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,


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

Bettercallsaul1 Thu 21-Nov-13 11:45:56

No, I understand exactly what you mean - basically that we enjoy the time we spend together Christmas and make it more about human interaction rather than "things". I especially like "the board games round the fire" and have lots of (fairly recent) happy memories of playing Cluedo with the children and Pictionary etc with adults at that time of year.

It's impossible stop the general commercialization of Christmas but quite possible, I think, to preserve the best bits of Christmas within your own family and really enjoy the season.

traininthedistance Thu 21-Nov-13 11:48:41

No I feel the same! What happened to the Christmases of my (seventies and eighties) childhood, where children were excited about making a snowman card out of PVC glue, cotton wool and glitter? And going carol singing and so on? I hate hate hate the materialism of it nowadays, our local shopping centre is full of billboards encouraging people to buy Swarovski-crystal-encrusted watches and so on.

Hop over to the Christmas topic OP - ignore the threads about how people are spending eleventy-million pounds on iPads for each child and compulsory boxes of pyjamas every day of Advent etc., and seek out the ones where posters get really excited about vintage 70s wrapping paper, those will cheer you up smile

Perihelion Thu 21-Nov-13 11:51:25

Christmas day wasn't a public holiday in Scotland until 1958. My mum remembers her dad going to work as normal......I quite that that idea.

CaptainTripps Thu 21-Nov-13 11:51:31

And what is this newish passion for Christmas Eve hampers all about eh? Are people mad creating all this extra hassle for themselves?

Just don't get it. It's al become far too materialistic.

Perihelion Thu 21-Nov-13 11:52:34

Like that idea..

Damnautocorrect Thu 21-Nov-13 11:55:12

Christmas Eve hampers aren't new, they've been done in my family for 30 years.

But no I totally agree, it is difficult to get the balance right

capsium Thu 21-Nov-13 11:55:45

I think the thing is when you remember childhood Christmases, it was only the nice side you were involved with. It was your parents who had to do the frenetic shopping, whilst you were elsewhere, worry about money, park etc. It was also adults who would be having the drunken parties after you had gone to bed. Although I do remember the odd tipsy relative and Mum and Dad sniggering!

cocolepew Thu 21-Nov-13 11:57:44

Sounds lovely. But I'm sure our parents still ran around trying to find the must have present, albeit an Etch A Sketch instead of an ipad. Also the Christmas dinner didn't appear by the fairies.
So really we all want to be children in the 70's again grin.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 11:58:16

One of my happiest christmases involved playing charades with dh, my mum and my two sisters. My younger sister is so hopeless at it that by the time we finished playing (four hours later) I was in actual pain from laughing. I don't get on very well with my mum and older sister so that happy memory is very precious. Gifts on the other hand I don't really care about.

cocolepew Thu 21-Nov-13 11:58:19

Xpost smile

DrankSangriaInThePark Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:10

You all need to come and reread the Zombie thread, Christmas then and now. It will make you feel all better.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:35

I cannot say how much I agree with that comment capsium. Christmas has always been frenetic and stressy for the grown-ups. My DGM used to cook for 25, you can't tell me she burst into tears halfway down the street because she'd forgotten to pick up the stuffing (or whatevs).

That said, <smug alert> I have Christmas pretty much under control. We're not lavish with gifts, so I do one day's Christmas shopping and make sure I really enjoy it. It's just the three of us for dinner so no pressure to make a massive fandango of a feast we just have a chicken and pull some crackers. The real pleasure of Christmas for me is quiet time with the family.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:38

I think it's sad the way so many women in particular get so stressed about it. My childhood christmases were quiet and relaxed and I want the same for my kids. Not a lot of pomp and sparkle just lots of food and some time to chill out.

DrankSangriaInThePark Thu 21-Nov-13 12:04:11

<passes the After Eights>

The links don't work because it's a zombie thread! But sooooo very lovely.

JoinTheDots Thu 21-Nov-13 12:04:36

I think it is possible. I am not going to go out shopping, I shall order everything online and do it on the sofa so no need to park, push past people or panic buy. A little planning and checking the Christmas bargains thread here on Mumsnet, and Bobs your uncle, done, you can even get things delivered to people direct, so no need to try to fit everyone in for a visit on the run up to the big day (just make sure you see the people you actually want to!).

I am not getting techy presents for anyone other than DH and that is because I know he will want them, DD is getting things we can do and make together, mostly. Other friends and family are getting foody gifts in the main (some even home made!).

We have no colour coordination to our dec, its lovely to have memories associated with the tat we put on the tree and lights we string about.

I am going to the WI fayre, and the village jumble sale to buy home made jam and pickle, see friends for a mince pie, and I am going to bake some sausage rolls and mince pies for the family and friends this year.

