To ask what your 'schedule' for Christmassy day was?(25 Posts)
I was just wondering really what everyone's Christmas days composed of really? I'm feeling a bit fed up post Christmas as the day just felt a bit of a mess and I've said to DH we need some kind of structure next year! Bear with me!
So this year we had a lovely morning on our own, eldest DS (4) had the excited opening presents after discovering Santa had been. Me and DH then prepped food and started turkey, showered and dressed. Then the onslaught began!
My MIL arrived with my parents bringing sacks of presents for everyone. My parents brought a few presents DC which I had spoken to them about asking them not other to waste their money on junk and just buying a few specific items. I'm loathed to allow my DC have mountains of presents as they'd won't appreciate them! Plus I'd rather just a few things I know they want / need so gifts included socks, pjs etc.
My MIL does not listen to this advice and goes and buys loads of gifts, most of which my DS already had so we ended up taking back to shop and swapping!
Anyway as soon as they arrived my MIL just started throwing presents at DS, I don't think we'd barely said merry Christmas and presents were already open! My poor DM just sat and watched as present after present was opened, some of which duplicating hers (character slippers). I could see her heart sinking knowing that she only had one or two presents for him. I guess that's another issue really! What I didn't like was that it was all chaotic and felt really rushed and DC weren't properly able to appreciate the gifts. My Mil shoved bags for myself and DH in our direction but we decided not to open until after lunch where we tried to slow things down and offering presents one by one to individuals and not opening simultaneously.
I know it sounds ridiculous but I just wanted to know what everyone else does to really make the most of the day so we can at least plan for next year!!
I think it's your mil you need to have a word with. She does not need to bring sacks of presents.
We live a long way from either set of parents but we also deliberately try to keep them separate for occasions like Christmas and birthday. It gives both sets of grandparents a lot of pleasure to give gifts so I pretty much leave them to it. Having said that Christmas Day was for just us. Each granparent had their own day for gifting.
Is this something you could do? If mil won't stick to your request of a small number of gifts then maybe the gifts are opened on a different day. That may make her stick to what you have asked
Get up have coffee and a few presents. (Just DH and me)
10.30am DH is not well so I send him back to bed.
Mid afternoon, DH has been sleeping all day and has temperature.
Ring hospital where he is a patient for cancer. Hospital tell me to put phone down asap and call 999.
Call 999. Wait for ambulance. Arrives in 30 mins despite being told they are VERY busy.
DH goes off to A&E. I spend Christmas afternoon/evening on my own and am allowed to collect him at lunchtime on Boxing Day.
Have had better Christmases!
DD woke up at 8 (lucky us!) went downstairs opened stocking presents one at a time, stopping to play with some of them as she went. Then had tea and some nibbles put on some xmas music etc. Then opened tree presents, one at a time (the person who opened the last present chooses a present from under the tree for someone else to open). Then I put the lunch on while DD and DH started some of the huge lego kits. Had "lunch" (wasn't ready until 4:30pm). Then slumping on the sofa and watched a film (I love home alone!).
Shake it up next year and have Christmas Day to yourselves.
Your mil sounds OTT but still you and your mum knows it's not about the presents and so will your children as they get older.
Fuzzy how awful, certainly makes my moan seem pathetic!
Hope your DH is feeling better x
jelly I like your idea about after one person opens they pick the next present!
Don't think we could do a Christmas on our own, my MIL is on her own and would make us feel guilty as hell for not having her although she could go to another close relative.
I wouldn't have both sets of parents round on the same day, or at the same times, to be honest. It's just too much for little kids...all the presents and attention. My parents and sister came round on Christmas Day and then we went to DH's parent's for Boxing Day. No present rivalry and much less stress.
Last year, our Christmas was like yours and it was was utterly bonkers, especially considering we have 3 children.
This year, we did a complete about face.
Christmas Eve - saw in laws, exchanged gifts (but didn't open them), had a wonderful relaxed afternoon meal, bit of booze, brilliant music and company. Came home for kids bedtime, normal Christmas Eve routine.
Christmas Day - stockings and fancy pastry breakfast. Took the dog for a romp on the beach, everyone got fresh air, had a bottle of Buck's Fizz, kids had a massive laugh and run around. Had a light lunch, commenced a slow present opening, especially as DS1 isn't even 2 yet and can get overwhelmed. Watched a movie, played some games, about 7pm ate a chilli con carne.
Boxing Day - saw my family, did presents, much the same as Christmas Eve.
Then finally yesterday we had our big Christmas dinner - roast and all the trimmings etc. This time I could enjoy cooking knowing kids were well entertained with toys and games etc but I wasn't missing anything, no pressure at all.
