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What has changed that I haven't gotten the memo?

(58 Posts)
BiddyPop Tue 20-Dec-16 11:44:46

When I was small, Christmas was about Baby Jesus being born, and all the family coming together. Yes there were presents and decorations and outings and Santa and all that too. But the focus was mostly on family and some on Church.

Nowadays, Christmas is all about the children and presents. If you don't have small DCs, it seems as though you don't matter. Everything must be aimed around the children and their timetable - no waiting for communal opening of presents after lunch or whenever the agreed time is. The DCs are allowed to run around underfoot while certain adults are working hard to get the meal ready but you can't give out to those DCs as "its Christmas and all about the DCs and they are enjoying their new toys". Nor are you allowed to have a quiet chat as adults in 1 corner without those DCs pulling out of you and their parents being upset if you ignore them for 5 minutes to finish the conversation they interrupted.

Alcohol has always been part of it. But it seems like you are now expected to have buck's fizz or even prosecco with breakfast and keep going all day and long into the night. This having followed wild nights out on multiple occasions in the run up. If you don't participate in everything, you are "an old spoilsport" or worse.

Asking for a quiet afternoon at some point over the short break, when its been a busy year and festive season which has utterly exhausted you, is verboten as "it's Christmas, we need to see you!" - having seen me yesterday and tomorrow and the day after that. And also bearing in mind I have to fit in the other side of the family at some point before getting back home to our house. And fit in a few friends and other family when we do get back home.

Expectations for presents have risen exponentially - and extortionately. Between the marketers thinking that you should spend £100 on a phone for your friend, or £,000s on a watch or diamonds for your OH, and teens and younger adults expecting that you will cough up the good stuff.

Or the opposite - when one group turns around 6 days before Christmas to say that they have organized a completely different arrangement to usual (and a communal gift from them) when you have already purchased and possibly even wrapped the 15 individual gifts for them!

Is it just me, am I getting old, or has Christmas changed so much over the past - not even 20 years, or 10, I think it's the past 4/5 years.

Too scared to put this in AIBU, but fully expecting to be flamed.

Gardencentregroupie Tue 20-Dec-16 11:52:23

Your Christmas sounds nothing like mine. Perhaps you know some very ill mannered adults and children? Though we never waited until after lunch to open presents. That sounds a bit miserable.

TheMasterMurderedMargarita Tue 20-Dec-16 11:54:49

I think it very much depends on you.
I'm interested to know how old you are.
I agree to some extent about the consumerism but you don't have to participate in that at all if you don't want to.
Lots of people don't ever do church.
In my case Christmas has always been for children but not to the extent you describe.
And the drinking all day has never been part of it.
I buy most of our gifts before December and buy gifts I think people would like to receive rather than spending ££.
We go to church on Christmas Eve, something instigated by my daughter and it's now our family tradition.
Christmas day is very low key with only close family. But I am lucky that I don't have to traverse the country to see them. Lots of people have to travel.
And lots of people don't get much time off so cram as much eating/ drinking/going out into December as possible using Christmas is a good excuse.

Drivingmadness Tue 20-Dec-16 11:57:44

40 years ago Christmas with my family, was what you being the Christmas of the last 5 years.
I personally hate Christmas anyway but luckily no family nearby, so yes, it's just about the kids opening some presents, and food.

SmilingButClueless Tue 20-Dec-16 12:01:15

It's not just Christmas. Children seem to be given much higher priority for most things than when I was a child. And excessive alcohol consumption seems to have become the norm more generally.

I don't think the world is set up for people who want a more quiet, peaceful and low-key life.

I think all the reality / lifestyle shows have a lot to answer for...

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:03:06

I do agree with you about the 'Christmas message' but in reality, Christmas is about family, social time, treating our children, spending time together. Dh off work, doing crafts and baking with the children, going for walks to see the lights, treat food and drinks with family and friends. I love giving presents to my kids and family, and it's nice to receive gifts of treats that I wouldn't buy myself.
I don't go to church, I wouldn't go just because it's Christmas. Our family Christmas is as much about the magic of Father Christmas as it is about baby Jesus, a character from a book I have never read and don't believe in.
I know of people from all faiths and non religious who actively celebrate Christmas and they have every right as do I to celebrate with their family and enjoy the season.

MargaretCabbage Tue 20-Dec-16 12:05:07

Our Christmas has never been about Jesus or church. It's about family coming together and having a good time, eating loads and exchanging (inexpensive but thoughtful) gifts. The children are usually well behaved. Our Christmas is much the same as it's always been, and I don't recognise your version.

NerrSnerr Tue 20-Dec-16 12:08:25

Your Christmas experience doesn't sound like mine at all. It sounds like you don't like the people you spend it with, or at least you don't like how they do Christmas. Everyone is different and want different things from their day. If I were you I'd have a different Christmas, spend it with who I want, doing things I want.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Tue 20-Dec-16 12:11:27

I've never done the religious bits you describe. Mum and dad weren't particularly religious I'm really not.

We've put a £20 limit on adult presents (went a bit over for my mum & dad).

