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To long for an old fashioned Christmas:

(73 Posts)
Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 10:58:27

With carol services and jumble sales in aid of charity and home made presents and board games by the fire, and nativity plays in the village hall and neighbours making each other mince pies and Christmas cakes,


without drunken parties, and frenetic shopping, and trying to find parking in crowded precincts, and colour co-ordinated decorations and M&S canapes and trying to meet up with everyone in the two weeks before Christmas and hi-tech presents under the tree.

Or am I just being boring and need to realise that times have moved on and I'm probably imagining Christmases that were never really like that anyway

Bettercallsaul1 Thu 21-Nov-13 11:45:56

No, I understand exactly what you mean - basically that we enjoy the time we spend together Christmas and make it more about human interaction rather than "things". I especially like "the board games round the fire" and have lots of (fairly recent) happy memories of playing Cluedo with the children and Pictionary etc with adults at that time of year.

It's impossible stop the general commercialization of Christmas but quite possible, I think, to preserve the best bits of Christmas within your own family and really enjoy the season.

traininthedistance Thu 21-Nov-13 11:48:41

No I feel the same! What happened to the Christmases of my (seventies and eighties) childhood, where children were excited about making a snowman card out of PVC glue, cotton wool and glitter? And going carol singing and so on? I hate hate hate the materialism of it nowadays, our local shopping centre is full of billboards encouraging people to buy Swarovski-crystal-encrusted watches and so on.

Hop over to the Christmas topic OP - ignore the threads about how people are spending eleventy-million pounds on iPads for each child and compulsory boxes of pyjamas every day of Advent etc., and seek out the ones where posters get really excited about vintage 70s wrapping paper, those will cheer you up smile

Perihelion Thu 21-Nov-13 11:51:25

Christmas day wasn't a public holiday in Scotland until 1958. My mum remembers her dad going to work as normal......I quite that that idea.

CaptainTripps Thu 21-Nov-13 11:51:31

And what is this newish passion for Christmas Eve hampers all about eh? Are people mad creating all this extra hassle for themselves?

Just don't get it. It's al become far too materialistic.

Perihelion Thu 21-Nov-13 11:52:34

Like that idea..

Damnautocorrect Thu 21-Nov-13 11:55:12

Christmas Eve hampers aren't new, they've been done in my family for 30 years.

But no I totally agree, it is difficult to get the balance right

capsium Thu 21-Nov-13 11:55:45

I think the thing is when you remember childhood Christmases, it was only the nice side you were involved with. It was your parents who had to do the frenetic shopping, whilst you were elsewhere, worry about money, park etc. It was also adults who would be having the drunken parties after you had gone to bed. Although I do remember the odd tipsy relative and Mum and Dad sniggering!

cocolepew Thu 21-Nov-13 11:57:44

Sounds lovely. But I'm sure our parents still ran around trying to find the must have present, albeit an Etch A Sketch instead of an ipad. Also the Christmas dinner didn't appear by the fairies.
So really we all want to be children in the 70's again grin.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 11:58:16

One of my happiest christmases involved playing charades with dh, my mum and my two sisters. My younger sister is so hopeless at it that by the time we finished playing (four hours later) I was in actual pain from laughing. I don't get on very well with my mum and older sister so that happy memory is very precious. Gifts on the other hand I don't really care about.

cocolepew Thu 21-Nov-13 11:58:19

Xpost smile

DrankSangriaInThePark Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:10

You all need to come and reread the Zombie thread, Christmas then and now. It will make you feel all better.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:35

I cannot say how much I agree with that comment capsium. Christmas has always been frenetic and stressy for the grown-ups. My DGM used to cook for 25, you can't tell me she burst into tears halfway down the street because she'd forgotten to pick up the stuffing (or whatevs).

That said, <smug alert> I have Christmas pretty much under control. We're not lavish with gifts, so I do one day's Christmas shopping and make sure I really enjoy it. It's just the three of us for dinner so no pressure to make a massive fandango of a feast we just have a chicken and pull some crackers. The real pleasure of Christmas for me is quiet time with the family.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 12:01:38

I think it's sad the way so many women in particular get so stressed about it. My childhood christmases were quiet and relaxed and I want the same for my kids. Not a lot of pomp and sparkle just lots of food and some time to chill out.

DrankSangriaInThePark Thu 21-Nov-13 12:04:11

<passes the After Eights>

The links don't work because it's a zombie thread! But sooooo very lovely.

