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To long for an old fashioned Christmas:

(73 Posts)
Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 10:58:27

With carol services and jumble sales in aid of charity and home made presents and board games by the fire, and nativity plays in the village hall and neighbours making each other mince pies and Christmas cakes,

and:

without drunken parties, and frenetic shopping, and trying to find parking in crowded precincts, and colour co-ordinated decorations and M&S canapes and trying to meet up with everyone in the two weeks before Christmas and hi-tech presents under the tree.

Or am I just being boring and need to realise that times have moved on and I'm probably imagining Christmases that were never really like that anyway

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Nov-13 12:11:41

I was horrified to discover last year that some people actually throw away their Christmas decorations with the tree and buy a full set of new ones each year. Why on earth do something so wasteful and stupid?

If people are getting stressed by Xmas because of idiocy like that, well then good.

cloggal Thu 21-Nov-13 12:12:33

Yanbu OP. I do love Christmas but it has gone bonkers.

(When people say Christmas Eve hampers, do they mean new pyjamas and book? We did this every year - has it, er, 'evolved' since then?)

squoosh Thu 21-Nov-13 12:14:11

People throw Christmas decorations away??? That's Elton John territory!

I don't like care for colour coordinated trees, the best ones are the ones with a carefully ahem, curated collection of decades worth of baubles and a toilet roll Santa from circa 1982.

squoosh Thu 21-Nov-13 12:15:17

Have genuinely never heard of a Christmas Eve hamper.

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Nov-13 12:15:30

Exactly squoosh. My favourite decorations are rather odd Sputnik-type things made for me by my sister, probably also circa 1982 or so.

THERhubarbnotTHEDavidTennant Thu 21-Nov-13 12:19:18

Has there ever been a traditional Christmas like what you describe or are you looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

Course, you know that most of what you wish for is achievable don't you?

Shop early so you don't have to join the throngs of panicked shoppers.

Spend time with your children making mince pies, then pop them into a little box and give them along with a Christmas card, to your neighbours.

Find out where your nearest homeless shelter is and donate some food items or warm clothing to them.

Find out what time the Christmas service is at church and make an effort to attend.

Buy second-hand board games from charity shops for the kids to play on Christmas eve.

Burn your in-laws on a nice open fire.....

MaryZygon Thu 21-Nov-13 12:20:03

I have many friends who put up their trees when the children are in bed, so they can't "interfere" with the decoration.

Ever since ds1 was about six, I have just got out the box, put up the lights and let them at it. I remember coming into the room one year to find ds1 standing on a chair which he had put on a table and lifting ds2 (aged 4) up to put the fairy on the top. And I often had to rearrange it a bit to fill in the gaps.

The thing that really baffles me is seeing how much food people buy. Ok, get a turkey and ham and a pudding and some veg, but do you have to buy enough for a month?

MadeOfStarDust Thu 21-Nov-13 12:26:34

We had old fashioned Christmases when I was little - in the 70s - and they were bloody awful....

You sat round the fire because there was ice on the inside of the windows, only 2 telly channels with bog all on to watch, you went to church for midnight mass, then in the morning, then home to a turkey dinner, then settle down to Morcambe and wise and have turkey (woo) on 4 day old bread - because all the shops were shut for bloomin ages.... the salad would be a bit slimy, the milk would be slightly acidic (OFF - it was OFF!!) and you would be dreading the annual slog round the relatives you only saw once a year on boxing day....

So NO - I do NOT want an old fashioned Christmas thank you, I'll stick with all the luxuries of today please... smile

MadeOfStarDust Thu 21-Nov-13 12:28:41

oh - and everything had currants in it - with hard crunchy little seeds... yeuk....

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Nov-13 12:30:49

Depends on your version of the 70s, StarDust. I had tropical Christmasses when I was little. Height of the dry season, everything scorchio. Hardly any presents as the shops didn't have anything, but a paperback and a homemade dress at least. Dates from palm trees instead of holly, Xmas parties outdoors, and the piece de resistance, turkey sandwiches on the beach on Boxing Day. And how I miss it. It's not Xmas unless you get to surf on Boxing Day!

