I really dislike Christmas, but that is not what this is about

(23 Posts)
MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 18:30:28

I have my reasons why I don't like it and I try every year to throw myself into it, but I can't. Doesn't matter why this is, my nearest and dearest know and accept I'm a grumpy moo about it. I even openly laugh about the fact I'm grumpy about it, so in a way I'm not grumpy! grin

Anyway, I want to know, how the hell you Christmas lovers manage to get your presents sorted by the end of August! Some of you even earlier (you crazies you!!).

I think this might help me a bit. If I didn't have the added tension and stress of the worst time of year for me and leave the whole of November and December for me to drink myself into oblivion relax and enjoy life, it just might help.

So how do you do it? I haven't got a clue what people would want for Christmas in June! I'm still sorting the best place for a bikini or sun tan lotion!

Help me understand and help myself! It's too late for this year obvs. I'm already turning into a grump! The family are DH and 21 year old DD, so they just ignore my mood and carry on regardless. We're all fine, but I'm sure I could help myself a little if I got the presents sorted earlier.

wobblywonderwoman Thu 24-Nov-16 18:38:29

I think I got into the habit when I was on a much lower income and had no money left for an outfit for myself or parties as it was all used up on presents.

I got my dcs toys in the sales (I know it's is different when they are teens) I pick up lots of bits and pieces throughout the year (Yankee candles and that type of thing) they go into hampers or to a neighbour who has looked after our hold while on holidays and that type of thing. I get cards crackers and wrapping paper in the Jan sales and store them away.

Dh looks at me like this ... Wtf

wobblywonderwoman Thu 24-Nov-16 18:40:13

It is probably to do with whatever reason your heart isn't it in... Don't best yourself up about it. Maybe it is wise to leave things until later - great sales from mid December

MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 18:47:38

Thanks, it probably is and your so right, I get paid in December and I almost resent having to spend most of it on one single day and presents for people I'd really rather not spend it on! I don't mean my special people, but there's a few you just have to buy for and I kinda resent it!

Equally I'd rather people didn't spend their money on me either!

My New Years resolution , if I'm allowed to think that far forward, it to get it sorted by June! Oh and it would be so handy if the council tax wasn't payable in November and December instead of February and April wouldn't it??grin. Assuming everyone's council works the same way as ours of course.

Optimist1 Thu 24-Nov-16 19:00:10

When you rule the world, Maureen, I expect you'll be banning Christmas presents and I for one will raise a hearty cheer! The things I love about Christmas are to do with family, special food and drink, decorations, and time off work to enjoy all of that. Presents are not essential to my perfect Christmas.

But given that you're not in charge yet , I suggest you follow the thought processes of a close family member who always has her eyes open for presents to buy whether it's February, June or November. She manages to spread the cost over the entire year. WRT the gifts for your non-special people, give yourself a challenge to find something acceptable but not bank-breaking - last year I saved a fortune by ordering Womdoo scarves as suggested on the MN Christmas thread. (Sadly I can't say I managed as well this year, but the mindset was similar).

You are not alone. fsmile

AuntieStella Thu 24-Nov-16 19:12:58

I think of Christmas shopping season as opening once the DC are back in school in September - in the sense that I buy stocking fillers when I see them and start thinking about main presents and the family 'who's visiting whim, when and where' plot.

If you don't want to think about Christmas before December then just don't. It's so easy to shop these days that most of it can easily be done in the week or so beforehand. Just make a good list when you're ready and crack on.

Your way is just as good as any.

MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 19:17:36

I am gonna do this. (I say this every year!). But it's time for change. I've been like this for 37 years to be exact! Varying degrees of grumpiness, but I'm determined this time!

I would love nothing more than inviting my best friends in their pj's, to lay on sofas and cushions all day, picking at lovely food and drinking lovely things and just enjoying doing nothing!

On the upside, this Christmas Day I will be spending it with the besties, either at theirs or ours and it will be just great!

Shame Boxing Day has to be spent with the anti Christ, but there you go! grin

AnthonyPandy Thu 24-Nov-16 19:27:39

Maybe re-think who you are buying presents for? Other than children who are close family, is there any need for presents? Just buy something lovely for yourself. I'm sure you have great taste and know exactly what you want!

Cindbelly Thu 24-Nov-16 20:24:06

Park vouchers £10 a month and they send me the vouchers in November so I never feel like I'm spending 'real' money on family gifts.
Like others I pick up bits through the year and stash them away.
I also really enjoy making up hampers (not food I'm a dreadful cook) but I love to make original ideas - this year for DSis I have put together a Gilmore girls hamper for my sister, I've printed the rosary Gilmore reading challenge from the net and put it in a folder, then in the summer I went to car boots and charity shops and picked up some of the books for pennies. A cafitierre (spelling?) full of Lindt chocolates and a posh book mark in a box with the folder and the books, equals a very cheap but thoughtful gift DSis will love...
sorry I went off topic a bit there!

MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 21:03:50

No, you didn't go off topic that was perfect and gives me an idea for the uni niece in my life! I'll make a hamper for DHs nan, that's easy. She's 93 and doesn't want for much, but she likes the jars of jam and tins of ham etc. I'm considering a similar for my niece at uni and her sister who is in 6th form, but going to uni next year! So, thank you. smile

I might investigate Park vouchers too.

Fueledwithfairydustandgin Thu 24-Nov-16 21:16:20

Haven't read the thread so sorry if I repeat but I have a list on my phone and anytime anyone mentions anything I note it down then buy it or add it to an Amazon basket and wait for the price to drop. This way I still have the main gift but not all the little extras and the families presents to worry about and it means the gifts are thoughtful. I buy random things that are nice or bargains at any time in the year and then have a bit of a stock

StubbleTurnips Thu 24-Nov-16 21:26:03

I have a budget of £20 a month to put things in the present cupboard, I don't usually spend it all.

I buy good quality clothes in the sale throughout the year for Xmas - we only buy for the children so it makes it easier. I usually aim for Hatley / PoP / Joules / Frugi / Catimini / Toffee Moon / Cath Kidston - will always check the sale emails and see if there's anything that can be gifted.

Mothercare or Homebargains for craft / puzzle games. Got some fab craft kits in ELC this year for £2 or £3 each.

It all goes in the cupboard until about October and then we decide who's getting what, and what we need to aim for to get on Black Friday.

Job done this year by August time, we've only had to sort DD this year.

Cindbelly Thu 24-Nov-16 21:28:13

I've got loads of ideas, feel free to PM me if you want.
I can't recommend park enough so easy I don't really register the money going out every month by direct debit as it's a smallish amount but it really adds up. They do it all automatically and text me in November the day the vouchers are dispatched.
Next year I am going to do £1 a day in a tin (I've brought a sealed one from pound land) and I am going to put either a pound coins or a Morissons £1 stamp in every day to open in December

HandbagCrazy Thu 24-Nov-16 21:45:00

Set aside a day after Christmas for shopping. Buy wrapping paper, gift tags, cards, gift bags, sellotape and crackers (if you use them) in the sales and store them with your decorations. That way you officially start a year in advance.
I also buy a few generic gifts (candles / toiletries sets / pjs / slippers / scarf and glove sets) in the sales and put them away - they're regularly called on for birthdays I've forgotten in the year
and they also cover gifts for people you're not massively bothered about at Christmas. Then, if your DH / DD mentions something they like throughout the year, note it down. I have a note on my phone.

For me I start buying in September. I make lists (I am a nerd) - llists of who to buy for and budget, then ideas - then research for best price and order the lot online.
Aim for me is to be done by mid october / beginning of November - then I spend the next 2 months wages on party clothes, nice food and treats for me and the house fgrin

Crispsheets Thu 24-Nov-16 21:50:07

Buy for fewer people!
I buy gifts for 3 people. I do splurge and do it all within a week in November..mainly online. Bar 2 stocking fillers, I am all bought and wrapped.
I am not going near shops after this weekend, till February.
December is for relaxing, lunching and drinking with friends

MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 21:50:46

I have taken the bull by the horns! Doesn't take long to get me motivated does it! I've just signed up to park and paid my first £20!

I'm doing a food shop tomorrow, so I'm going to get a store card from Asda and whatever my total bill comes to, I'm going to round it up to the next fiver and add that bit onto the card. If I do that every time I shop, big or small that help.

I know all these things, I just needed to be inspired by you lovely lot! I'm not short of money. That sounds terrible, I just mean we've got enough, normal average waged family, but I am sick of saying, 'that'll have to wait till next month'.

Right, Christmas 2017, I'm going to be less of a grump. Inside I'll still be the same grump, but hopefully without getting stressed so much!

MaureenMLove Thu 24-Nov-16 21:53:18

Crispsheets, that is exactly what would help me! December being about friends and eating and drinking! Family I can do without tbh). But being with friends as much as possible in December, without thinking about bloody Christmas would be perfect.

