What do you DO on Christmas Day?

(42 Posts)
DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 16-Oct-13 23:58:36

I've never had nice Christmas Days due to family awfulness, but this year I want to schedule in some nice moments to break up a bloody awful day.

It will be my parents, me and my little boy.

For the last 3 Christmases it's been everyone sit in silence and watch boy open presents and tut at how many I've given him. Then boy cries then everyone sits in silence staring at each other making tense polite conversation and I go cry in the loo, miss my sister and husband and wish I'd never been born.

I cannot do this again!!!

Am thinking small traditions and stuff we have to DO rather than sit staring...

Let me learn from your Christmas days please!

whodunnit Thu 17-Oct-13 00:28:19


You could open the presents one at a time throught he whoel daya nd sit and play with him very noisily after each one. Maybe a book to read with him, then a small craft set. Maybe something outdoorsy so you can break up th glumness nd og outside to play with it together. Maybe try to find something that you knwo your parents will do with him to drag them into the fun of it.

Maybe insist on going for a walk with him to burn off some energy (and give you some). Maybe you can walk to someone else's house nearby who coudl do with a little bit of visit and cheer cos they re on their own. Insist it is your DS' idea ( that you have weaned him onto).

Ask DS what his very favourite activities are and then make sure that you do three of them on Christmas day.

Build little habits that you can keep up and do on Christmas day.

Leaving the house is always good, in my opinion. Can you visit his fiend and take a present to deliver on xmas day - good excuse to crash someone's xmas for 20 mins. Canyou give out any presents you or he will give in person on xmas day rather than by post or before xmas?

good lucksmile

drawsofdrawers Thu 17-Oct-13 00:36:14

Go for a lovely walk if you are lucky enough to have a nice big country park nearby

Watch Elf! Your boy might like Santa Claus with Dudley Moore

Play board games and cards

Drink drink drink!

All help out cooking

Christmas Strictly

Christmas music on in the morning and during dinner

Bit of Christmas crafting

Drink some more!

drawsofdrawers Thu 17-Oct-13 00:36:49

Ooh proper stockings of course for everyone.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 00:43:21

Might be able to do a walk... Slight other issue is that I'm disabled and my parents find it embarrassing/ distasteful so it's really awkward about that too (argh the doom of Christmas - yet stupidly I loooove the Christmas season!)

Right... Potential small walk.

Christmas crafting... What is ok to do on Christmas day itself? I do love a good craft! I think that's why I like the lead up... Ginger bread houses, making decorations, paper chains... But i do it all to prepare for Christmas day then the only thing left is consumption...

(am also tempted to go out on Christmas eve and trek over to my friends house for her Polish dinner... Therefore spending Xmas day laid up in bed! Not the making Christmas day better but making self oblivious to the day. Not fair on ds 3 though)

exexpat Thu 17-Oct-13 00:46:53

Do you have to go to your parents? Sounds miserable. Do you know of any other friends who might like to break away and do a more fun Christmas together?

I know that might not be feasible this year if you have already been talking plans with your parents, but maybe start some advanced planning for next year... I had 12 years of non-family Christmases (lived abroad) and often invited friends round - much more fun.

Otherwise, I agree with the suggestions of a long, bracing walk or even trip to the park - maybe make sure that one of DS's presents is something that has to be used outside, even something as simple as a new football. Alcohol. Television. New games to play with DS. New DVDs to watch with him (Christmassy ones he hasn't seen before would be good). More alcohol...

whodunnit Thu 17-Oct-13 00:49:57

you can buy some fab craft kits for kids - about £5 - £7 and you get to make a modelling clay thing and paint it, or a mosaic, or some science type experiment if you DS is a bit older. And then you get ot bin all the boxes etc and just keep the treasure he has made. There are loads to choose from.

Shame about yr parents and the walking. You could always leave them at home if they haven't git the guts to go with you. Fuck 'em! Possibly insensitive of me, but it is your christmas too. If you are disabled so that you need the help of another person, can you go to a centre or somewhere where you wouuld normally get that help and spend part of the day there?

Could you invite your polish friend to visit you for an hour on christmas day?

Oh love - do you have to put yourself through this? If it is your parents putting you through this stress the is there any chance it could just be you and your DS?

