OTT Christmasses - let's fight back!
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 09:50
I have discovered an interesting thing. If you tell the kids Santa has been and unleash them on their presents and chuck them a selection box they are just as happy (if not happier!) than the Christmasses when you grind yourself into the ground and end up in tears.
What can you drop from your Christmas to make life easier and enjoy the day more?
I DO love Christmas, but I think it should be more fun for Mums.
Who's with me?
abacucat · 09/10/2018 12:29
Just bought seats to see The Nutcracker though as I love it. And always go to a carol concert at our local church with friends. Buy parents a present, but just give money to nieces and nephews - they are teenagers so prefer this. DP and I have agreed not to buy and presents and he buys presents for his side of the family. So pretty easy.
LittleRedWagon1 · 09/10/2018 12:30
I really hope my DC do have happier memories around Christmas than I do from my childhood. I sometimes feel like I'm failing them, especially when I see the amount of presents some of my family get their kids. I then realise how much nicer it is when I don't have to nag the kids to find space in their rooms for the sheer amount of stuff that they get for Christmas, unlike my family
DogInATent · 09/10/2018 12:32
What can you drop from your Christmas to make life easier and enjoy the day more?
- Travelling. It's the worst time of year to travel by road, rail or plane, so why do it?
2. Other people. It's a great time for immediate family to have together, on their own with perhaps a few really close friends. The in-laws and out-laws are available for the rest of the year.
notacooldad · 09/10/2018 12:33
I don't do Secret Santa and this year, instead of my co-workers thinking I'm a miserable beggar, they've decided not to do it either
Oh that's a step too far for me!
We didn't have one last year as we were going through some uncomfortable changes and a lot of stuff was happening and our team meeting before Christmas was a bit weird. Even last week someone was moaning that we didn't do it!
To be fair we have a tenner limit but everyone puts a bit of thought in it and there's a rule of no tat!
At least it brightens up a meeting!
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 12:34
I buy pre-prepped everything for Christmas dinner.
Dinner when it's ready - no fixed time. We aren't having visitors.
We buy token gifts.
Only send half a dozen cards to people we are actually in touch with.
We choose a movie in advance for Christmas day on digital download (not watching whatever rubbish the TV offers us up).
Nice food for 24-26 December, then back to normal.
We've made up a playlist of Christmas songs we actually like to listen to.
I call abroad relatives for Christmas and have a good chat.
Lydiaatthebarre · 09/10/2018 12:35
I have also cut out the mad dashing around the city centre and overcrowded shopping centres during December. I buy as much as I can in local shops. I also give people a list of books I want for Christmas. It means I have lots of new stuff to read in dark, gloomy January and people are not spending lots of money on stuff I will never use or wear.
I have started to focus more on things like carol concerts, nativity plays and doing a bit of Christmas baking and less on going to packed pubs and over priced restaurants. That has really put some of the heart back into Christmas for me.
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 12:36
I really hope my DC do have happier memories around Christmas than I do from my childhood. I sometimes feel like I'm failing them, especially when I see the amount of presents some of my family get their kids
No way are you failing them! There's something wrong in our society when we conflate love with spending money. No way! Please never think that.
notacooldad · 09/10/2018 12:38
1Travelling. It's the worst time of year to travel by road, rail or plane, so why do it?*
Not necessarily! We flew to Australia on Christmas Day and saved £650 EACH compared to flying a few days earlier or later. As I was paying for 6 people that was a considble saving and I would travel at that time again! Well approximately a £5000 saving!
poorbuthappy · 09/10/2018 12:38
We are scaling back on the pressies this year - partly because of expensive school trips and because we can't afford it all.
I am going to be concentrating on "time". Less tv, more board games, Wii U games all together in 1 room just being a family.
We also have guests for Christmas dinner and a small gathering for christmas night (which is now a tradition amongst our friends) and people know to bring their own drink and nibbles.
I am simply not going to worry or stress or compare this year.
