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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

Beastofburden Fri 22-Nov-13 21:21:52

For lots of reasons we are going to have a very low key Christmas this year and actually I am really excited....

Though actually I have always been too lazy to have the second kind of Christmas OP describes.

hyenafunk Fri 22-Nov-13 21:17:17


I like to think we do it traditionally! Real Christmas tree, crazy mismatched decorations, I don't rush around shopping at all (do it all online grin). We did the carol singing already because our village does it mid November with the local light switch on. I bake everything, we do crafty bits and I don't put all of the focus on presents.

I do, however, stress out a lot sad. But I have anxiety and I think undiagnosed OCD with list making so it sends it all a bit wacky. I just panic about it all being 'perfect' and everything arriving on time etc. I'm silly though, by Christmas day I'm all relaxed.

pinkpetrol Fri 22-Nov-13 20:28:56

Ah what a lovely Mum Pixel

Pixel Fri 22-Nov-13 20:18:10

I take no notice of shops trying to hype us up early, we don't have to fall for their tricks! (I do make the cake in October though so I can feed it).
I don't really find Christmas stressful. I might have one trip into town on the bus to buy pressies but mostly I pick things up when I'm out and about getting 'normal' shopping or buy online. I've been known to make presents too.
We put our decorations up no earlier than a couple of weeks before, I can't understand people putting them up in November, don't they know they are destroying the magic?
I used to love going to the crib service on Christmas Eve but had to stop as Ds was getting very upset and it wasn't fair to ruin it for everyone (he has ASD) but this thread has made me decide to give it another go this year as he copes much better with such things now smile. Fingers crossed I don't have to take him out because I adore carols.

We always had fairly relaxed Christmases when I was young, mainly because we don't have much of an extended family to worry about (though I must admit it is more complicated now both my parents have remarried). Still, I don't doubt my mum had her own stresses to cope with. One year Sis and I got new dressing gowns, I realised what that strange noise had been late on Christmas Eve. No it wasn't Father Christmas, it was my Mum frantically trying to finish sewing two pink fleecy dressing gowns!

aintnothinbutagstring Fri 22-Nov-13 20:10:03

Whats wrong with drunken parties? I'd love to be invited to a drunken party, which as a SAH out of the loop mother of 2 under 5's is distinctly not going to happen. I will however spend from 10am christmas day in a blissful baileys fuelled haze.

Rubybrazilianwax Fri 22-Nov-13 19:41:22

I have gradually each year perfected christmas to suit us
- Firstly I shop 99% online. I have my 5 dc gifts mostly bought & nephews and nieces this way.
-I only have 1 adult on each dh and I side to buy for since I suggested kris kringle to everyone a number of years a go. Also its just lovely to receive a nice £50 gift instead of 5 £10 ones! I cannot get my head around grown up siblings all having to buy each other and their partners, who has time to shop for that?!
-For grandparents we do hotel vouchers- 1 phonecall.
-nice local butcher bones and stuffs my turkey
-I don't wrap dc santa gifts, just set them out.
-teachers get a potted poinsettia (I'm a teacher I know how parents stress over this, please don't!)
-we have an open house on one of the sundays in december. Quick text round friends and relatives inviting anyone who likes to call in at any stage on that afternoon. This sees a lot of people in one go and doesnt put pressure on people to stay, they can just drop in on way back from shopping etc
-we don't do visiting from 24th-27th or even leave the house apart from christmas eve mass. Just eat, play games and watch tv.
-I do faff about with decorating but only because I love it. Branches of holly, ivy and eucalyptus are cut from the garden though so no expense there. That combined with a stack of candles and tea lights pretty much makes the house perfectly decorated for christmas
Despite all this we have had years with burst pipes, v&d bugs, premature labour, broken boiler! It can all happen.

