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How do you do Christmas?

(13 Posts)
SecondTimeIsBetter Sun 02-Oct-16 10:39:49

There seems to be so much pressure from the media to have "the perfect family Christmas" with no end of "must do things".

We live near both sets of parents, 200 meters from mine and 3 miles from in laws so we don't have any issues with travelling long distances or accommodating guests for the festive period.
Christmas morning we will open presents between us and the kids, have a quick breakfast and go to church - my parents will be there and it's lovely to celebrate Christmas with our church family, kids bring toys, lots of Christmas jumpers etc.
We go to in laws for lunch - they don't drive and fil likes a pre lunch drink in his local, mil is a terrible cook but a lovely person and we get on well - we now have an arrangement that mil (over) cooks the meat and roasties and I take the rest along and re heat it there, my brother is a chef and supplies me with meat juices to make lovely gravy and I make a really good stuffing, the veg is cooked and chilled so that it just need to be warmed through to serve. I will also take a nice dessert! We joke about it being Christmas Dinner in a box!!!! Mil is happy as she gets to eat my cooking without leaving her house and I'm ok with it as I'd rather cook in my own kitchen and I don't have to endure Mils gravy (think Ria in butterflies).
We have a nice afternoon, exchange presents and leave when we are ready - no one has room for tea!
Christmas night we relax and watch a family film or play games and on boxing day we have a second Christmas at my parents with extended family, we go over in the morning and I help mum to prepare the meal. Presents are exchange once everyone has arrived and after lunch we play silly games etc. We head home when we ready.
We've had the same arrangement for a number of years and everyone is happy with it - I asked my parents if they would like to change things this year so that we are with them on Christmas day instead but they are happy to continue as we are.
I read so many threads hear about nightmare Christmases with inlaws that I feel very lucky!!!

How do you "do Christmas" and are you happy with the arrangements?

Roora Sun 02-Oct-16 12:47:58

We usually have a very relaxed Christmas, since having dc we said Christmas will be at home and if anybody wants to come for a visit or for lunch they are welcome. Usually end up with about 6/7 of us for dinner.

I try and do all the prep Christmas Eve, usually croissants for breakfast Christmas morning, presents, chuck the dinner on and play with new toys etc.

When everyone has gone home and the do are in bed we catch up on Xmas tv with some nibbles.

OhTheRoses Sun 02-Oct-16 13:05:03

MIL arrives about 23rd
DS is home from Uni (last cply of yrs his gf has joined us - she's Russian so our Xmas is a novelty
DD of course
Occasionally one or two others will join us.

Xmas Eve - Gammon, roasties, parsley sauce, broad beans, carrots, mince pies.

Xmas day: Tea and bics, 9.30 service, smoked salmon sarnies, champagne and presents, lunch at 2ish (turkey and all the trimmings, Xmas pud, choc log). Clear away. 6ish - tea, champagne and Birthday cake and presents. Evening, collapse. Some participants manage a walk.

Boxing Day - can be up to 12. Cold meats, salads, roasties, cheeseboard, Xmas cake, etc.

27th - DH and I go racing, turkey and ham pie

28th - hopefully drop MIL at station. Then I tidy up and have a rest before going back to work.

TheOnlyPink Sun 02-Oct-16 13:38:48

I love these threads!

Christmas is such a special time, and I love to make a big fuss of it, but never feel pressured. Christmas eve is spent prepping as much as possible, then we go out for a light lunch and a stroll around our little village enjoying the hustle and bustle. Home then and its the Muppets Xmas Carol, get our festive glad rags on and its off to dh family for a massive party. There's only 3 children there, 2 are mine, so we don't stay too long, but there's always fabulous food and great company. Home for approx 8.30, then new pyjamas, and read our special Xmas books. One I got when I was 4, one ds 1 got when he was 4 and this year ds2 will get one! Santa pops down the chimney asap once the boys are asleep, then me and dh settle down with Christmas telly and some treats.