No boozy parties for me as I am preggers, so thats that one out too!

No open fire, and DD is a little young at 3 for anything more than Shopping List or Incey Wincey Spider as a board game, but I think I ticked the rest of the boxes!

You can do it too....

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 12:05:08

We had 10 people in the house for Christmas a couple of years ago and it was fine. Genuine question: what in particular are people actually stressed about?

traininthedistance Thu 21-Nov-13 12:05:10

I can honestly say hands down that the best part of Christmas as a child was totally free. My siblings and I would put on a Christmas carols LP, wrap up some of our toys as pretend presents and put them under the tree, hold a pretend carol service in a pretend church by the tree and then pretend it was Christmas Eve and we were going to bed to wait for Father Christmas. It could be played every evening in December and it was TBH more fun than anything else, perhaps more than the actual Christmas Day itself smile smile

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Nov-13 12:06:23

I almost got stressed about it yesterday. Then I remembered I have retired parents and an at home DH who will be attending Christmas with me. So on my to-do list for this afternoon is a delegation list where I ask them to take on various tasks.

I accept I'll cook Xmas dinner on my own, albeit with my sister contributing some things, and tbh I prefer not to have DM (aargh) or DH (hopeless cook) involved in that. But I'm never again putting the whole thing together as a solo effort.

MaryZygon Thu 21-Nov-13 12:07:23

I have an oldfashioned Christmas.

I get a real tree that goes up the week before, with ancient mismatched baubles and sprigs of holly on the pictures.

I don't "Christmas shop". Usually I do one early morning and a bit on Amazon. And get bits and pieces when supermarket shopping.

I get in food for one day, not for a month hmm

We go to a carols-by-candlelight service and help at an old-fashioned parish fair.

And on Christmas Day we record turn off the tv and play charades while eating boxes of roses.

NoComet Thu 21-Nov-13 12:07:49

I'm 45 and I don't think things, for parents, have actually changed that much.

We might have starry eyed, rose tinted memories, but for our parents Christmas was just as stressful and as expensive as it is now.

For my DM there was still presents to buy, her share of the food to organise, the house to decorate and the logistics of packing to go to GPs without us seeing our gifts. Her budget was very very tight and our old car was held together literally with my DDad's blood and sweat.

The only thing that has changed is how stupidly early Christmas starts.

MaryZygon Thu 21-Nov-13 12:08:12

If people would just wait a bit, and no overdo it in October, it would all be better. Basically it's a vicious circle - shops put Christmas out there, people go nuts, shops up the ante, people get more stressed ...

Just don't do it.

CloverCharm Thu 21-Nov-13 12:09:57

I totally get what you mean. Today it's all about pretty much expense and who's got what. The actual sentiment seems to be lost to materialness in most cases.

squoosh Thu 21-Nov-13 12:10:12

Christmas is only as stressful as you allow it to be. The Christmases I have now are pretty much the same as the ones I grew up with.

Gotta say though, love a drunken party, hope they don't go anywhere!

kelda Thu 21-Nov-13 12:11:21


I realy dislike the idea of trying to make Christmas Day the most perfect day of the year, from which pajamas you wake up wearing to every morsal of food you put in your mouth.

I like the way we do it here in Belgium. Saint Nicholas brings the children presents on 5/6 December, which leaves Christmas for the family to celebrate, without all the hype of loads of presents.

Also love the idea of Thanksgiving in the US where families/friends get together to share a meal and time together.

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.

Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 15:34:34

I wish it was that simple Peppi.

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 21-Nov-13 15:36:06

You have described my Christmas OP...we go to carol services and nativity...we don't splash out or get drunk AND we make ornaments and cards. Why not just do it!

nokidshere Thu 21-Nov-13 16:16:34

Lots of rosé coloured specs on here lol

I shop online whenever I see something, we only do pressies for the 4 of us and grandma. We have a fridge full of cold stuff and treats, a couple of bottles of nice Red Wine. The we close the door on Christmas Eve and don't open it again till Boxing Day - and we only get dressed if there are outdoor toys to play with.

Pure bliss and no stress at all

Ragwort Thu 21-Nov-13 16:27:13

Our Christmas is like the one you describe - we go to lots of Church services & activities, help out with the homeless shelter, I organise the Christmas bazaar myself grin, hardly buy any presents, limit formal entertaining (actually we are not invited to much grin), play board games as we do most weeks anyway, watch the Queen's speech (no other TV allowed), go for walks.

I do believe there is a certain amount of Christmas martyr-like behaviour (esp. on Mumsnet) about who has the busiest, most stressful time, some of the threads about the number of gifts people buy are just so totally over the top that it is laughable - but if you tentatively suggest people cut down on the present buying you are met with 'we couldn't possibly do that' sort of comment. I am waiting for the 'I am skint' threads in January.