LetZygonsbeZygons Fri 22-Nov-13 18:56:20

me and DC just us on Christmas Eve, with our xmas dinner (European style) just a chicken thing as id prob poison us trying to cook turkey!

we spread the friends coming to tea over the advent weeks, and just put out some nibbles and xmas music in the background, me and friend have coffee and a chat and kids play in DCs room.

xmas day, church service, pop into paernts for a cuppa and then back for lunch -just me and DC- and then settle down and wait for Dr Who!!!!

bathed and xmas prezzie pjs, choccys, the lot.

cant 'do' the xmas stress, this is our tradition and so we have a quiet one every year.

im done with the gifts, about 5 for DC, plus what she gets from friends/family, I donrt need anything, im happy enough with what I have.

and yes to a dickens style xmas. chestnuts roasting on a open fire.........

SunshineMMum Fri 22-Nov-13 18:29:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Caitlin17 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:24:35

Which alternative universe outside of a Clinton card did your old fashioned Christmas exist in.

I loathe Christmas. Have done since I was a teenager.

usualsuspect Fri 22-Nov-13 18:20:16

And my Christmases are pretty much the same as when I was a child many years ago.

The presents may be different ,but everyone wanted the must have toy back in the day.

usualsuspect Fri 22-Nov-13 18:18:12

I like sparkle and booze at Christmas.

Nothing wrong with a drunken Christmas party.

PeppiNephrine Fri 22-Nov-13 18:11:53

Well either you "long" for something different or you don't. Either get on with it and enjoy and stop moaning, or change the bits you don't like.

MrsAMerrick Fri 22-Nov-13 17:46:51

the "perfect" Christmas you are describing sounds quite like ours. Christmas for me starts the Sunday beforehand, when there is the village carol service where most of the village turn out and freeze to death in our lovely medieval church then we come back, put on cheesy Christmas songs (Stop the Cavalry anyone?) and decorate the tree whilst drinking mulled wine. On Christmas eve there is a "nativity" play in the barn on a farm in the village, complete with sheep, donkeys and small children. We do stockings on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas morning we open stockings, go to Church, do lunch and then a long walk, and in the evening open "under the tree" presents and play games. And my DCs are teenagers who usually won't go near us. When they were little they we used to make ornaments, paperchains etc but we don't do that now. We don't do TV on Christmas day, or any screens of any kind.
I think it's easy to do all that, and our DCs have never moaned about it, in fact when i suggested this year that we could do Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve rather than Church on Christmas Day if they wanted to lie in they were both adamant that "that wouldn't be Christmas".
Maybe it's easier to do a more traditional type Christmas if you live in a rural area, but the "no screens" on Christmas Day is an easy one to implement. You can always start your own traditions!
Mind you, we might be unusual - a few years ago we were out walking on Christmas Day after lunch, bumped into another family we knew well who asked our DC what they had got for Christmas. When we explained we hadn't got round to opening the presents yet they were shock!

Thatisall Fri 22-Nov-13 17:34:57

OP if you're boring then so am I and I try and fail every year to have one of tee old fashioned Christmases you describe

Arabesque1 Fri 22-Nov-13 17:34:34

It's not a 'problem'. It's just the way Christmas seems to have developed in my life. Yes, of course I can just refuse to meet up with friends for meals and drinks before Christmas or to buy anyone techy type presents but I can't see that going down well. I'm just really musing generally on the way Christmases seem to have changed so much, that's all.

PeppiNephrine Fri 22-Nov-13 17:32:08

It is, if you make it. Since when were M&S canapes and drunken parties compulsory? no-one is forcing you to do this stuff, so don't.
I'm really not getting the problem.

Crowler Thu 21-Nov-13 16:45:07

Well, I quite like the drunken party part of modern Christmas.

My Christmas is either trans-Atlantic travel (stressful) to non-hub destinations (double-stress) or hosting a lot of people (stressful).

I love having kids at Christmas, though; it makes everything seem magical again.

