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How 'different' is Christmas from any other day?

(16 Posts)
fuzzpig Fri 09-Nov-12 18:37:46

Seen this mentioned in a lot of threads.

For us, it's quite different, but not as different as I'd like. In previous years it's been like "Sunday with presents" and we are making an effort to change this by doing more crafty stuff, decorating a bit more with nice things like pomanders to get a proper festive atmosphere! Maybe dress up a bit more too and put a bit more effort into the food (we do this on other days when we see family but usually don't bother on the 25th itself).

We can't really set it apart by seeing family as for the most part my family is shit and my parents have no real interest in celebrating anything. I used to hate Xmas as a child because I knew how miserable a time we were having compared to all my friends. So now we decided to spend Xmas just us and the DCs.

Presents for the DCs definitely set it apart from other days - they get a decent pile of new stuff. They do get things throughout the year, only little puzzles from charity shops and figures from eBay etc, but I'm planning to really cut back on that as they are getting a bit complacent about being given stuff.

I know everyone has different views on this for various reasons and I'm just being curious/nosy really. So is Xmas just like any other day for you or is it an all out celebration? Or somewhere in between?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 09-Nov-12 19:17:37

It's a bit of a letdown after the build-up TBH. It's blardy hard work to plan everything and get it all in place.

My mum always made such a big thing of Christmas being too much work (this was in the 1970s/80s when it was all so much more low key)

She didn't put up decorations (except a small tree with minimal lights).
He got out of cooking the Christmas Dinner by fobbing it off onto anyone else who would do it (family friend used to stay, then I did it for years)

She's always complain about wanting a clean house for Christmas (any time you asked her what present she wanted "A tidy house". But she was the untidy one.

But the worst bit IMO (as a child) was when she'd say "Oh I wish it was Boxing Day" "I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on NYD"

But she did bugger all. She made me feel that Christmas was too much effort for her to bother with - so we weren't worth it sad

When we took over (DBro decorated. I cooked) at least things got done.
Then we just had to find a matching set of plates/glasses/cutlery confused


So fast forward a few years.
I've got my own DC. I've had my parents over for Christmas (so she can see how it could be done. Not should have. This is my way)

I don't want my DC to know what goes on behind the scenes. The shopping. (they know things cost ££).

I love the build up.
I love organising trips out for the DC.
A shopping trip for DH and I.
The cooking. The menu planning.
And we have our traditions. Light breakfast. Meal when it gets dark. Crackers.
Dr Who after dinner. And all the rubbishy soaps.


NotGoodNotBad Fri 09-Nov-12 19:22:37

Celebration definitely. Includes:

- something a bit different for breakfast, but with minimal effort, like pain-au-chocolat (we do have these other times but not every week)

- 3 course lunch (never do this otherwise) with wine (also never for lunch!)

- dinner with Christmas cake. Main course something a bit more festive than we eat the rest of the time

- presents

- dress up a bit. DH is a bit resistant to this but can usually be persuaded out of his jeans/fleece grin. I like the kids to dress up too - we don't have to be super smart, but clothes can give a sense of occasion

- crackers (I'm not fussed about crackers really, but DD2 loves them)

- spend some time together playing board games or watching DVDs. Don't want everyone doing separate computer games or whatever for the whole day.

- Xmas tree chocolates. These are hung up in advance but we only start eating them on Christmas day.

itonlyhappenedonce Fri 09-Nov-12 20:48:31

I grew up Christmas was sunday with presents but I love xmas day now. I think the key is to make the magic last all day but the magic isn't that complicated for little DCs.

Kids are allowed to scoff chocolate from stocking in our bed at 7am with no comments from us at all. Not allowed on any other day!

Mostly all in new clothes. Clothes which will then be well used but feel all soft and shop new on xmas day. Nothing smart but jeans are banned as we all live in them.

Breakfast croissants, pastries, panettone toast etc plus chocolate cereal for kids. Glass of champers for me and DH if we feel like it. Def doesn't happen on any Sunday.

V light lunch of our fave startery type things (prawn cocktail, pate, salads) which are homemade - can never normally be bothered to make things like this so different.

Afternoon walk with mince pies before coming home to flop with chocs being unwrapped and mince pies being scoffed whenever anyone feels like it - no rationing the DCs etc although for foodie DC1 I'll probably point out they woudn't want to be too full for slap up dinner.

Xmas dinner after dark with candles and xmas music. Few basic games at the table between dinner and pudding strings the meal out and makes it festive so we generally end up at the table for a good couple of hours. No comments on what anyone is eating. If picky DC eats a plate of pigs in blankets after a day full of chocolate and no veg consumed, then that's fine.

No bedtime rules, no baths etc, they either get carried up when ready or fall asleep on the sofa and are allowed to stay there til we go to bed for that magical feeling of stirring in a deep sleep and being aware they are still up but being all snug with the family.

Love it and am very disappointed when its all over. Its basically taking normal everyday things and throwing out the rule book or doing them differently.

However am hoping that this will get a bit dull in 10 years time and will indulge in slap up Xmas meals out with teenage DC (better start saving) and eventually having snuggly days with DH on our own. Oh yes have it all planned out!

ImperialBlether Fri 09-Nov-12 21:08:43

itonlyhappenedonce, if you each have a glass of champagne for breakfast then what do you do with the rest of the bottle? Is a glass a euphemism for half a bottle? If not, does it go flat?

No judging here! I'd be asleep if I had a drink in the morning but otherwise I'd be up for it at Christmas.

itonlyhappenedonce Fri 09-Nov-12 21:30:36

ha ha! it probably gets finished somewhere along the way most years - we have DH's family with us so finishing a bottle of anything not really a problem.

