Just us for Christmas(20 Posts)
Hello all! God I love this thread! So my story is we are used to big Irish Christmases visiting family loads of people calling and visiting enough food and drink to feed half of Dublin!! But ...... we just moved to the uk myself Dh and the kids, it'll be our first Christmas away from home and am kinda sad! It'll be just the 4 of us! How can I make it like the Christmas of the past!
As we are only in May and Christmas is months away, I am guessing this is really worrying you. Can you go back to Ireland for Christmas?
Carry on any traditions you had back home and add some of your own, even little things make it fun for your family
OP, I think no matter what you do, if you are used to a fabulous big family Christmas with a supporting cast consisting of a bunch of gannets who can put away enough to feed half of Dublin then you are never going to be able to re-create it in a hundred years. Instead, you are going to have to find a new way of doing things that takes in the fact a turkey crown will now last you for days and wont be something one of your cousins eats standing up at the fridge whilst waiting for a kettle to boil.
Change is hard, I know, but from experience I think you have to turn this around and not lament your old style of Christmas, instead, you have to get excited about a new way of doing things without a cast of 100's.
Im sorry if thats not what you wanted to hear.
Thanks ladies! Yep it's on my mind as it's only time of year for us to go all out! My little boy actually brought it up yesterday! Didn't think much of it before! We will have a grand Christmas here and make some new traditions and ways! Just on a smaller quieter version!
Unfortunately we can't go home for xmas due to our business but we will make the best of what we can here!
How old are your DC?
We've gone through loads of different Traditions from when they were babies/toddlers then older.
From having my parents to stay (and they'd take the DC to the park while I set the table) to a couple of Christmases ago when I sat in A&E after DMum had a fall and an Ambulance was sent and we realised that they really couldn't travel to us
A bit different last couple of years, I've gone to see them over New Year/early January.
How old are your DC, we'll think of some ideas
I think you can have a lovely family Christmas with your own traditions.
It's only May, have you thought of inviting anyone over perhaps just for Christmas lunch. An Irish friend of mine used to hold Christmas morning drinks and a few nibbles for the neighbours. It was fab,very all used to enjoy it.
We thought we might be on our own for Christmas last year and we made all sorts of plans for a lovely relaxed family day.
The kids were rather disappointed when their grandparents decided to fly out for Christmas although obviously we didn't mention that to them!
The Grandparents had such a nice time that they are already planning to come back this year. DC are doing quite a good job of faking enthusiasm.
it will be lovely. Start making some traditions that are just yours. Talk about how lovely it will be to wake up in your own house. Host an xmas eve party for all your friends or even just another family (we did this for years) or invite people over to share xmas dinner with you - doesn't have to be family to be fun. Our best christmases were one where the kids were really little and we invited 2 families with kids the same age (toddlers) over - I still laugh out loud when I look at that video. Other great one was when we invited friends (jewish/atheist) over with their grandfather and small kiddies. Again, great fun.
We do normally go to family for the past few years but this year we didn't (my three are teens now). Didn't have the usual stray brothers in law staying either. I was a bit worried it would be muted but it was one of the nicest we have had. We went to church, went for a walk in the woods with the dog, ate lovely food together, opened some small silly presents in front of the fire, watched a movie. It was lovely. You'll be fine.
We had a 'just the 4 of us' Christmas two years ago. It was great! Lots of relaxing, playing with toys. We stayed home, ate, drank and watched some Christmassy tv.
It will be different and you can make it lovely, perhaps with some beautiful country walks if the weather is good, and discuss together a new tradition that you could start - eg ice skating, some kind of craft project whatever it is that you would love and would feel special.
We have alternating "big family Christmas" and the totally insane thing of keeping 2 Mammies happy by eating one's turkey lunch and the other's turkey dinner (MUST remember to wear clothes with a forgiving waistband!!!). And some years manage a quiet Christmas of (mostly) "just us 3" at home.
We haven't had a Christmas at home for a few years due to family circumstances, and wider family have passed away or divorced etc since so a few visits we used to make after mass are no longer on the cards. But we are planning a Christmas at home this year.
Wake up to a nice breakfast (and DD gets to enjoy her stocking).
Head out to mass - need to get there early as parking is a bit mad Christmas morning.
We're actually planning on earlier mass this year, as DD and I are thinking about doing the "Christmas Day Swim" locally (Salthill rather than 40 foot!).
Normally, we follow mass with a visit to DH's Aunt (she has now moved to an apartment, and goes to her DD for Christmas now she's a widow), then my DAunt (was DGrandparents - but since their deaths, DAunt has been making it a very grown up event so we are contemplating going another time), and then another DAunt after putting our turkey in the oven (but she is now divorced - I have no idea what she will do yet, its still very new, but we may have visitors ourselves this year).
We usually try to have a walk as well on the pier (although swimming may be sufficient exercise!).
We get the turkey into the oven, and throw in a few nibbles while we prep the rest and light the fire. Once the house is sorted and dinner organized and cooking, we have a glass of something, a plate of nibbles and start opening presents. Which is generally a relaxed and fun hour or more, with occasional checks on the oven.
We also make our phonecalls to family then.
We do set the table with tablecloth, flowers, crackers etc - it is still Christmas even if only 3 people (we had a couple of years when it was just DH and I, and we still did that). And we normally cook a proper turkey and all the trimmings meal, but leaving out anything we won't eat - so no bread sauce but loads and loads of gravy!
We generally play a board game while waiting for the dinner to finish.