Christmas day is really casual, I wake the children approx 7.30 for presents dh won't let me wake them any earlier breakfast is sugary cereal as I never normally buy it, and it's a tradition from my childhood. Each person gets their own box of whatever. The kids think it's fantastic and its no faff. The door is open for whoever wants to call. in laws come around 12, we have tea and chocolates, and exchange presents. They head off again on their rounds, and my family come around 1.30. My mum helps with the food (anyone else is a hindrance, and both of us love it!) Dinner is around 3, pudding is whenever people feel like it. My family head away around 7, then it's kids to bed (they are usually very easy to get to bed at this time) dh does bedtime while I blitz the place, he joins in once he gets down. Then it's telly!

26th, we do absolutely nothing. No one visits, food is whatever you can find (usually cheesecake for breakfast, thats becoming a tradition in itself!!) The toys and fiddly things get opened and its such a day of fun.

I'm all excited after writing all that!

anyoldname76 Sun 02-Oct-16 15:04:56

on Christmas eve my dps come up around 3ish, we have a buffet tea, dc sprinkle reindeer food out, mince pie etc out for santa, they have a pre Christmas present off the elves (pjs) then we read the night before Christmas before they go bed. after that me and dh celebrate his birthday by watching national lampoons Christmas vacation before santa brings the presents.
christmas morning we open stockings in our bed, go downstairs and open the rest, kuds will play while dh tidies up a bit and i cook the dinner. dh then picks his nan up and we have Christmas dinner around 1.30. the afternoon is spent playing games, watching films and eating treats, turkey sandwiches for tea. dh nan goes home around 7, dc go bed around 9 and then we watch the dvd my dsis has bought us grin
boxing day is a pj day smile turkey curry in the slow cooker and lots of wine

thenewaveragebear1983 Sun 02-Oct-16 15:23:08

Christmas Eve: carols, Elf, few drinks once we've done the Santa thing and the littlest ones are in bed
Christmas Day: open presents, pork pie for breakfast (family tradition) then we go to my parents with out brood, my sister and brother and their partners (no children yet) Meal at 3,00, maybe a walk in the afternoon, buffet tea.
Boxing Day: meet dh's family, (parents, brother, sister, partners and children) at Frankie and benny's for lunch, then bowling, then back to in laws for buffet tea, presents and evening of few drinks and maybe a board game.
It's pretty much the same every year. We used to go to see Father Christmas on Christmas Eve but we now prefer to do that earlier in the month. We are hopefully moving to our new house soon so if we do before December I will have my family round on Christmas Day instead of traipsing everyone over to mum's.

OhTheRoses Sun 02-Oct-16 15:23:55

Loving all these families who get to do nothing on Boxing Day. Ours is a four day extravaganza, usually with at least two overnight guests, up to five or six overnight on Boxing Day.

elQuintoConyo Sun 02-Oct-16 16:08:40

Christmas Eve: walk on the beach or in the woods, take a torch, guess which star/aeroplane light is FC's sleigh! Home for hot chocolate. We have a Catalan log that hides presents (caga tio), which you hut with a stick while singing a song and it defacates: a new xmas dvd, Mr Man book and some chocolate. DH goes out for dinner with his family (fil, one bil, one sil) as they have done for years. DS and i snughle down to watch the dvd, read the book, have dinner etc.

Christmas Day: stockings open on our bed. Downstairs for bolied egg breakfast wuth fruity panettone on the side. Open presents. Play all day, picky lunch of cheese and crackers, some fruit. Getvdressed around 4pm. 6pm early dinner: traditional-ish Christmas meal with Fil Bil and Sil. Play games or watch Polar Express together.

Boxing Day: a whole 24 hours of sod all grin but play with toys, go for a long walk somewhere.

5th January: go and watch the 3 Kings procession and catch boiled sweets - half a carrier bag's worth last year! Go home to find they have left DS a small gift (18" Darth Vader last year, he was over the moon!).

6th January: usually invited somewhere for lunch - the in-laws' or a friend's house. Although last year we hosted.

It is really relaxing. I am in a different country to my parents, so don't have to juggle.

I love Christmas as it isn't very stressful, for us.

Philoslothy Sun 02-Oct-16 16:43:46

I adore Christmas and it is a huge deal in our house. The weekend before Christmas we go to London and buy the presents. We usually go to a pantomime, stay somewhere nice and treat ourselves.

We host every year, some relatives/ friends star stay with us - others stay locally. There are 9 of us without guests so we usually host around 20. They arrive around the 23rd and most stay until new year.