It might not work for a lot of families, but it sure as hell worked for mine - the children were much better behaved, DH and I were Soooo much more relaxed, I think everyone, including extended family has a much better time as they all got quality time. God it was amazing, doing it exactly the same next year.
DD age 3 woke around 6 and opened her stocking presents on our bed. We played with some for a bit and ate chocolate coins. Family all started arriving at 8 😁 DM, DB and nephew(baby) and DF and other DB. My parents are divorced but we're ok to spend Xmas together for us kids and grandkids.
Opened all tree presents, a little chaotic as DD got loads but opened everything one at a time and taking turns 😉
Breakfast around 10, DB and nephew left at 11. Lots of playing with toys and films while DH and I did dinner. DD napped 12-1.30. Dinner at 1.30 then afternoon of toys and movie. DM left at 4. Then evening of board and card games after DD was in bed 7.30.
DF and DB left at 1030.
Kids wake up (thankfully not too early - 7.30 this year)
Come into our room and open thier stockings
We all go downstairs once all guest are awake (MIL and SIL this year)
Kids open thier father xmas presents that are in the middle of the room.
We then have breakfast and then everyone gets dressed
The kids then take it in turns to get a present from under the tree and give it to the recipient.
Means we all get to see presents being opened and spreads out the present giving a bit longer.
We then start dinner, put most of the presents into the study and open the couple of things the kids want to play with straight away.
Rest of the day is drinking, playing and eating. We played some of the new board games the kids got, played a chocolate sprout roulette game and watched a film.
Hmm, I can understand your mil not wanting to buy things your dc 'need' for Xmas presents. No child is interested in getting socks, undies and pj's for Xmas. Maybe if you gave mil some ideas for fun things they wanted she wouldn't go as mad.
Christmas schedule was Dd woke at 6, opened presents then had breakfast
Morning - visited dh parents and exchanged presents then on to my family for present exchange. Quick visit to pub before lunch at my parents. Back to our house in pm for drinks, buffet etc
Ours changes a lot (blended family so arrangements differ every year). But there are generally some presents on Xmas Eve night (between immediate family or at least the ones staying in the house that night) some on Xmas day morning (Santa) and some later on Xmas day (from visitors / people we're with for lunch). I think this works pretty well. I agree that I don't personally enjoy the chaos of all presents in a v short period of time, and didn't even as a kid, it's too overwhelming.
If you can't control the ILs, save some of your own presents for later on Xmas day.
Loving all these ideas, thank you!!
XiCi don't worry I'm not a totally boring mum, I did include proper toys too that my DS had specifically asked for which my DM bought for him and he was delighted with. MIL bought duplicates of things we already had, well actually where we had the originals she'd bought the b&m fake cheaper versions . I would of rather she spent the same money on one think DS didn't have and actually wanted - I don't want her wasting money on junk
Schedule, youngest dd 17!! Woke us all up at 9am.
Your key is to set the agenda if you are hosting.
So, what do you want out of your day?
For US, main things are
Presents from Santa (only want that to be us core family)
Presents to and from us (only want that to be us core family)
We regularly have 4 or more Christmas days (not all on Christmas Day, obvs), but some can accommodate more than one on the same day
This is because of big family.
So hang on to: It DOESN'T all HAVE to be on 25th Dec and also ANYTHING you host you can control and finally - you have the RIGHT to state essentials that are just you and your DP and your DC.
This is doable without causing upset to anyone.
Hope you have a better one next year.
Dcs woke at 6:30 and we went down to see if Santa had been. He had, so they opened their sacks.
We had breakfast about 7:30 and played with new things. Turkey in at 8:30. Then we got showered and dressed.
We opened all the presents under the tree then in laws arrived with more presents.
They left then my brother arrived at about 12:30 and we had lunch at about 1:30.
We were all stuffed by the time the meal was over so we watched the BFG then we played some games. Brother left about 7:30. We watched the Bear Hunt and then put the dcs to bed.
I think perhaps to a certain extent you can't control how all aspects of Christmas Day goes when other adults are spending the day with you.
You say you know your MIL isn't going to reduce the number of presents and the kind of presents she buys for her grandchildren (and even though it annoys you I guess that's up to her). You know she is going to be with you on Christmas Day. So maybe change the organisation of it?
Sounds like it would be good to stagger the arrival of the grandparents, having your MIL arrive before your mother so she can do her giving the children a million presents thing without your mum looking on and feeling uncomfortable. Arrange to be busy in the kitchen yourself while this bit of the day happens. Have a huge bag to put the gifts straight into so you can sort what to do with them later easily.