Dh does all the clearing up on christmas day so I happily lose track of what happens with any opened bottles. Not sure anyone (except DH) finishes a glass of anything as he's always whipping it out from any surface to make sure DCs don't knock it over - houseproud, tidy freak DH versus slacker me.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 09-Nov-12 21:34:45

We go to church, as we do every Sunday throughout the year, but I put on smarter clothes than normal.

We eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen, and have enough food for lunch, that we can live on leftovers for the next few days.

We hang out in the living room together instead of people disappearing to their own rooms, and will definitely play a new board game and Wii game together.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 09-Nov-12 21:36:13

We also phone or Skype relatives on Christmas day.

iloveholidays Fri 09-Nov-12 22:02:01

Itonlyhappenedonce... That sounds lovely. That is just the way I'd love ours to be!!!! How old are your DCs?

In response to original OP question, ours is very different

Stockings in bed
Downstairs for breakfast - last year was pain au chocolate, although DD1 has requests for pancakes this year.
Then probably some present opening from under the tree
Showers, get dressed etc in something smart casual
Then usually head over to family. Last year was PIL, this year my sisters.
More presents or lunch depending on time.
Games, DCs play with all their new toys.
Treasure hunt for the older DCs with another little present at the end
Snacks/left overs for tea
Either DCs to bed or home to bed.
Adults chill out watching films, playing games, drinking etc

I'd love to stay at home and think we will in the next few years, but one of DPs worries is that it would just turn into a "Sunday with presents". He loves just packing up and moving in with family for a few days. I think as the kids get older they'll want to stay at home anyway. This year will be a little different as DD3 due today so probably lots of feeding will also be undertaken!!! smile

Can't wait!!!!

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Fri 09-Nov-12 22:09:58

Christmas is totally different- it is a total day of indulgence! No rules, bugger the mess, the drink flows steadily from the minute we get home from church

Christmas dinner in our house starts at around 3pm, is 5 courses long and (with plenty of drinking breathing time between courses) finishes around 9pm...just in time for the evening visitors (neighbours, family, whoever).

The kids play all day and everything is very relaxed. When I was a child we visited relatives, finishing up at my gran's for christmas dinner, by which time she was always berating us for being late, moaning that dinner was "ruined" then generally stressing. I do as much as I can in advance and there is NO. RUSH. Christmas should be totally chilled!

Some0ne Sat 10-Nov-12 12:46:24

When I was a kid, we had stockings in bed in the morning (at 4am most years, I found it very hard to sleep!), then we all went downstairs at the same time (didn't usually happen, my mother always had breakfast in bed, even on weekdays). We'd open presents while my dad made rasher sandwiches, which were a once-a-year thing. Then we just played all day, there was no housework done, other than washing up. That was unusual. The main thing though was that my mother made a huge effort to be in good humour all day. My dad told me a few years ago that that was what made christmas good for him too, because most of the time she was terrifyingly cranky and unpredictable.

We never visited anyone, but had one or other set of grandparents over for dinner.

We don't really have traditions yet as the kiddos are only 2 and 9 months, but I don't think there's any danger that it'll ever just be sunday with presents!

fuzzpig Sat 10-Nov-12 18:42:14

Thanks for all the replies! Makes me feel all festive and excited.

70 - erm, are you me?! Your description of your mum really struck an unpleasant chord! My parents were totally not fussed with Xmas and had no idea that maybe I'd like to have fun. Only child in the family so nobody to play with either. I was also told that I wouldn't get presents because I got stuff throughout the year (not particularly true I have to say!)

Anyway. I think I'll go with the new clothes idea - they rarely get fancy clothes so once a year might be nice. I always get DH a t-shirt or two anyway. I think I'd like to extend the new jammies on Xmas eve idea to me and DH as well. Also I might nick the pancakes idea for breakfast!

fuzzpig Sat 10-Nov-12 18:44:37

Also many of the presents my DCs are getting are crafty things as I hope this'll mean we can spend time making things together on the day. They've been a bit young for family games in the past but maybe this year it'll be easier!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 10-Nov-12 19:02:15

fuzzpig - the thing with my mother is she was (and still is) very meh about housework and shopping (especially when we were children).
She CBA but she made sure we all knew she CBA. I used to get so jealous of friends who were having the "Perfect Christmas" .But of course you don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

My parents are both very religious, so it's even more confused that this important time in the Christian calender should be so resented

FawkesoidOrganisoid Sat 10-Nov-12 20:46:00

I think what sets it apart for me is spending the day in a half cut fuzz after drinking champagne at breakfast blush I've never been actually drunk at xmas but often have a slight tipsiness that lasts the day.

The dc eat chocolate from the minute they open their stockings. We spend the day together, play with their presents, maybe play a boardgame or watch a film in the afternoon, sometimes go for a walk.

I actually don't know what it is that sets it apart but it does feel different.

I remember Christmas morning as being magical when I was a child but dreaded the afternoons. My parents had a no tv at Christmas rule and we weren't allowed to play with our toys until we had written our thank you letters. So Christmas afternoon was always spent sat at the table writing letter after letter while my parents fell asleep in the sitting room. The afternoons felt very dull and very lonely. That's something I will never do to my children, Christmas is the whole day and the whole day is indulgence and fun.

NotGoodNotBad Sat 10-Nov-12 22:38:03

"My parents had a no tv at Christmas rule and we weren't allowed to play with our toys until we had written our thank you letters. "

Wow, what meanies! shock I'm all for thank you letters, but not on Christmas day!

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