How to make Christmas truly amazing(23 Posts)
I've seen various threads over the years along the lines of I don't want to go to
PILs' that person's house for Christmas as they don't do anything special, I want to go to my parents' someone else's house instead as its lots more fun, magical, amazing etc. My DCs are 1 and 3, so it's a long way off, but I really don't want to be the one to avoid at Christmas and I've a chance to start doing some really fun things that we can do every year. So, what makes Christmas fun/what makes a someone's Christmas something that you want to be a part of?
The host not stressing is number one for me. I love PILs but MIL does a massive meal and is stressed the whole time and annoyed if people talk to her. I personally can still bang out a decent meal whilst chatting and not getting cross etc but if the host can't I would much much rather have an oven pizza than all that.
Generally being relaxed is key I think. Games and traditions etc are lovely but only if you do them in a laid back way and don't care if they get rail roaded
Lots of people does it for us... We couldn't imagine a Christmas without lots of children, friends and family.
We'll have the dining room (after lunch!) full of people playing a board game, the living room full of kids playing scalectrix with a Christmas movie on, some people drinking and having nibbles in the kitchen, some too big toy being put together by a couple of adults in the hall... It's a really buzzy party like atmosphere and it says Christmas to me. (And to all my family and friends )
Also, lots of decorations, food and alcohol
Being where you love, with the people you love
It won't be perfect, but it will be my Christmas
Agree with hosts not stressing, Chris evans said something funny about people getting all martyish because they are hosting!!!
either host and enjoy or don't host!
I think the house needs to look as different and magical as possible, relaxed host, music on!! Take note PILS NEVER EVER EVER MUSIC...just very quiet and restrained...
hosts that like people and like entertaining helps...then if you add in a few games etc...
LOADS of comments re pils I have read is because they seem too strict.
The lunch has to be at 1pm, no prisoners, thats it. The first present is opened at 8.35. Then the small child has to wait until after lunch when the grown ups want to open TWO more then another precisely after the queens speech. There are no food accommodations, its what it is. One glass of festive wine.
One more present, then telly and woe betide anyone who wants to change the tradition
Surely the homes and places we feel more comfy are those we feel free in!!
mary that sounds perfect and ideal....but hard to get that buzz with perhaps only one or two guests
One guest perhaps looking at a domino whilst another maybe is perusing the fridge?
That's my point Elf invite more people... We don't just have family over, we invite friends too, and it has grown into a huge group!
Also, I think extending Christmas into a few different traditions makes it kind of unmissable... We'll all get together for a Panto a few days before (booked in June 😳).. We all go out to eat on Christmas Eve, we all have a bet on horse racing on Boxing Day... It comes to a point when you've spent your whole life doing these things, you couldn't possibly miss them!
See, we do a lot of that, HUUUUUGE Christmas tree, relaxed time, nice food and drink but not so overly complicated that the host doesn't enjoy it... but the lots of people we just can't do. Friends go to their own families, DH's family live too far away and none of mine speak to each other so we have to have them in shifts over the festive season. Makes me so sad. I would love a huge, noisily family Christmas but we just can't rustle up the people.
MaryPoppins, struck a chord with me when you said about doing it your whole life. I want to do that with the DC but it feels so contrived starting traditions. Would be lovely if we had a few more people with ideas for stuff that they would like to do.
This makes me sad. we have no extended family whatsoever so it's only ever us and the DCs. No GPs to spoil them or play games. I always feel as though they're missing out.
Well, by contrast - it's important to me that there is NOT a crowd of people around! I love the sound of the PP's buzzy house, but it wouldn't work for us at all. Christmas Day is about the closest family only, to me. We close our drawbridge and concentrate on the four of us. It's very relaxed, relatively unstructured and all about sharing some time with the family.
I agree with the main idea that it needs to be relaxed - that's the key. No martyrs, no rigidity, just relaxed indulgences. The traditions will come in time, I think.
Our family Christmas isn't the perfect tv family Christmas but I think we do a pretty good job. My dcs are 19,16 and 13 and it's the small traditions they look forward to.
Make Christmas about the whole season rather than focus on the day. Choose when you put your tree up and do it the same time every year. Some traditions I wish I've heard on here I'd have loved starting when the dcs were small. Such as taking them to buy a new tree ornament each year and a story book advent calendar. The past few years I've got more adventurous with the advent calendars which also spreads out the season. This year I've made CocaCola calendars for ds1 and 2. They've been a great success. This is what I mean about the small things. The dcs appreciate the
gesture of the extra thorght.