THERhubarbnotTHEDavidTennant Thu 21-Nov-13 12:39:15

MadeofStarDust - catholic eh? We went to midnight night too and I fell asleep everytime. Then mass again on Christmas morning.

Presents in a pillow case.

Rubbish plastic Christmas tree with hand-me-down decorations.

No open fire, just an electric fire with 3 bars (cause it was Christmas).

Turkey crown, roasted until it was as dry as cardboard. No gravy. Boiled potates. Peas. Sprouts.

DuckToWater Thu 21-Nov-13 12:40:41

Ours is much more like the OP's first example, not at all like the second anyway. Except the technology, which actually improves the experience as I do all my shopping online. I think Christmas with young children almost tops the experience of Christmas as a child yourself.

Some of my Christmas decorations - a couple of white cats with a green ribbon - were on my grandparents' tree when my mum was little. I have a Father and Mother Christmas ornaments who sit in rocking chairs and they were on our fireplace when I was little. Our tree is plastic and comes from Woolworths about ten years ago. Growing up we always had a Woolworths plastic tree. The decorations are most definitely not colour co-ordinated. There are things like paper reindeer I made when DD1 was a baby, decorations DDs made at the childminders when they were toddlers/preschoolers, and they will be making some more things with me this year.

Bettercallsaul1 Thu 21-Nov-13 12:54:24

THERhubarbnotTHEDavidTennant - Love your seasonal suggestion of burning the in-laws on an open fire!

Nice blending of two popular MN topics there!

wigglesrock Thu 21-Nov-13 13:18:20

I think people are in danger of looking backwards towards their youth through exceptionally rose tinted glasses smile . I remember my mum stressing, about where guest no 23 was going to sit - we were cursed with a plethora of "maiden aunts" & cousins who weren't really cousins etc. Shopping hours meant everyone had to go shopping at the same time. I for one could live without a mangy old orange in a stocking.

I also have to have a snigger at the suggestion that we should put a stop to the frenetic Christmas shopping by using the relatively new invention of Amazon smile

It's a little bit like the thread re Sunday night tv serials - if you rewatched some of them now - they would be truely shite.

BlinkQuenelle Thu 21-Nov-13 13:21:28

A lot of stuff was very expensive in the 70s - clothes, food etc - so I reckon my parents were more worried about the cost of Christmas then than I am now.

Now you can do all your shopping online if you don't want the hassle and cost of parking etc.

You can buy good quality ready-prepared roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, fancy stuffings, sauces and puddings, so if you don't want to prepare dinner from scratch you don't have to.

You don't have to sit in front of the telly on Christmas Day to catch Morecambe and Wise the decent stuff. You can record everything to watch another time.

The best things I remember about Christmas in the 70s are still free or the cost of a donation: the carol service in the town square, Midnight Mass, going for a long yomp and picking pretty branches and holly to decorate the house with, decorating the tree, parents snoozing in front of the Wizard of Oz afternoon movie, time off work and school as a family.

Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 13:21:53

Thanks for all the replies.

Yes, I think I will make the effort to go to a carol service and a Christmas sale before Christmas. And as I no longer work in the city centre (and am getting older) drunken nights out are becoming a thing of the past. Also, for the last couple of years I have ditched the fancy, all taste the same, shop bought canapes and have reverted to cocktail sausages and smoked salmon on brown bread. So I suppose I'm getting there!

notso Thu 21-Nov-13 13:42:51

I seem to remember my Mum and Dad getting pretty stressed cooking Christmas dinner for loads of people. While DSIS and I entertained ourselves watching Great-Gran and elderly great Aunts chewing nuts and unknotting gift ribbon for three hours. No-one went to church ever.
I know there were money worrys my Dad was always in and out of work.
I have fond memories but it wasn't some kind of idyllic time.

I think Christmas is probably better now. I do my shopping early and use the internet to save money. I make food and freeze it so there isn't loads to do on Christmas Day. We live somewhere close to the countryside so we can go on walks. We go to carol service at church. We do Christmassy activities. I never serve canapés!

GilmoursPillow Thu 21-Nov-13 14:13:13

I long for Christmases I never had. I have this romantic notion of having a Dickensian Christmas with guaranteed snow which I could see through my lead-paned windows, cheeky little urchins singing carols in the street, gas lights (the ones that illuminate) and the smell of wood smoke in the air.