We have a play of any board games or have a go on the Wii if there are new games from Santa. This year DS is getting a new scooter so there will be a walk after lunch.

Dinner is eaten in the late afternoon with just fairy lights on. Dr Who is a must along with eating all the Christmas chocolates grin

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 00:50:45


Go see carrots eaten by ruldolf outside (he leaves glitter and trod on carrots - messy bugger!)
Find choc coins in shoes (parents tradition)
Discover stockings from father Christmas ... For everyone (good idea!)
No staring as everyone digs into stockings...

Leave ds big presents aside for later, as he has the 3 yr presents in boxes thing... Huge packaging for toys!

What shall I do about a stocking for me? Would it be terribly rude to tell them I'm doing stockings for all? Would it be rude to fill it myself as I know my patents won't buy me more than 1-2 presents... Or maybe tell friends about stocking and hope they help? Arggghhh! Don't care about presents but would be sad for me to sit there staring as the others open there's...

soundevenfruity Thu 17-Oct-13 00:57:06

Do you think a sneaky splash of alcohol early in the day would help? What about starting with mulled wine and mince pies not breakfast?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 01:04:52

Thanks for your lovely replies btw smile really kind and also festive!

I put myself through it because I feel I have to... We lost my sister a few years ago so bang went Christmases without my parents. Then I got ill, ds came along, dh made his exit and so am stuck in the 'Christmas is for ds and his grandparents', and I really struggle, physically and emotionally. None of my usual carers want to work on Xmas day or boxing day, so it's also so that I get some help, (though at too high a price).

I'd have to get in an agency carer and then it would be so stressful and need so much managing that wouldn't be worth it - also agency carers will not look after ds as they not insured to...

One thing I am NOT going to do is go up to their house. Was so so awful last year I swore I am never ever ever doing it again!!!

At least am on my home territory, and can prepare in advance where I can have stuff ready... And go into battle a bit braver and trying to make some changes to make things better. My parents can't possibly be happy like this easier, but I think they don't know how to make it better, filled with grief and self blame and horror from the last few years losing my sister and me having the same thing, my dh leaving hurt them too etc...

Right that was the last moan, now to make things a bit better

drawsofdrawers Thu 17-Oct-13 01:07:01

Please don't spend Xmas day with your parents if it makes you miserable. I misunderstood your OP and thought that this year with your parents would be better. Have a nice day with your boy and maybe see friends or other family.

I started enjoying Xmas when I stopped spending it with people I didn't like.

Put a few bits in your stocking just for the benefit of your DS. Satsuma, nuts, pound shop tat smile

drawsofdrawers Thu 17-Oct-13 01:07:58

X post OP smile

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 01:10:03

Alcohol defo will help me! Am wondering at what point to appy it smile

It makes me sleepy so just before bowing out for a few hours! Sooo, what bit of the day can I miss by a looong nap?

raisah Thu 17-Oct-13 02:53:02

My inlaws are trying so I manage them by inviting friends to break up the formality of festive meals. The busyness & laughter of kids glosses over the fact that my sils are giving me the silent treatment. Do you have extended family / friends that you can have over at various times during the day?
Could your polish friend come over for mulled wine, mince pies & presents for an hour?

Alcohol loosens the tongue & may make your situation worse so be wary of drinking to make it bearable.

I agree with others to build activities into the day to break up the monotony of your parents reactions. Wrapping presents in tissue paper with glitter for your ds to make present opening fun. Treasure hunt in the garden? I do think you need more people to turn away the unhealthy tension way from you & your traditions to the fun of the day.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 03:04:57

Oooh treasure hunt... Rudolf maybe dropped something outside?

I don't really have close enough friends to see on Christmas day... I think polish girl (& Brazilian partner) won't come as they've been developing quite set traditions of their own... And she's met my parents and found them really awkward and hard going! I think I'll press gang her into boxing day if poss... Must remember to ask her ASAP!!!

I will hold a few pressies back ... Maybe for after my parents have left so me and ds can have a just for us little moment.

I'm wondering if I can possibly be up for a theatre trip so do pantamime outing...Ds would love it. Would really screw with my health but would involve not staring at each other for a while. How close to Christmas day do they go? I'd have to pay for the tickets so would be a Big Thing... Maybe not worth it.

fuzzpig Thu 17-Oct-13 08:03:51

Oh double. I recognise your name from an old thread about your health I think, I just can't believe how nasty your parents are being angry I do understand that you feel tied into seeing them though. I am the same with my parents who are likely to just sit staring into space/play on phone etc.