And it's going to be great.
abacucat · 09/10/2018 12:40
Judge what is important for your kids. One in our family likes lots and lots of things to unwrap, but will only actually use a few things. So we wrap up some carefully chosen presents - a few - and then wrap up a lot of other things such as a can of coke, a bar of chocolate, a few practical things. As long as she gets the few things she really wants and will use, she doesn't actually care too much what is in the other presents. She just likes lots to unwrap.
thenewaveragebear1983 · 09/10/2018 12:46
This year we’re scaling back (never went mad anyway really, but this year are cutting down on the extras. Firstly, I’m not even going to begin thinking or preparing anything until December (that includes crafts, making cards, planning recipes or menus etc). I am certain that ‘Christmas mania’ costs a lot. I have a friend who is already trying out the recipes for her ‘North Pole breakfast’ on Dec 1st.
Secondly, and the family don’t know this yet, but we’re not inviting them for Christmas dinner! It will be just us (me, Dh and dcs), and as a result I’m not doing a gargantuan dinner (just a normal roast) and won’t need all the extras and all the modifications for fussy/allergic people.
I absolutely love Christmas, but I want that quiet, simple feeling this year and not all the chaos, packaging, activities and cost.
notsurewhatshappening · 09/10/2018 12:46
I find the long build up really annoying so am currently avoiding supermarkets (I do anyway to be fair, love a food delivery and Amazon for everything else) and live TV for the adverts.
Both my DCS have autumn birthdays so we buy them the bare minimum. No Xmas eve boxes or Xmas pyjamas. Advent calendar is an old fashioned one that my mum buys.
I will choose a theatre show to take them to and will look at the pretty decorations at a few national Trust places etc. But I'm avoiding the school fair. We have rented a cottage for 5 days over the actual period with my very sensible and minimalist parents. Simple roast dinner, films, bracing walks etc. No tat or faffing around with pointless stuff.
Skyejuly · 09/10/2018 12:47
Im sick of the build up and waste too. Its shocking.
Things I have changed over years:
Chicken or Ham as no one even likes Turkey.
Stopped stockings full of plastic crap and sweets.
No need for new Jammies on Xmas eve.
Mind you i hate being in same routine, I like to change things and not stick to traditions.
We stopped buying for sisters/brothers/nephews. Just parents and kids.
No food just because its christmas. No bowls of nuts that no one eats!
Not buying things just because they are xmas themed.
Sooooo much more enjoyable.
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 12:51
Secondly, and the family don’t know this yet, but we’re not inviting them for Christmas dinner! It will be just us (me, Dh and dcs), and as a result I’m not doing a gargantuan dinner (just a normal roast) and won’t need all the extras and all the modifications for fussy/allergic people
This is why it's so good to think about cutting back early (like now) that way if you want to make big changes everyone gets fair warning and you don't find yourself locked into something you don't want "because everyone else has made arrangements".
Good luck with your plans and well done.
makingmiracles · 09/10/2018 12:51
We usually spend Xmas day in a slight sense of panic, or rather, I do as I normally cook Xmas dinner for 9, plate up 3 in foil trays then after a quick kitchen clean up were in the car for 45 mins to my mums.
This year Mum is starting to convert back to jehova so decided that we can’t celebrate on Xmas day, sounds horrible but I was secretly glad as ive been doing the mad panic day for the last 7/8 yrs and this year we can relax at home, bliss! I will be doing Xmas dinner for 10 instead a few days before Xmas and I don’t mind that at all.
After a dinner disaster last year with some off meat, we had Chinese Xmas eve, so def carrying that on as it saves me time and mess when I need to be wrapping last minute bits or whatever!
I don’t quite happily try and downsize Xmas gifts, the kids budget alone Is £700 incl stocking, I don’t feel I can cut that though, a throwback to my disfunctional upbringing of having very little and presents being taken away after Xmas for no apparent reason. I over compensate now with my lot but it make sure me happy and they don’t get loads through the year.
In regards to relatives, most get smallish presents anyway £5-10 but there are just lots of them, I have a few people who have a decent budget such as Mum, mil and godmum as they help us out with so much during the year it’s our ones chance to spoil them. Dp seems to be the worst as he doesn’t know when to stop, ive tried to head him off this year by already finishing mil and Mum (in the sales so half what we normally spend!)