Or even more revolutionary - choose not to let it bother you. Rehearse in your own head that this bit of the day will be happening but then it will be over.
I truly hope you can let it go - you have a much greater chance of success of changing your own reactions to it than you do your MIL's actual behaviour. And when you look at it, she's not doing anything unpleasant to your children. She's trying to be really nice to them, in her way (which I appreciate isn't yours).
IMO it seems like such a shame to focus on the bit of the day that bothers you, especially if the rest of your Christmas Day is nice!
This year we were at home: we had my parents over on Christmas Eve. Nibbles / cheese and biscuits for light lunch, then to a christingle
Service then back to ours to open a couple of presents with our 2 year old then dinner (slow cooker on for braised beef and cranberry and pre-prepped veg, all very easy).
Christmas Day, DS up at 5.50... so stocking presents and a little play in bed. Then up to make Christmas morning muffins, most of the tree presents - one at a time - and stopping to play then out for a walk to local pond which then became nap time! Back home to put Christmas dinner in oven then ate when ds woke up. Opened big present of a train set which kept him entertained whilst we watched frozen! Bed for ds then DH and I watched festive tv
the apprentice and an early night for us too.
Boxing Day: Seaside trip to DH family. SIL for morning, PIL for Christmas lunch, presents from them then into town to meet friends at a family (ish) pub.
This format was pretty good!
if not quite as good as skiing last year
Mil likes us to open presents one at a time and randomly. We are a large family (PILs four children, two spouses, two grandchildren), and she buys multiple presents per person. Now we are at my house I have a bit more control. Presents after lunch. The younger members of the family give out what they have bought first, so theirs is not lost in the multitude. So we each receive a present from GC1 and open it before DC2 gives theirs out, then on to each of the BiLs etc.
Mass present giving is annoying and selfish, rather than generous as the giver assumes. It is about a love of shopping and a need to be seen as provider of all good things! Grumble grumble...
You could start brainwashing her now in time for next christmas. Get gparents to buy experience gifts, contributions to bank accounts, premium bonds etc. My dm now puts money in my dc account for their future rather than buying more dispoable tat. Theatre tokens are good as you can book a show for later in th year when money is a bit tight.
No child is interested in getting socks, undies and pj's for Xmas.
Umm, my 3yo was utterly overjoyed with two sets of Paw Patrol PJs and matching slippers and socks from a relative. She was given obscene amounts of toys from grandparents (for which we are very grateful but somewhat overwhelmed) but I've barely been able to get her out of the PJs.
Loving all these ideas, don't get me wrong I shouldn't moan about the generosity of GP and their gifts but DS is 4 and DD is less than 1 so they really don't appreciate the volume of presents and DS has been playing with one or two toys continuously since Christmas Day and completely forgotten about all the extras. I forgot to add my DM and DF provide us with a financial gift to be put in bank accounts for DGC so they will make use of the money when they are older and need it, hence only a few small gifts on the day. MIL could do the same and DS would still love the couple of gifts he receives.
I know toys are relatively cheaper nowadays but as I mentioned in my OP I don't want my DC with more toys than they know what to do with, it feels like such a waste.
I think for next year I'll definitely have a better structure for when we give them out. After lunch feels like a much better time. DC will still be playing with gifts from Santa before then and will give everyone time to get settled before we open gifts - I'll keep working on the MIL
If your MIL is buying duplicate gifts, maybe next year you could tell her what you and your own mum are intending to buy in advance? That way, even if she does buy shed-loads of tat, it will be tat that doesn't duplicate things your kids have already got.
My mum loves buying presents. We don't have kids but although we always tell her not to go mad and that one present each for me and DP is fine, she ALWAYS gets us bits and pieces in addition to things we've asked for. These things are generally really nice, but always include a couple of stocking fillers that are a waste of her money and which we'll get no use out of. I've come to the conclusion that she gets so much pleasure from buying them that she can just get on with it, really.
When I was a kid my grandparents used to drop off Christmas presents before the day, so we could open then first thing with our other gifts before they arrived for lunch - obviously that must have meant they didn't get to see us open them, but it didn't seem to bother them and may well have saved a bit of awkwardness if there were duplicate gifts etc.
I have to say that I think 'structure' is very difficult when you've got two sets of doting grandparents, excited kids and a dinner to prepare for everyone - I do know what you mean about the chaos and presents being dished out immediately with no plan, but don't beat yourself up about it; it's always going to be a bit a crazy when you're hosting I think.
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