Christmas Eve focuses on the hamper, nice things to make getting ready for bed special. You could make reindeer food and cookies or buy digestives and icing and let the dcs decorate them for Santa.
Christmas Day is all about sharing gifts and good food. Opening stockings is always fun with the random tat and watching the dog rip the paper off to get to a squeaky toy.
The past few years we have met at my mums for lunch but when the dcs were small we had it at home so they could enjoy their toys.
I think the key to long standing and enjoyable traditions is keep it relaxed. Don't be scared to change things that don't work or introduce new traditions. never stop putting the effort in, it's memories your making, not a Christmas movie. Also your dcs won't be little forever so make sure not all your traditions are based around Santa or at least they can be adapted. I know so many people who don't enjoy Christmas once their dcs are teens, simply because they stopped bothering with a lot of the traditions and not replaced them with new ones.
Oh my god yes to Christmas martyrs! DM and MIL are both like this/martyrs all year round. Live in fear I'll become one, seems inevitable.
MIL always does a ridiculously fiddly starter and pretentious jellies in martini glasses etc and gets so stressy and cross.
Don't get me wrong it's really nice to have a bit of structure and tradition etc but always keeping sight of what actually matters.
Oh also not being weird about presents.
All traditions have start somewhere, so just do stuff you like the sound of this year and ten do them again next year if you all liked them.
I would say try and do xmas differently every year, that ways there's no expectation to do the same every year. We have had xmas just us, lots of family to stay, some family to stay, gone to stay with family etc.
So no one expects spend xmas with us and vice versa, 2 years ago after BIL died MIL wasn't up to celebrating so we stayed home, last year everyone came to us and we had a housefull. This year it's just us again as I've been working 2 jobs as have had an overlap of 2 months so didn't want to have to think about anything other than relaxin on the sofa. We aren't even having a roast this year! Kids voted for a buffet. We are going to my sisters for new year so will have the family party then
We are having xmas at home for the first year and i am very excited so watching with interest. We have some relatives over.
The reason why we have done this as last few years we have spent at mums and its so regimented and she is a total martyr - it sucks all the joy out of it.
My plan is to let the day flow, as much food prepared before the big day as poss and no driving all over the place trying to squeeze visits in.
I intend to spend the day playing with kids, eating nice food and drinking baileys.
I think keeping tads quite loose works well, so other people can come at the last min, and not fall into a massive sticky web of traditions that cannot under any circs be broken
i tried to make a trad of going to the nutcracker every year, we went two on the trot and DD said mummy, why every year!! why! I have to admit I am nutcrackerd out now too, but I have it on digi box, so played it while putting tree up which was lovely.
Bessie There's only me and DH at Christmas and we have a brilliant, relaxed time. Your DC will love it no matter who else is there because their Mum and Dad are with them. When I was a child I only had one grandparent who came in the afternoon of Christmas Day and it was lovely but no less fun and exciting in the morning before they arrived.
Agree with pp about music. I've been to in laws houses where it's silent whoever someone stops talking and cold. Background music and put the fire on! Definitely a relaxed atmosphere is essential. Nothing has to be done to a time table, nothing has to be perfect.
And unless you love cooking, if it can be bought ready prepared from M&S/Waitrose/wherever, save yourself time and potential stress and just buy it.
As a child I think the "amazing" things you are looking for probably come from the accumulation of little treats rather than one big thing as a whole.
So for example if we had a fruit platter every Christmas breakfast, the thing that would make it amazing for DS would be if there were strawberries, blueberries and raspberries on it. I will buy these in the summer but not all at the same time, and in the winter I normally refuse to pay the price. It's small things like that which make the overall experience amazing IMO
Smile lots and be welcoming all year round for a start.
Thinking about it its the people that make it. But plenty of booze, and a good variety of it help (wine, fizz, beer, baileys gin vodka amaretto, plus Schloer, diet coke, soda water, juice). Nibbles and an open fridge policy. A nice bed to sleep in. Plenty of seats. Hot water and heating. Clean and nice smelling rooms. Dh parents have just redecorated the guest room at last and I'm looking forward to visiting much more as a consequence.
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