Just relax people, and have a very Happy Christmas. smile

gruffalosmile Thu 21-Nov-13 16:36:30

I totally agree, iif you want that sort of Christmas then make one! I tend to stay away from the shops as far as possible, our Christmas tree is a fake one and almost 20 years old, I don't bother with all this nonsense like having special pyjamas or god forbid special bedding. We like going down to the local village to see the Christmas tree lit up, and there are a few Christmas fete type things going on which I might take the kids to, but that's about it. We only have one social event over Christmas and that's with family. Otherwise we stay home and enjoy snuggling up. Santa gets a mince pie and a glass of port which I drink after the kids have gone to bed. Christmas day we space out the present opening as much as possible and always go for a long walk, whatever the weather. Christmas doesn't have to be frantic or commercialised, it's up to you!

Dawndonnaagain Thu 21-Nov-13 16:39:47

Our Christmas is like this. We do have a do with the neighbours, different house each year, each family brings something to eat and a bottle. We don't get drunk and we have been known to sing carols. We do make things for one another. It's quiet here, but I wouldn't move for all the tea in china at the moment!

Crowler Thu 21-Nov-13 16:45:07

Well, I quite like the drunken party part of modern Christmas.

My Christmas is either trans-Atlantic travel (stressful) to non-hub destinations (double-stress) or hosting a lot of people (stressful).

I love having kids at Christmas, though; it makes everything seem magical again.

PeppiNephrine Fri 22-Nov-13 17:32:08

It is, if you make it. Since when were M&S canapes and drunken parties compulsory? no-one is forcing you to do this stuff, so don't.
I'm really not getting the problem.

Arabesque1 Fri 22-Nov-13 17:34:34

It's not a 'problem'. It's just the way Christmas seems to have developed in my life. Yes, of course I can just refuse to meet up with friends for meals and drinks before Christmas or to buy anyone techy type presents but I can't see that going down well. I'm just really musing generally on the way Christmases seem to have changed so much, that's all.

Thatisall Fri 22-Nov-13 17:34:57

OP if you're boring then so am I and I try and fail every year to have one of tee old fashioned Christmases you describe

MrsAMerrick Fri 22-Nov-13 17:46:51

the "perfect" Christmas you are describing sounds quite like ours. Christmas for me starts the Sunday beforehand, when there is the village carol service where most of the village turn out and freeze to death in our lovely medieval church then we come back, put on cheesy Christmas songs (Stop the Cavalry anyone?) and decorate the tree whilst drinking mulled wine. On Christmas eve there is a "nativity" play in the barn on a farm in the village, complete with sheep, donkeys and small children. We do stockings on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas morning we open stockings, go to Church, do lunch and then a long walk, and in the evening open "under the tree" presents and play games. And my DCs are teenagers who usually won't go near us. When they were little they we used to make ornaments, paperchains etc but we don't do that now. We don't do TV on Christmas day, or any screens of any kind.
I think it's easy to do all that, and our DCs have never moaned about it, in fact when i suggested this year that we could do Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve rather than Church on Christmas Day if they wanted to lie in they were both adamant that "that wouldn't be Christmas".
Maybe it's easier to do a more traditional type Christmas if you live in a rural area, but the "no screens" on Christmas Day is an easy one to implement. You can always start your own traditions!
Mind you, we might be unusual - a few years ago we were out walking on Christmas Day after lunch, bumped into another family we knew well who asked our DC what they had got for Christmas. When we explained we hadn't got round to opening the presents yet they were shock!

PeppiNephrine Fri 22-Nov-13 18:11:53

Well either you "long" for something different or you don't. Either get on with it and enjoy and stop moaning, or change the bits you don't like.

usualsuspect Fri 22-Nov-13 18:18:12

I like sparkle and booze at Christmas.

Nothing wrong with a drunken Christmas party.

usualsuspect Fri 22-Nov-13 18:20:16

And my Christmases are pretty much the same as when I was a child many years ago.

The presents may be different ,but everyone wanted the must have toy back in the day.

Caitlin17 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:24:35

Which alternative universe outside of a Clinton card did your old fashioned Christmas exist in.

I loathe Christmas. Have done since I was a teenager.

SunshineMMum Fri 22-Nov-13 18:29:25

I find that however organised I am, once I am finished wrapped and ready, family members start to commandeer my services. So far this week I have ordered and waited about for three parcels for DM, shopped with one sister for another and worked out when we are putting up the decorations for DParents.