Eat dinner, tidy up and then relax watching a movie or something for another while before DD goes to bed.
We don't normally stay up all that late as Christmas Eve can be a late one getting organized, and DD's birthday is 26th so I have to be up baking cakes etc in the morning. When we stay at home, we normally have an "open house" type thing in the afternoon of 26th for family and friends and neighbours, which is generally quite relaxed, nibbles and wine and chat. DD has her cake in the late afternoon with whoever is there at that point.
For us, it's not all about the 1 day of Christmas Day, but trying to make the whole season nice. Christmas Day itself is the day we try to relax a bit more and have some time at home - because we are constantly on the go and not in the house.
Ooh Biddy your day sounds absolutely lovely !
We still have extra things in so there are special treats for Christmas, and more of things we normally like but tend to ration. So plenty of biscuits, fresh fruit to nibble, nuts, chocolate etc. Fizzy drinks for DD. Nice wine for us. Mince pies and hot chocolate for mid-afternoons.
There is plenty for us and any visitors that pass. But we don't have mountains of food that will take us weeks to wade through the leftovers. So we do get a whole turkey but a smaller one, and EITHER a ham or a spiced beef, not both. A piece of smoked salmon rather than a whole side.
But we can also do things that we couldn't do if everyone was there - like pomegranate seeds over turkey curry. Like our favourite ham and stilton gratin for a dinner maybe 27th or 28th. Like rolling out a Jus-rol pack of fresh croissants for breakfast. Or squeezing oranges for juice - I couldn't do that for 16 people or my hand would fall off!
And we don't have to spend hours peeling potatoes or veg for the massive feast - its a much less arduous job that we share (and get most done on Christmas Eve as well).
In fact, on Christmas Eve, I peel veg while DD makes cookies for Santa. We always have a half a batch of dough in the freezer just in case we don't have time (it can just be sliced and baked) but she likes to make them from scratch that afternoon.
It's those little things that make it special for us!
I am beginning to dread it this year though i am normally a christmas fanatic as i rashly booked a large cottage and invited my sister and family before realising that my married daughter cannot get time off and they will not be with me at all unless she gets a couple of days to visit later in the week. Last christmas she worked all day but i did see her for a few mins but this will be first one completely without her. It has underlined to me that it is the end of an era. She is making her own family (which is as it should be ) and there is no mistaking that she doesnt need me now and she is all grown up!
To make it worse youngest daughter is now loved up with her first boyfriend and i am swiftly becoming surplus to requirements there as well.
I shouldnt really complain as i have a grown up son and a fc aged 11 and a 3 yr old adopted son at home so not exactly an empty nest so i know i am being ridiculous but i cant shift the nostalgic feeling that christmas will never be quite the same again!
Pathetic i know!
Ps ignore previous post as i have already moaned on about this on here once already. Note to self to pull socks up!
Flapjack (and FightinIrish and others!),
Christmas doesn't always have to stay the same. Traditions are great, and there are some things we still do that we did growing up (or even when DF was growing up - we have a West Cork tradition of the Christmas Candle in the window). But there are many things that have changed as families grow and evolve themselves, so traditions need to evolve around that reality.
as I said above, I no longer go to 1 DGPs house as, since they died, my DAunt has made it very much an adult gathering. And my other DGM used to stay with her other DD locally to me, but DGM has now died as well and DAunt is finalizing a divorce. So we will have far less visiting to do this year (although we may be hosting for the first time ever).
As my DSiblings and I have reached adulthood, some travel home for Christmas while others stay where they live (mostly overseas, and me some years!). Those who go home, still put out their socks for FC - in their early 40s. But they also have friends coming over on Christmas Day as well as DM/DFs friends. (And there is now a tradition of at least 1 alcohol fuelled row or underlying tension to end the night).
If you want things to work nicely, sit down yourself, and then with the family, to decide what is important to you for Christmas. The Day and the season as a whole. How can you keep what people like, and incorporate things people would like to do that you don't do now (used to or never did). Then make your plans to have at least some of those happen - making certain foods ahead of time, having a log fire in your requirements for booking a cottage, arranging work shifts for people to be off.
And things that you can't control - like DD working on the day - how can you make that negative work better for you? Can you send her a hamper with some treats that you will also be enjoying on the day, to know you are all still eating the same thing or listening to the same music even if apart? Or organize another day that is "Christmas Day" when she is not working - do a nice meal (even another turkey if you want) and presents that day? Or arrange to all attend something festive as a family, before or after Christmas - a carol service, panto, Christmas fair, circus, long hike in the hills......something that your family would enjoy and see it as special.
I am kinda hoping that, someday before I retire, some of either DH or my family may actually agree to do Christmas Dinner somewhere other than our DPs homes or their own (most too far away to host others or too close to "home" to be able to either go away or host in defiance of a matriarch!) - none of our DPs (3 of them, all just around 70 and pretty fit and healthy too) would agree to moving now, although my DPs used to travel "back home" until I was about 6!
Yes Biddy you are quite right. I find change v hard and am hopelessly nostalgic over all things family related but i have no choice other than to embrace it and you have to let them go. I dont want to be an interfering mother or mil.
I will take your advice and think about new traditions as we move into the era of independant kids and maybe grandchildren .
And my cottage has a real log burner and a hot tub so that will definitely be a first for christmas day.
Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas and thoughts x
there is no mistaking that she doesnt need me now and she is all grown up!
You always need your mum. I'm 43 and I don't know what I'd do without mine! Wishing you, although it's far away atm, a very merry Christmas.
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