I’ve been all but stopped Xmas card , send a small handful to elderly relative and that’s it, also don’t do crackers as think they are just tat and pointless and very overpriced.
PiperPublickOccurrences · 09/10/2018 12:52
Can I also put a stop to people using the phrases "grinch" or "bah humbug" or "it's about the kiddies" for those of us who choose not to get drawn into the commercial crap around Christmas?
We don't do elf on the shelf and I can think of nothing worse than a mountain of plastic under a tree. We are not religious and do things low key.
But according to many if you're not filling your trolley with chocolate, decorating your house on 1st December and listening to Slade on repeat you're a spoilsport and grinch.
Just fuck the fuck off and let people do things their way.
Lovemusic33 · 09/10/2018 12:53
I’m not spending hours looking around shops for lovely gifts for people only to be gifted tat in return, this year I’m not going to put much effort in and just give people a bottle of wine or some chocolates.
Not starting my Christmas shopping until mid November so I don’t end up buying the kids loads of tat that they don’t need. Going to write a list and stick to it (one big gift and 5 small things).
Talith · 09/10/2018 12:53
Last year I got all the adults the same gift, nice quality but small and not expensive - imagine a wooden pencil box or something similar. It was only around 10 quid each, but it meant I only had to come up with one good idea not loads.
Use a sharpie to write on the paper, don't faff about with labels.
Cheap and cheerful paper looks just as jolly as the pricey stuff and it's only on for a matter of minutes anyway.
Any paper with glitter on will resist sellotape so avoid.
Turkey is actually minging, no one likes it really, it's got quite a strong gamey smell which the kids always moan about so this year I'm just doing a decent organic chicken.
Don't bother with a bronze triple platinum organic turkey the size of a labrador unless you are a brilliant cook because they're really fucking easy to under or overcook - sometimes both! And they cost more than the new Fiat 500.
If you get one and then go to the trouble of soaking it in salt and orange peel and expensive herbs and spices for a month bear in mind the previous tip and note that if you are a crap cook it'll still be dry chewy cardboard on the plate, albeit slighty fragrant chewy cardboard.
Other tip is don't presume online shopping is simpler. Actually what you then have is to be in/go collect your parcels, unwrap the boxes and then go out to get your paper and sellotape etc. It's actually far more efficient to do one trip into town armed with decent list - it gets it all done and dusted in a matter of hours, not days. And you don't end up filling your recycling bin with boxes and packaging just before the big day!
I put my plastic tree back in its box complete with baubles in January and so my decorating this year will involve retrieving box and taking tree out.
Real trees are a pain in the arse so if you get one make it a small one that might realistically go in your green bin without having to get a saw on it.
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 12:55
Turkey is actually minging, no one likes it really, it's got quite a strong gamey smell which the kids always moan about so this year I'm just doing a decent organic chicken
Oh yes, you reminded me, we are having a nice organic chicken too Going to look for a pre-stuffed one if possible too as it will save me another job.
thenewaveragebear1983 · 09/10/2018 12:58
Consuela I’m not going to tell them!! It’s been hosted at mine last year, so I am going to sit and wait for my invitation from either bro or sis or parents, and then politely decline.
It’s very hard to not think about it though, I was in asda today and they have a whole Christmas aisle. I love taking the dcs to garden centres to see the trees and decorations, but this year I’m determined not to do it til December. Last year we all peaked mid-November and by Boxing Day I was so sick of the tree I took it down!
consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 12:58
I put my plastic tree back in its box complete with baubles in January and so my decorating this year will involve retrieving box and taking tree out
Real trees are a pain in the arse so if you get one make it a small one that might realistically go in your green bin without having to get a saw on it
We had real trees growing up, but I couldn't be bothered with it myself. I am fine with my artificial one. I don't try and re-create what my mum did as she was much more into arts and crafts than I could ever be. Doing practical stuff just overwhelms and stresses me no end!
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