younger of 3 children to two alcoholics Christmas was always spent with with just me and my mum. My 2 older brothers were always out at their girlfriends family and my dad was given a bottle of whisky as soon as he got up so he would get drunk quick and go back to bed, which luckily for us was by about 10 am.

My mum did try and I always had presents got on HP so the rest of the day would be just me and her, we would have a nice as near to normal day as we ever got, it was just a bit lonely on my own as she wouldn't want to play with me.

Decorations went up on Christmas eve night when I was in bed, which consisted of a small silver tinsel tree and a few paper lanterns from the ceiling, I don't remember them staying up much after boxing day.

I had a shit childhood for many, many reasons and I definitely over compensate now I have a family of my own.

Our decorations go up on 1st December until NYD and are all over the house from the bedrooms, bathroom, hall, kitchen and front room. We have 2 big party's in December for all our friends and OH family. We always stay at home and do a Christmas dinner with the works, now that we have a LO I know I buy too much, but I want her to have everything I never had.

So when people on other parts of this site are a little snipey at the Christmas threads being so active all year, I can honestly say I do not care a jot.

My name is nickdrakeslovechild and Christmas is my therapy grin

polomoomin Sat 30-Aug-14 08:34:33

My DM hated Christmas. She thought the decorations were tacky and it was all a big money making scheme. She bought us a lot of presents every year so not complaints on that front but to her, that's all Christmas was. She put up an artificial tree and 'tastefully' decorated it to match the decor in her room. That was it for decorations. If we brought Christmas crafts we'd done at school home they'd be shoved in a drawer, we never did crafts at home or any form of baking at all. There was absolutely no real build up to christmas at all tbh. We did put a can of beer (confused) and carrot out on Christmas Eve and got to open my uncle's present because his was always the cheapest, tackiest shit they could find so it kind of became the butt of many jokes (example I got a nightgown in size 11-12 when I was 15, it had a sticker still on the packet saying REDUCED £2). Those were our only traditions. Don't remember watching Christmas movies... I only tasted my first mince pie the first Christmas we had DC! Christmas Day was just open presents, mum flapped around cooking for hours on end and then we'd sit and eat, pull a cracker. Then I had to pack my bag and went off to my Dad's.

It was even worse at his. DGM cooked us all separate meals because she's a pescetarian, I'm vegetarian, my dad only eats beef and my uncle always wanted steak hmm so we all ate at different times. We also just sat around watching TV not talking much. And that was it, Christmas over. No Christmas jumpers and jolly feeling like in the movies sad.

So now I go a bit mental trying to make it as special as possible for DC. Almost every room in the house has some form of Christmas, we have a real tree which is most definitely NOT tastefully decorated wink, fireplace all decorated. Elf on the shelf, North Pole breakfast, crafts, too much baking, a different Christmas activity every day, a different Christmas book and movie every day... Christmas Eve is a huge thing too and we always read the night before Christmas which I never read as a child. We all have a Christmas jumper too.

Interestingly I don't make much of a deal of presents. My parents always bought me 1000 presents but didn't bother to make Christmas special or wonderful, I never had any sense of Christmas spirit iykwim. So now I make sure DC know it's not all about the presents but is about the general feeling and spirit. They get a few presents, Christmas stocking (also another thing we never had!), Christmas Eve stocking and some presents from Norbert the elf on 1st December but not 10,000 like I did, a few special ones.

LokiBear Sat 30-Aug-14 08:36:17

After reading these stories I know why I love Christmas so much. My parents both had shitty childhoods. My mum was one of 6, alcoholic father and cold mother (no dv, but they only got married because my grandad got my nan pregnant and that's what you did. They didn't love each other). They didn't really get presents because there were so many of them. Grandad would get drunk and give them chores to do. My dad had more in the way of stuff, but his parents were both drinkers and their relationship very volatile. They regularly physically fought but Christmas was about keeping up appearances. My dad was the second of two grandchildren and every year would go to his grandmothers to find that she had bought a present for his brother but not for him. Later on, she did the same with me and my siblings. I would get £10 in a card and the others got nothing. My parents would usually intercept the card and say it was for all of us. My parents never had much money, but Christmas was magical and we were spoiled. They made such a big deal of it. Dad would take us shopping to get mum a present (we still do that as grown ups). One year, I desperately wanted a 'Girls World' from Santa but didn't get it. I hasn't noticed that I didn't get it because I'd received some brilliant presents, I'd just forgot about it. After dinner my mum 'stumbled' across a santa sack that has been left behind the sofa. Inside was a present each for me and my sister - it was the present that we had both said we had most wanted (my girls world) but hadn't realised that we hadn't got. Mum said that they had kept waiting for one of us to complain that we hadn't got what we wanted so that she could find the sack and surprise us. My parents seemed to think that the fact we hadn't complained was testament to what great kids we were. In truth, it is testament to what great parents they were. They made Christmas so fun and magical, the toys were the icing on the cake. I want dd to have the same as I did and that is why I'm Christmas crazy smile

3pigsinblanketsandasausagerole Sat 30-Aug-14 08:37:08

My Christmas were quiet due to parents being seperated. Spent a good few years being passed back and forth for Xmas eve / Xmas day / Boxing Day/ new year

I would love a nice family christmas at home with me dp and the three dc

However he insists on spending it with his family

One year I will win

dancestomyowntune Sat 30-Aug-14 08:56:39

Some of these stories are so sad. I'm sat here with tears running down my face.

Christmas was always magical in our house. Mum made sure of it. It was the one time of the year that the kitchen cupboards were full to bursting. There were always lots of presents, lots of food and lots of jollity. Even after my parents separated when I was eleven, my parents still made it special and the first year after the split my dad joined us for lunch!

I try to recreate that but even try to make it even better for my children. Mum and I always go to midnight mass (last year Dd1 joined us). Stockings hung, lots of decorations and food and presents and games... We like to go for a nice walk in the afternoon if it's not too miserable outside.

The whole build up is so important too. Advent calendars, baking, crafts, letters to Santa, visits to Santa, Carol services, late night shopping....

I can't wait for this Christmas!!!!!

snowmanshoes Sat 30-Aug-14 09:09:31

I always had great time at Christmas with my family. We didn't see any extended family (grandparents all died when I was still very young/before I was born, mum an only child etc) and because my parents both didn't have exactly fantastic Christmas days (not terrible, but nothing special really) and spent them always going from one set of relatives to another or their parents hosting for other adults they kept it very much all about just us as a family spending quality time together.
There wasn't a lot of spare cash for presents but my mum saved and bought all year and we always had a substantial pile Christmas morning. I remember being happy and laying the table Christmas Eve with the 'posh' cutlery and tablecloth was one of my favourite things to do!!!! So I love love love Christmas and had a really lovely time at Christmas when I was younger too. For me, I stress and worry all year about things and Christmas is the only time when I really get to destress and enjoy the simple things in life.

Monroe Sat 30-Aug-14 09:49:01

My mum was a single parent and had me very young and most years we were skint and often had very little family around. One year we actually spent Christmas day in a bedsit in Rhyl with fish fingers and beans for our meal. Maybe that's why I appreciated the other times when we had more so much.

My birthday is 4 days before Christmas and I always remember it as being such a magical time. The things I remember most are peeling sprouts with my mum on Christmas Eve and when I was older she would let me stay up till midnight and pick a small present off the tree.

I still get butterflies throughout December and when I see the christmas decs start appearing in the supermarket, even if it's in October, I can't help grinning.

Now I have my own dc I try and bring a little bit of magic for them. Luckily Dh loves it as much as me!

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