I am working on them in advance though. I have told them we WILL be going for a walk at some point in the day (not a long one, I am also disabled). I would tell your parents that you will be going with DS no matter what (even if round the block is all you can manage?) and they can come with you, but even if they don't go you will still go - so they know you will not be ruled by them. Or is there somewhere where you can all drive to, and you can sit on a bench?

I am also making sure that there are some jigsaws in the presents as I know dad will help DS with those if I ask him. Might have some crafty things that my mum will like.

Definitely do yourself a stocking! I am getting some of the stuff for mine this year, just nice treaty things like sweets from the American sweet shop, some more nice hairbands, smellies etc. You could add makeup, earrings, whatever - just nice things you might have got yourself anyway.

fuzzpig Thu 17-Oct-13 08:19:03

Oh and funky socks/knickers are a must grin

I would set a budget and do yourself a stocking, then swear blind to anyone that asks that Father Christmas had done it. I'm filling my own cracker here because no other bugger will do it!

Make sure you have something lovely!

Chottie Thu 17-Oct-13 21:05:09

I remember reading on a Christmas thread last year, that one poster spent part of Christmas Day afternoon making special crowns to wear at tea time. Would your DS like doing that perhaps?

I'm not sure whether your Ps will join in, but crackers with a game in are fun, we had racing penguins one year which were hilarious.

We have a special Santa hat which the youngest or smallest person in the family wears to hand out the under the tree presents.

soundevenfruity Thu 17-Oct-13 21:29:05

I am mostly talking about alcohol for parents so they will loosen up and/or go to sleep.grin

Whereisegg Thu 17-Oct-13 21:38:56

Could you load up your bedroom with a few presents for your ds, bottle of wine for you, snacks and some DVDs?
Then when your parents have gone, you can 'find' the last presents, and snuggle in bed playing/watching Christmas rubbish?

That would be something to look forward to, and easy on you, too.

soundevenfruity Thu 17-Oct-13 21:43:45

It's been such horrible tine for you all. Don't penalise your parents for an inappropriate in your view display of grief. I would definitely ask around if anybody is lonely at Christmas and invite them over. Just get them to bring a dish. Hope it will get better for all of you.

MegBusset Thu 17-Oct-13 22:36:48

I would say don't invite your parents if that's where the stress is!

I love my parents to bits but Christmas Day has always been just me, DH and the DC and I intend to keep it that way as long as possible smile We laze around, watch TV, help the kids build their Lego and stuff ourselves silly, tis great smile

MegBusset Thu 17-Oct-13 22:39:27

Ah, just read whole thread. So sorry about your situation. Would it be easier to not 'do Christmas' for the whole day, maybe just go out for lunch with your parents if more manageable in small doses? then you and DS chill out for the rest of the day?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 23:08:31

I wish! They live 250 miles away so it's all or nothing which is a damned shame! They'll be here from the 23rd -27th. Hell. On. Earth. Trying to book them into nearby hotel as it will get nasty very quickly in my one bed flat...

Right some brill ideas...

Christmas hat/ crown making.
Under the bed store of loveliness for after hours fun with ds.

Jigsaw good idea, my mother will refuse to play any board game (don't know why, always has done) ... But helping with a jigsaw I think she d do.

In under bed store will be something alcoholic for me to toast self for surviving day!

Just trying to think what they can do whilst I have a rest... They tend to sit in silence listening intently for any sign of stirring from me ... Which tbh freaks me out and makes me feel v trapped and guilted into not resting.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 23:21:10

Fuck it last moan coming up! Unsound like a right old misery guts... I only really say this stuff on mumsnet, sorry you guys get it all!

soundeven I'm not penalising my parents for showing grief, i wish i was as that eould be an easy fix!

I'm dreading the way everything lands on me and Christmas intensifies the scapegoating & awfulness of it. I was def botn into the wrong family... They want to do the tense brit sulent thing where every tiny action is scrutinised abd carries a thousabd meanings... 'pass the sugar' means so much cia tone etc. i am more if a s european out pouring type of person where i cant stop self crying and have the urge to talk about everything...