JoinTheDots Thu 21-Nov-13 12:04:36

I think it is possible. I am not going to go out shopping, I shall order everything online and do it on the sofa so no need to park, push past people or panic buy. A little planning and checking the Christmas bargains thread here on Mumsnet, and Bobs your uncle, done, you can even get things delivered to people direct, so no need to try to fit everyone in for a visit on the run up to the big day (just make sure you see the people you actually want to!).

I am not getting techy presents for anyone other than DH and that is because I know he will want them, DD is getting things we can do and make together, mostly. Other friends and family are getting foody gifts in the main (some even home made!).

We have no colour coordination to our dec, its lovely to have memories associated with the tat we put on the tree and lights we string about.

I am going to the WI fayre, and the village jumble sale to buy home made jam and pickle, see friends for a mince pie, and I am going to bake some sausage rolls and mince pies for the family and friends this year.

No boozy parties for me as I am preggers, so thats that one out too!

No open fire, and DD is a little young at 3 for anything more than Shopping List or Incey Wincey Spider as a board game, but I think I ticked the rest of the boxes!

You can do it too....

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 12:05:08

We had 10 people in the house for Christmas a couple of years ago and it was fine. Genuine question: what in particular are people actually stressed about?

traininthedistance Thu 21-Nov-13 12:05:10

I can honestly say hands down that the best part of Christmas as a child was totally free. My siblings and I would put on a Christmas carols LP, wrap up some of our toys as pretend presents and put them under the tree, hold a pretend carol service in a pretend church by the tree and then pretend it was Christmas Eve and we were going to bed to wait for Father Christmas. It could be played every evening in December and it was TBH more fun than anything else, perhaps more than the actual Christmas Day itself smile smile

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Nov-13 12:06:23

I almost got stressed about it yesterday. Then I remembered I have retired parents and an at home DH who will be attending Christmas with me. So on my to-do list for this afternoon is a delegation list where I ask them to take on various tasks.

I accept I'll cook Xmas dinner on my own, albeit with my sister contributing some things, and tbh I prefer not to have DM (aargh) or DH (hopeless cook) involved in that. But I'm never again putting the whole thing together as a solo effort.

MaryZygon Thu 21-Nov-13 12:07:23

I have an oldfashioned Christmas.

I get a real tree that goes up the week before, with ancient mismatched baubles and sprigs of holly on the pictures.

I don't "Christmas shop". Usually I do one early morning and a bit on Amazon. And get bits and pieces when supermarket shopping.

I get in food for one day, not for a month hmm

We go to a carols-by-candlelight service and help at an old-fashioned parish fair.

And on Christmas Day we record turn off the tv and play charades while eating boxes of roses.

NoComet Thu 21-Nov-13 12:07:49

I'm 45 and I don't think things, for parents, have actually changed that much.

We might have starry eyed, rose tinted memories, but for our parents Christmas was just as stressful and as expensive as it is now.

For my DM there was still presents to buy, her share of the food to organise, the house to decorate and the logistics of packing to go to GPs without us seeing our gifts. Her budget was very very tight and our old car was held together literally with my DDad's blood and sweat.

The only thing that has changed is how stupidly early Christmas starts.

MaryZygon Thu 21-Nov-13 12:08:12

If people would just wait a bit, and no overdo it in October, it would all be better. Basically it's a vicious circle - shops put Christmas out there, people go nuts, shops up the ante, people get more stressed ...

Just don't do it.

CloverCharm Thu 21-Nov-13 12:09:57

I totally get what you mean. Today it's all about pretty much expense and who's got what. The actual sentiment seems to be lost to materialness in most cases.

squoosh Thu 21-Nov-13 12:10:12

Christmas is only as stressful as you allow it to be. The Christmases I have now are pretty much the same as the ones I grew up with.

Gotta say though, love a drunken party, hope they don't go anywhere!

kelda Thu 21-Nov-13 12:11:21


I realy dislike the idea of trying to make Christmas Day the most perfect day of the year, from which pajamas you wake up wearing to every morsal of food you put in your mouth.

I like the way we do it here in Belgium. Saint Nicholas brings the children presents on 5/6 December, which leaves Christmas for the family to celebrate, without all the hype of loads of presents.

Also love the idea of Thanksgiving in the US where families/friends get together to share a meal and time together.

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