One Dsis flatly refuses to shop until about Dec 14th and then cue asking for lists, when DM has practically bought up the whole of the lists we have originally wracked our brains up to come up with and frantic calls when we are in the middle of things, or visiting relatives. I guess that it what is meant by the spirit of giving, Perhaps I should find a new job as a personal shopper. smile

LetZygonsbeZygons Fri 22-Nov-13 18:56:20

me and DC just us on Christmas Eve, with our xmas dinner (European style) just a chicken thing as id prob poison us trying to cook turkey!

we spread the friends coming to tea over the advent weeks, and just put out some nibbles and xmas music in the background, me and friend have coffee and a chat and kids play in DCs room.

xmas day, church service, pop into paernts for a cuppa and then back for lunch -just me and DC- and then settle down and wait for Dr Who!!!!

bathed and xmas prezzie pjs, choccys, the lot.

cant 'do' the xmas stress, this is our tradition and so we have a quiet one every year.

im done with the gifts, about 5 for DC, plus what she gets from friends/family, I donrt need anything, im happy enough with what I have.

and yes to a dickens style xmas. chestnuts roasting on a open fire.........

Rubybrazilianwax Fri 22-Nov-13 19:41:22

I have gradually each year perfected christmas to suit us
- Firstly I shop 99% online. I have my 5 dc gifts mostly bought & nephews and nieces this way.
-I only have 1 adult on each dh and I side to buy for since I suggested kris kringle to everyone a number of years a go. Also its just lovely to receive a nice £50 gift instead of 5 £10 ones! I cannot get my head around grown up siblings all having to buy each other and their partners, who has time to shop for that?!
-For grandparents we do hotel vouchers- 1 phonecall.
-nice local butcher bones and stuffs my turkey
-I don't wrap dc santa gifts, just set them out.
-teachers get a potted poinsettia (I'm a teacher I know how parents stress over this, please don't!)
-we have an open house on one of the sundays in december. Quick text round friends and relatives inviting anyone who likes to call in at any stage on that afternoon. This sees a lot of people in one go and doesnt put pressure on people to stay, they can just drop in on way back from shopping etc
-we don't do visiting from 24th-27th or even leave the house apart from christmas eve mass. Just eat, play games and watch tv.
-I do faff about with decorating but only because I love it. Branches of holly, ivy and eucalyptus are cut from the garden though so no expense there. That combined with a stack of candles and tea lights pretty much makes the house perfectly decorated for christmas
Despite all this we have had years with burst pipes, v&d bugs, premature labour, broken boiler! It can all happen.

aintnothinbutagstring Fri 22-Nov-13 20:10:03

Whats wrong with drunken parties? I'd love to be invited to a drunken party, which as a SAH out of the loop mother of 2 under 5's is distinctly not going to happen. I will however spend from 10am christmas day in a blissful baileys fuelled haze.

Pixel Fri 22-Nov-13 20:18:10

I take no notice of shops trying to hype us up early, we don't have to fall for their tricks! (I do make the cake in October though so I can feed it).
I don't really find Christmas stressful. I might have one trip into town on the bus to buy pressies but mostly I pick things up when I'm out and about getting 'normal' shopping or buy online. I've been known to make presents too.
We put our decorations up no earlier than a couple of weeks before, I can't understand people putting them up in November, don't they know they are destroying the magic?
I used to love going to the crib service on Christmas Eve but had to stop as Ds was getting very upset and it wasn't fair to ruin it for everyone (he has ASD) but this thread has made me decide to give it another go this year as he copes much better with such things now smile. Fingers crossed I don't have to take him out because I adore carols.

We always had fairly relaxed Christmases when I was young, mainly because we don't have much of an extended family to worry about (though I must admit it is more complicated now both my parents have remarried). Still, I don't doubt my mum had her own stresses to cope with. One year Sis and I got new dressing gowns, I realised what that strange noise had been late on Christmas Eve. No it wasn't Father Christmas, it was my Mum frantically trying to finish sewing two pink fleecy dressing gowns!

pinkpetrol Fri 22-Nov-13 20:28:56

Ah what a lovely Mum Pixel

hyenafunk Fri 22-Nov-13 21:17:17


I like to think we do it traditionally! Real Christmas tree, crazy mismatched decorations, I don't rush around shopping at all (do it all online grin). We did the carol singing already because our village does it mid November with the local light switch on. I bake everything, we do crafty bits and I don't put all of the focus on presents.

I do, however, stress out a lot sad. But I have anxiety and I think undiagnosed OCD with list making so it sends it all a bit wacky. I just panic about it all being 'perfect' and everything arriving on time etc. I'm silly though, by Christmas day I'm all relaxed.

Beastofburden Fri 22-Nov-13 21:21:52

For lots of reasons we are going to have a very low key Christmas this year and actually I am really excited....

Though actually I have always been too lazy to have the second kind of Christmas OP describes.

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