They won't talk or see my illness as it reminds them of my sister... To the point where last visit they turned my own carers away from my door as they were 'too embarassed' yet refused to help me instead. My mother now refuses to talk to an old family friend as when my parents refused to help when everything was falling apart, this friend stepped in and was an absolute saint. I'd literally be dead if it was t for her, but my mother sees this as a deep betrayal.

They hate anything that remind them of what they lost so take it out on me, I have to pretend not to be disabled when they're near me which is bloody hard as errr, I am. I doubt they'll walk next to my mobility scooter as the shame would be too much. Ro top it off they sense weakness and really puts the boot in if they see I've been crying, so very hard situation. My father tries to borrow money off me every chance he gets, and they both to for months without even speaking to me whilst pretending to neighbours that they're oh so involved and put upon because I am ill.

Most of the time I can try and be the adult and although I can never forgive them for what they do, I can understand that they are weak and broken people ill equipped for the trauma they've had. I'd love not to see them at christmas as its so painful and so nasty but I feel I have to, to do my duty and to Do what my sister would have wanted. I owe her that. Hopefully give my ds some nice memories of his gp as well as long as I can feel strong enough to play act ok...

It's got to be better than last year as its in my home this time and all you're helpful ideas are going to change the dynamics just a tiny bit so I can cope better...

pastelmacaroons Thu 17-Oct-13 23:45:28


Yours is a painful reminder of why xmas is so painful for many of us who have suffered loss.

Loosing immediate family member's is so hard, I have lost two, and one still here who is also very hard to handle.

I totally understand your feeling the need to have them with you, I am going through the same thing right now, either leave a relative alone at xmas or put myself and my family through a stressful difficult time.

You just sound so hopeful and up beat, and wonderful really, after everything that has happened, and it seems a shame that this wonderful attitude which will guarantee your little boy a wonderful xmas is in jeopardy from your very strange sounding parents...who can't process their emotions.

pastelmacaroons Thu 17-Oct-13 23:47:23

Anyway, I have found playing games is helpful when people are hard to talk too or can bring conversation down, would they play some word type games, guessing games and the like.....

Can you move them to for the sake of your son?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 17-Oct-13 23:56:48

Thank you and sorry you are in a position to relate flowers

Am wondering if I could somehow ask my mother to think of something special that she can do with ds as a new kind of tradition just between ds and her... The specialness may appeal. Has the capacity to go horribly wrong though!

MegBusset Fri 18-Oct-13 07:42:56

Would she sit and watch a DVD with him while you have a nap?

God, that just sounds so bloody awful!

I know we've been over this before, but no parents and agency carers sounds like such a more pleasant experience. I think you are a better person than me to still be thinking about doing your duty towards people who behave like that to you. I don't think you should feel guilty for refusing to have every christmas ruined.

dandelionsRflowers Fri 18-Oct-13 09:54:23

No idea if this is the sort of answer you're looking for but there are lots of tips above for getting through the day. How about after Christmas day itself you have another one with just you son. Maybe keep some presents back for it, even just a dvd or something then you and ds can watch it together and eat some goodies.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 19-Oct-13 00:00:59

That's a good idea, am wondering if I can make it a special day, like twelfth night or something? Don't want it to be interpreted as a 'hurray they've gone', mind you I guess there's no one there to see as ds still too little to think about stuff like that. My guilty conscience!

I've decided to do a 'make a bauble' craft thing on xmas day... get a set of polystyrene balls (cheap on amazon!) then glue bits of the wrapping paper on them so making a ball specific to that Christmas day... Also is cheap smile

Am going to have to search out some films that are unlikely to be on tv so i can have snuggle time with ds over the stay.

This thread has been so helpful for to get me really thinking about what makes Christmas so awful... Beyond the emotional stuff.

One of those things is that my parents tend to be tired so use up all the quiet time activities and ds patience for sitting being stared at. So when I am on duty (vs resting and pacing), I have to do all the energetic things which end up causing me pain / injury, like active playing to let off ds steam.

Soooo any ideas what I can do with a 3yr old that i can do from lying down / on sofa, but will tire him out?