If my kids get under my feet while I'm carrying boiling hot liquids in the kitchen they will be told where to bugger off to.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 20-Dec-16 12:14:15

Oh dear, didn't you get the memo 4 years ago, BiddyPop ? Christmas is now a frenzy for the whole of December and you must spend far too much, eat and drink like it's going out of fashion and fall out with most of your family over presents. grin

I think you're brave to have a moan, I'm sure there are lots of people that'd agree with you. Hope you feel better for getting it off your chest. flowers

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 20-Dec-16 12:14:58

I must admit the 'it's all about the DC' and 'Christmas is just for DC' lines that I see trotted about annoying.

Lindy2 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:15:38

Christmas is what you make it. Your Christmas doesn't sound very much like mine.
I do focus on my children as I enjoy that. But unless you want to spend loads on presents, drink a lot, see people etc. just say no thanks. You should get some day in what your Christmas is like.

AddToBasket Tue 20-Dec-16 12:20:04

You sound resentful OP. Do you have DC and what ages are they?

Of course Christmas is about family - and that includes children! And of course it will be more focussed on their timetable as they can't make their own arrangements. You sound a bit sidelined - and at the same time resentful when people do want to invite you.

I'm afraid I think you are too negative about this, you have over-romanticised the past.

mycatwantstokillme1 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:20:37

your christmas is nothing how mine have ever been!

mouldycheesefan Tue 20-Dec-16 12:21:49

You sound very passive, like Christmas happens to you and you have no control over it. In reality you make your own choices as to who to spend time with and what you do. You are choosing to spend Xmas in a way that actually you don't enjoy. Make a different choice, have the Christmas you want. You don't have to visit anyone if you don't want to.
Be more assertive on you own behalf " no thank you" is a useful phrase.
The memo you missed is 'you are an adult. Make your own xmas choices'

mycatwantstokillme1 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:22:26

And I'm sorry but the title of your thread made me cringe!

ZaZathecat Tue 20-Dec-16 12:25:57

I expect you'll get called Grinch etc. but I have to admit I feel a bit like that too. It's probably related to how life is going anyway (a bad year).

Gowgirl Tue 20-Dec-16 12:30:07

Sounds a bit odd to me, we have my family here Christmas eve morning (all working over Christmas so driving up early and leaving in time for evening shifts) I will then clear the debris and go to the crib service with the dcs, back for dinner, baths and the snowman and in bed by 8.
Then I will arrange the tree presents, stuff stockings and probally share a bottle of wine and something nice to eat with dh before meeting friends for mass, will plant stockings and lock living room door on my way to bed.

Christmas morning will be bedlam (3dcs) and after opening presents and breakfast I shall probably have a weak g&t, while assembling toys.

Dh cooks dinner and it would be nice to get a walk in somewhere but it wont be as full on as you describe. I'm looking forward to call the midwife though grin

FaFoutis Tue 20-Dec-16 12:30:18

It's probably you who changed. You sound very bitter.

My christmas is nothing like that and it's so much better than it was when I was a child.

FairyAnn Tue 20-Dec-16 12:39:54

My Christmas has never been about religion. We focus on good food, fun and family.

As another poster has said, Christmas is what you make of it.

Don't like it? Change it! smile

TheGruffaloMother Tue 20-Dec-16 12:41:47

Christmas has never been a religious festival for me (I'm 28). It's always been about family and, to an extent, showing our appreciation of each other through generosity. So we do spoil each other, firmly playing in to the consumerism of it all I suppose. Children get spoilt too but don't run around feral as it sounds like in your OP. They're expected to behave.

I do get your point though. For me, family is what Christmas is about. For the last 3 years I've had an awkward situation with a friend where she absolutely insists on buying DD a gift despite me telling her she shouldn't. I then have to buy for her 2 kids or risk really offending her. (This particular friend thinks very simplistically...buying presents for people is nice, therefore it's something she feels she should do.) I really dislike that feeling of obligation and it always takes a bit of shine off the run up to Christmas because every year I end up having a mad dash getting last minute gifts for her children out of money I can ill afford to lose.

user1471470316 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:49:07

"You sound very passive, like Christmas happens to you and you have no control over it"

Have a think about what sort of Christmas you would like - and then work out ways to make that happen. Only you can decide how much compromise you then want to factor in to fit in with the wishes of the people around you.

lovelearning Tue 20-Dec-16 12:49:16

Expectations for presents have risen exponentially - and extortionately.

... making Christmas more stressful for many people.

EssentialHummus Tue 20-Dec-16 12:51:44

Not Christian but get roped into Christmas every year.

To my mind, Christmas now has become excessive - in food, expectations, gifts, spending, and probably a few other things besides. I don't understand how anyone, adult or child, can cope with it all, let alone derive pleasure from it.

As a child we spent every year at a family friend's house, where the highlight for me was getting a little gift (usually a book or some pencils), and being allowed to put a biscuit on the family dog's nose for him to "catch". When I think about this now, it's not "Oh poor me, only one cheap present" - I remember a fun, low-stress time with family and friends.

I'd hate today's children to grow up thinking Christmas must be over the top.

purpleflower23 Tue 20-Dec-16 12:53:50

I don't think the world is set up for people who want a more quiet, peaceful and low-key life.

SmilingbutClueless - this is the best thing I've read for ages. Agree wholeheartedly.

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