Christmas Eve we host a big party for the village children. Christmas morning we have special breakfast. We are not religious but we go to church because that is what most of the village do. We have a big meal before opening presents in the late afternoon and or early evening.

Boxing day we have an open house which I love.

We then have days of boardgames and walking until new year when we have a party for adults, children and their friends.

I love Christmas, we go totally overboard on everything from lights to food

flapjackfairy Sun 02-Oct-16 19:52:42

Secondtime your christmas sounds just about perfect to me!

BiddyPop Mon 03-Oct-16 11:08:30

Christmas Eve: If a weekday, I have to go into work for a couple of hours so DD comes too (we don't actually work that day unless something small and really urgent, there are lots of DCs floating around and they can demolish some of the mountains of chocolate!).
If we are not travelling, DH will normally then meet us for coffee, buy DD's birthday cake and any other last minute things in the city centre and then we head home.
If we are travelling, we may go on 24th so go from my work, or go before then.

When at home, we:
Rise at whatever time DD wakes and the thundering herd of elephants accompanies her down the attic stairs (no, wait, it's just her!). I usually get up with her, DH sometimes groans and rolls over but usually gets up too (we try and say the night before that it must be 7 before we rise though!).
After the stocking has been explored, DH and I have a coffee, then we organize some breakfast (something nice and festive but not too huge). Get ourselves washed and dressed nicely, out to mass and meet loads (friends and neighbours, used to meet DH's DAunt but she's moved), and then on to various visits (extended family of mine mostly).
Get back home and stick the turkey in the oven (we often pop home to get that in the oven between visits), and a tray of nibbly bits, light the fire, open a bottle of something nice, and then settle down for present opening with the nibbles.

Dinner is timed for early evening - 6ish. It's quite a relaxed evening, over eating, followed by some rubbish tv and bed.

If we travel, the start is the same (stocking, nice breakfast in the cottage as we rent at Christmastime - the 2 houses our DPs are in are too mad for a long stay that time of year, dressed and mass).
Then we go to DPILs for presents, turkey lunch, help washup.
Then we go to DPs mid-afternoon for present, turkey dinner and help washup.
Sometimes we get a bed in DPs that night so we can both enjoy a glass of wine and port with cheese, but sometimes we head back to the cottage.
Very rarely, we have time for a quick walk between both houses to help deal with the 2 turkey feasts, but that is very weather dependent and also on how timings are going in both houses.

The following day involves a long walk, wherever we are, and then DD's birthday party (leftover turkey sambos, nibbly bits, and cake).
If we are at home, all the neighbours come in at some stage and enjoy mulled wine and some nibbles, whereas if we travel, it's all our families (whoever is around) mostly together in the afternoon but some are earlier for their own travel arrangements.

Amithenormalone Mon 03-Oct-16 11:16:34

We stay home all day. I don't like to go else where. I don't do Christmas dinner as dcs won't eat it as they are always to busy with there new stuff so we just have a Christmas buffet instead. My mil pops in with granny for half an hour and my parents spend the afternoon with us. The extended family we don't see. I see my brother on boxing day for a few hours and we don't see sil at all. 2 of my dcs are sn so I try keep the festive season a quite relaxed one for them as much as possible so they enjoy it.

Notso Mon 03-Oct-16 11:59:05

We do something different every year. To me that's the key to stopping it being a chore. Although it's at our house now because there's six of us and my parents can't fit us in and PIL won't anymore. Both sets of parents live close so we still get to see everyone.

Often we have all the in-laws and a few friends or my family on Christmas Eve but last year we went to the cinema late on Christmas Eve. The kids loved it, DH and I smuggled some baileys in it was lovely.

Christmas Day depends on who is round to eat. If it's the in-laws we eat at lunch time (which I never like as much) as they have to have Christmas tea. If it's my family we eat about 6 and if it's just us then somewhere in between.

Boxing Day is either another Christmas dinner, or a turkey and ham pie depending on who is here. Sometimes we go to my parents for a long walk and a buffet. We open the presents from under the tree on Boxing Day usually too.

We often go to a Panto or similar between Christmas and New Year and DH and I have a night out for our wedding anniversary too.

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