Dawndonnaagain Thu 21-Nov-13 16:39:47

Our Christmas is like this. We do have a do with the neighbours, different house each year, each family brings something to eat and a bottle. We don't get drunk and we have been known to sing carols. We do make things for one another. It's quiet here, but I wouldn't move for all the tea in china at the moment!

gruffalosmile Thu 21-Nov-13 16:36:30

I totally agree, iif you want that sort of Christmas then make one! I tend to stay away from the shops as far as possible, our Christmas tree is a fake one and almost 20 years old, I don't bother with all this nonsense like having special pyjamas or god forbid special bedding. We like going down to the local village to see the Christmas tree lit up, and there are a few Christmas fete type things going on which I might take the kids to, but that's about it. We only have one social event over Christmas and that's with family. Otherwise we stay home and enjoy snuggling up. Santa gets a mince pie and a glass of port which I drink after the kids have gone to bed. Christmas day we space out the present opening as much as possible and always go for a long walk, whatever the weather. Christmas doesn't have to be frantic or commercialised, it's up to you!

Ragwort Thu 21-Nov-13 16:27:13

Our Christmas is like the one you describe - we go to lots of Church services & activities, help out with the homeless shelter, I organise the Christmas bazaar myself grin, hardly buy any presents, limit formal entertaining (actually we are not invited to much grin), play board games as we do most weeks anyway, watch the Queen's speech (no other TV allowed), go for walks.

I do believe there is a certain amount of Christmas martyr-like behaviour (esp. on Mumsnet) about who has the busiest, most stressful time, some of the threads about the number of gifts people buy are just so totally over the top that it is laughable - but if you tentatively suggest people cut down on the present buying you are met with 'we couldn't possibly do that' sort of comment. I am waiting for the 'I am skint' threads in January.

Just relax people, and have a very Happy Christmas. smile

nokidshere Thu 21-Nov-13 16:16:34

Lots of rosé coloured specs on here lol

I shop online whenever I see something, we only do pressies for the 4 of us and grandma. We have a fridge full of cold stuff and treats, a couple of bottles of nice Red Wine. The we close the door on Christmas Eve and don't open it again till Boxing Day - and we only get dressed if there are outdoor toys to play with.

Pure bliss and no stress at all

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 21-Nov-13 15:36:06

You have described my Christmas OP...we go to carol services and nativity...we don't splash out or get drunk AND we make ornaments and cards. Why not just do it!

Arabesque1 Thu 21-Nov-13 15:34:34

I wish it was that simple Peppi.

PeppiNephrine Thu 21-Nov-13 15:27:49

Well have one then, nothing stopping you.

pissovski Thu 21-Nov-13 15:26:04

We aim for a relaxing Christmas at Chez Ovski smile

I remember Christmas when I was at primary school (early/mid 80s) as being happy enough. Doing the Nativity play/singing carols at a residential home, putting the fake tree together (usually accompanied by the smell of gloss paint drying!), visiting relatives (old ones) seemingly all day on Christmas Eve (boring!), being ill (memorably with chicken pox age 11). Presents were probably a source of stress as not very well off, but mum and nan were good at sewing so some probably were homemade.

At secondary age I pretty much didn't like Christmas much. Lots of homework, usually ill, little excitement for the 'day itself'. Nan had died the Sept i started secondary, which left Mum pretty depressed (but not getting helped with that) and as it was her birthday on Boxing Day that made it even more difficult. We had my grandad living with us, and would have his brother in law (Mum's uncle) visiting on Christmas Day from about 3pm til 10 ish so not very relaxing or fun. No games or even being able to veg and watch TV, just having to try to make conversation and being polite (ie unable to escape).

Now I am SAHM to DS (2.6) so I am able to pick up 'Christmas stuff' whenever. DS's presents have been sorted (mix of Amazon, charity shop and supermarkets) My dad and his partner don't want pressies just cards (but I might sort a photo of them with DS maybe) IL's mostly sorted (Amazon) Nothing hi tech (mainly toys, books and dvds). Food will be easy enough and potentially cooked earlier and frozen (eg roast spuds). We will go up to MIL's (SILs and Bil there too) late morning on Christmas Day and then back to ours for lunch (ie Christmas dinner).Shop bought puds. Dad and partner are visiting us a week or so before.

No frenetic shopping, no drunken shenanigans, decorations will be on a tree (who knows what they will be!) If anyone wants to pop in they are welcome, but nothing has been planned. One year we forgot to have stuffing but we lived!!

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