Of course, in my imagination we also have warm houses, no diseases, several days off and Baileys.

<watched A Christmas Carol too many times>

chrome100 Thu 21-Nov-13 14:19:18

DP and I don't own a car so do our xmas shopping on foot or online.

We buy each other one gift, see all our mates xmas eve in the pub and our families for a cuppa tea on boxing day. On the day itself we just bung whatever we fancy in the oven, watch DVDs and that is that.

For me xmas is the most relaxing time of year but because I have chosen for it to be that way. it doesn't have to be all mad spending and chaos.

PottyLotty Thu 21-Nov-13 14:31:28

Christmas was very different for us.
For about 10 years i never had a christmas day with my dad because my grandparents emigrated to Australia and my mum would cart me and my sister off there every christmas.
I hated it, its not right sitting on the beach in scorching sunshine eating roast turkey with salad and coleslaw.
Because we had baggage restrictions we only ever used to get very small gifts (bracelets or chiffon scarf or something) or edible gifts like revolting aussie chocolate or dates confused.
My dad always bought us a piece of jewellery or a bear/doll on our return in the middle of January.

Now im in charge of christmas and my children will sit infront of crappy tv and watch rubbish all day, eat cardboard turkey and sprouts, then freeze their socks off walking across the hills because thats what christmas should be like grin

MaddAddam Thu 21-Nov-13 14:37:31

Our Christmas is a bit how the OP describes "old fashioned Christmas"

'carol services and jumble sales in aid of charity and home made presents and board games by the fire, and nativity plays in the village hall and neighbours making each other mince pies and Christmas cakes'

We live in a village which does all that sort of communal activity rather sweetly. And I have arty crafty dc who love making things like cotton wool snowpeople and homemade fudge in little glittery boxes before playing board games.

I still prefer drunken parties and mad socialising myself grin.

Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 14:40:27

I'll swap places MaddAddam.

SunshineMMum Thu 21-Nov-13 14:51:44

YANBU I am drawing the line this year, as I want future years to be less about, shopping, money worries and excess and more about spirituality and family, without all the exhausting slog beforehand. I love the idea of making some gifts, so hopefully next year I'll make time to learn how to.

pissovski Thu 21-Nov-13 15:26:04

We aim for a relaxing Christmas at Chez Ovski smile

I remember Christmas when I was at primary school (early/mid 80s) as being happy enough. Doing the Nativity play/singing carols at a residential home, putting the fake tree together (usually accompanied by the smell of gloss paint drying!), visiting relatives (old ones) seemingly all day on Christmas Eve (boring!), being ill (memorably with chicken pox age 11). Presents were probably a source of stress as not very well off, but mum and nan were good at sewing so some probably were homemade.

At secondary age I pretty much didn't like Christmas much. Lots of homework, usually ill, little excitement for the 'day itself'. Nan had died the Sept i started secondary, which left Mum pretty depressed (but not getting helped with that) and as it was her birthday on Boxing Day that made it even more difficult. We had my grandad living with us, and would have his brother in law (Mum's uncle) visiting on Christmas Day from about 3pm til 10 ish so not very relaxing or fun. No games or even being able to veg and watch TV, just having to try to make conversation and being polite (ie unable to escape).

Now I am SAHM to DS (2.6) so I am able to pick up 'Christmas stuff' whenever. DS's presents have been sorted (mix of Amazon, charity shop and supermarkets) My dad and his partner don't want pressies just cards (but I might sort a photo of them with DS maybe) IL's mostly sorted (Amazon) Nothing hi tech (mainly toys, books and dvds). Food will be easy enough and potentially cooked earlier and frozen (eg roast spuds). We will go up to MIL's (SILs and Bil there too) late morning on Christmas Day and then back to ours for lunch (ie Christmas dinner).Shop bought puds. Dad and partner are visiting us a week or so before.

No frenetic shopping, no drunken shenanigans, decorations will be on a tree (who knows what they will be!) If anyone wants to pop in they are welcome, but nothing has been planned. One year we forgot to have stuffing but we lived!!

PeppiNephrine Thu 21-Nov-13 15:27:49

Well have one then, nothing stopping you.

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