AmyAmoeba Thu 24-Nov-16 22:22:28

I love Christmas .... right up until December and then it gets on my wick.
I just can't be having with crowds and shopping and everything taking so much longer. I cope with the December bit by enjoying planning and organising for it the rest of the year. All seems certifiable when it's written down fgrin
As to the how
I keep a list on my phone with names of all recipients and a budget for each. I jot down ideas for each, and any suggestions made through out the year, and I add a bullet point to mark items as I buy them. Having it on my phone means it's always there to add to and consult.
The bargain threads on here are fun to follow. They tend to be light hearted and good natured.
Camel camel.com is a great site for tracking Amazon prices, you just import your wish list and wait for an email when the price drops. Because it shows you a history of pricing for each item you can judge what's a good price.

I'll buy cards and wrapping paper in January and possibly a few gifts if they are on my list or some decorations. I try to finish my shopping in October at the latest leaving November for crafts and December for baking. Obviously the big ticket requests from the man in red might not be decided by then but they only ask for one thing each so it's not a hassle to accommodate.

I wrap and stash as I buy (helps to have the paper ready from Jan) in black sacks in the attic for the kids gifts and for the adults I wrap with two labels: one left blank for a name and the other with details of the item and the intended recipient. Obviously the second one gets ripped off before they are handed out.

Because the cost is spread over the previous months it doesn't feel as awful. And because I'm not dashing around the shops I get to spend time with the kids doing Christmassy things.

I also start stocking up the cupboards from September which gives a good long run for getting bargains. I never pay the RRP for Christmas goodies. And it eases the pain to spread the cost of the store cupboard too. I try to avoid shopping as much as I can in December and as a result will be running through the freezer and freeing up space which I'll need if I'm hosting.

It is very soothing to have a comfortable budget in December. I really really don't like the stress of worrying about money.

It sounds all very smooth and organised when it's written down and the reality is anything but! I have ILs that organise a complicated gift exchange system that changes every year, in the last week of December. DH has been known to ask for something specific and expensive long after I've wrapped his gifts. But the benefit of buying ahead and planning is that things can be shuffled around, gifts can be held over for birthdays. I lose that urgency that it's all about one day because I'm mentally planning for next year at some level.

Cindbelly Thu 24-Nov-16 22:44:48

Ooh another idea not present related, why don't you start some new traditions with friends?
We have a 2nd Christmas Day with friends where everyone brings leftovers after Christmas,
But in December every year without fail DH and I:
Watch the 3rd pirates of Caribbean film and eat mince pies (I know not technically very christmassy)
Go and see the Coca Cola Christmas truck
Visit the local garden Centre and buy a really naff decoration.

I have Christmas cocktails with my boss one night in December every year,
Another friend who we always go to costa one afternoon and have a Christmas themed coffee
Different friend out tradition is to get a 'free' gift for each other (usually some vista print tat or a collection of free samples etc) and we drink sainsburys mulled wine - has to be sainsburys!

All a bit naff but to me, along with the stuff we do with DCs like trips to Santa, school nativities etc, these are the things that really make christmas

MaureenMLove Fri 25-Nov-16 17:34:56

Hello all.

Well, I've started everything I said I would. First deposit on Park account done and Asda savings card with £4.50 on it.

Maybe it's because I've been reading A Christmas Carol with yr 11s for the last two weeks, but a change is afoot!

I am most looking forward to relaxing my way through December, drinking and eating. Still won't really enjoy the whole Christmas holiday bit, but if I can get there without added stress of everything else, that would be great!

DH incidentally, is like a pig in shit because he's done all his Christmas shopping today. Really? He seems to have forgotten he's got a mum, a nan, a brother, 2 nephews and a daughter, but I guess that's my department! grin.

Smile and wave, just smile and wave!!

Cindbelly Fri 25-Nov-16 18:07:07

Wow great going!
It's amazing how motivated these threads can make you, I always find the trick is maintaining the motivation wink

MaureenMLove Fri 25-Nov-16 18:24:22

Yeah, that's what worries me! I've convinced my team at work to do a similar thing though, so I might even suggest a wager of some kind or another, on how much we can all save on supermarket savers cards!

HandbagCrazy Fri 25-Nov-16 18:44:37

Can I also suggest that you book some time to relax / see friends etc in December? I know I ended up finding things to do and it felt like there was no real time to enjoy it all so a few years ago I started booking it in.
So far I have a meet up with best friend 1 where we will wander around a Christmas market and eat lots, having best friend and her DH to us for a meal and drinks (best friend 2 makes amazing cocktails), my works Christmas do and for DHs Christmas so I've booked a night on my own - I use this to sit with the Christmas lights on, watching Christmas films and wrapping presents.

I think if you treat it like an appointment, it helps you push other stresses aside (and I imagine if you're a teacher, spare time is not abundant)! fsmile

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