I think the best I can do with the problem of the hours I need to rest in the day is to suggest they do a jigsaw w ds, and then have a film to put on, from ds stocking, or time it so there is some great film on tv that is a treat...

But that leaves me without the 'film & cuddle' moment later as ds will be bored of watching tv by then. Bit frustrating really.

Do you know any good Christmassy films for 3.5 yr olds that are less popular so won't be repeating stuff he will already see on tv?

whodunnit Sat 19-Oct-13 21:35:31

Toy Story is fab, any of the three. As for games from the sofa how about Simon Says, or a solo version of that game I can't remember withthe coloured spots on the mat and you have to put your left foot on a blue spot. Yes, Twister, I think? or troll may I cross your bridge? only if you are wearing blue.. or some sort of mad dancing to music and you mark him, musical statues, musical bumps. He won't mind that it is only him as you are giving him all your attention. You could get your dad to turn the music on and off. Or get your lad to make a rum kit form pans and bxes and things he can find, then play it to you and you have to guess the song, or you tell him the song to play and sing while he belts it out on your pan set.

Can you limit your parents visit to three hours twice by saying that you and your son will need to have a rest in between and you don't want them to get bored. They really might enjoy not being there for some of the time, but not want to suggest it.

whodunnit Sat 19-Oct-13 21:39:12

Or wrapping paper baseball. I have just invented it. You both screw up the wrapping paper into balls, then you bowl from the sofa and he has to hit them with something like a rolled up newspaper and see if, or how far he can hit them or something. Then he plays sheepdog 'fetch' and brings them all back to you to throw away or start again.

GoodtoBetter Sat 19-Oct-13 21:45:46

You don't have to do this you know. Your sister wouldn't want you to suffer for her I'm sure. Tell them you're not up to it this year. Have a quiet time with DS.
Can't believe they don't help you because they're embarrassed of your disability. That is so sad. Makes me angry for you.
Tell them not to come.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 19-Oct-13 21:47:49

Would some Christmas music make things seem less awkward? I have loads, from Slade to the Motown Christmas album, Sinatra, the Weinachts Oratorio and Hely-Hutchison's Christmas Symphony.

could you go to church? I am a confirmed atheist, and I strongly suspect that our Canon is aware of this, but the kids love church at christmas, and so we go. I'm happy to go and have a sing, and keep my thoughts to myself during the prayers.

pastelmacaroons Sat 19-Oct-13 21:54:05

Yes you could try and appeal to something within her....

DS loves you so much and has been talking about playing such and such, I thought it might be nice for xmas day...

after all, you only get one childhood, we must make it special for him....and I know you will.....

appeal to a higher and better nature.....

just googled some xmas bauble ideas....what an amazing idea....love them am getting some also....

whodunnits, idea is pretty good isnt it, for tiring ds out....and i am sure he will love that.

pastelmacaroons Sat 19-Oct-13 21:56:07

do you have a freeview box?

we still have films on ours from last year...they are great then you dont need to worry about how and what why on films...and have plenty on there to show him.

garlicvampire Sat 19-Oct-13 21:56:35

I'm liking paper baseball!

Double, your parents sound absolutely poisonous. I was making allowances for them (at a stretch) until I came to the part about turning your carers away angry

Any chance of them going to pub for a couple of hours before lunch? It's a Christmas tradition, and we could hope they'll be sozzled and go to sleep for most of the afternoon.

I also second 'hunt Rudolf's present', a second Christmas with DS, and roping your parents in to take DS out for an hour. Do you have a playground nearby, where all they'd have to do is push him on swings and stop him eating the sand?

A dance video or game might be good for letting him show off and wear himself out; I'm assuming your parents wouldn't actually join in but you can make them clap along, cheer, sing, etc.

Basically, the more you can get everyone's focus on your son, the better it'll be for him and the less 'staring' for you.

Would your DS be up to a puppet theatre kind of performance?

My DS used to make characters and stick them to ice lolly sticks, then perform from behind the sofa. His rendition of the Gruffalo was a HUGE hit and it was amazing to hear him do the different voices. I had to sit on the sofa and watch and clap. DS drew all the characters on paper, coloured them in and cut them out but I'm sure there are printable sheets you could use. Or finger puppets. Follow it with a DVD of the Gruffalo and show him how clever he's been at remembering the story?

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