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AIBU?

OTT Christmasses - let's fight back!

186 replies

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?

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SilverySurfer · 09/10/2018 12:58

We could start by not having threads about Christmas in October (unless on the Christmas Board) Hmm

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Talith · 09/10/2018 13:01

I find real trees a bit pitiful - basically it's dying in front of you loaded in glitter, whilst you and your family celebrate. Grin

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MiggledyHiggins · 09/10/2018 13:02

  1. Instead of giving colleagues gifts, in the run up to Christmas we have a Friday bake sale for charity. Those who want to bake, do. Those who want to eat and donate, do. The last day of work we then donate it to a local charity of our choice and go off to Christmas lunch.


2. Click & Collect at the local toy shop. Online vouchers for older DC. DH's job, as mine is the food & cooking. No schlepping around High Street with other maniacs trying to get presents.

3. I cook what we like, so if you like pudding and turkey and ham, go elsewhere Grin. I like to cook and love the Christmas morning prepping sipping proseccowhile DH and DS are playing with toys to a christmassy play list of songs.

4. Our side of the family only buy gifts for DM - we usually chip in and get her something decent, last year was a tv. We only buy for godchildren which means each child gets one gift each.
DH's side of the family do a kris kringle for adults to a specified amount, and small gifts for the kids (and as he does the toy shop it's nowt to do with me!) Grandparents are restricted to one small gift for DS.
5. Other days over Christmas is when extended family get together. Those are bring a dish/booze affairs so no one person has to bear all the work or expense.
6. I'm nicking the gift bags idea.
7. I don't do cards.
8. I do some home preserves and begin adding a bottle of wine, gift bags, chocolates etc to the weekly shop from about September so when some neighbour inevitably turns up on the door step with a gift, I can pretend I have their one in the kitchen all along and it spreads the cost as well.
9. During the year I buy bits and pieces of stocking fillers to spread the cost as well.
10. DS gets one decent Santa present plus a small surprise (usually a book or something like that) and a stocking of chocolate and cheap tat, a gift from mum & dad and usually one gift from each set of grandparents and god parents - and that is LOADS.

All in all, we've got Christmas down to a fine art where it's not stressful, there's no expectations, and no big expense and I love it!
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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:02

SilverySurfer

We could start by not having threads about Christmas in October

It's allowed by MNHQ apparently Grin

I do understand what you mean. Christmas in [email protected][email protected]?!

My point is though, for those of us inspired to make bigger changes like not hosting Christmas for 40 people for the first time in 25 years and stuff like that - well, they need to be thinking about it now and how they are going to address it with relatives and resolve the fall-outs before the Big Day Grin

Waiting until December to tell relatives you are making sweeping changes to what they are used to may be a little late. It's good to give fair warning so it's one less thing for them to gripe about.

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:03

I mean the office party stuff has started already.

If you want to take a stand and don't go, it's probably about time to tell the arranger in the office that and make your excuses.

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:06

I had salmon once for Christmas dinner - amazing!

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GoldenWonderwall · 09/10/2018 13:14

I’m not buying loads of toys this year even though I feel mean because there’s still good stuff that’s not been opened from last year. I’m knocking toy advent calendars on the head and I refuse to entertain Xmas eve boxes or elf on the shelf.

I buy Xmas dinner in a box and we just have that. Going to get a booths one this year.

Adults who have presents get amazon vouchers/ wine/ chocs or posh shower gel wrapped in a gift bag. I bulk buy these and get them delivered.

I’m going to tell people what we/dc want if they ask so I get stuff I’ll actually use. I really want some new placemats for the dining table and hopefully my dm will get me those. Much better than a 342 gift set.

There’s plenty going on anyway without planning it to the nth degree. School do nativity and panto and Scouts will probably do something with carols. We’ll happen on a Santa’s grotto whilst out and about - they’re everywhere round here!

I love Xmas, but I grew up in a stressy household where everything had to be the best, perfect, most expensive or most time consuming to make thing that I can’t face doing that to my dc or to myself. It’s very difficult to not get dragged into it but I’ll try my best Smile

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abacucat · 09/10/2018 13:17

I love crackers and a real tree, no one else cares if the tree is real or not.

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:17

GoldenWonderwall

I love Xmas, but I grew up in a stressy household where everything had to be the best, perfect, most expensive or most time consuming to make thing that I can’t face doing that to my dc or to myself

YES 100% Grin

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itsjustmebeingme · 09/10/2018 13:17

I love this thread.

We have really stepped back with the craziness.

I said to my DB/SIL/DN, lets just spend the money meeting up halfway (we live 100 miles apart) and have a lovely day out somewhere...they think it’s a great idea. I’m going to suggest this with other friends this year, no pressies for DC, lets just go bowling or something similar.

No cards, apart from to our parents and grandparents.

£50ish limit on our DDs (5 and 2)...this means I have already done my shopping as I’ve bought them things from eBay/fb selling pages. I cleaned up they (toys/bike) and they look fantastic.
They never have loads spent on them, but they are not brats (I hope!!) and are really happy getting a few things that they love.

We are having Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve this year, so we have more time on Christmas Day...we will be grazing all day in leftovers, party style food! This way we can play and just relaxing in our pjs.

I do so elf on the shelf (sorry!)...but I find it really fun to do. I bought two elves from the pound shop and as soon as the kids are in the bath/bed, I take a couple of mins (max) to stage a scene....them sitting on the coat stand, a loads of toys thrown on the floor...nothing crazy, but again my girls love it.

I did do Christmas Eve boxes but stopped as it’s seemed excessive. Instead the elves leave a ‘new’ board game (either from the attic from when we were kids or second hand) on Christmas Eve morning and the plan is just to play that at some point during the day.

DH and I usually have a spend limit on each other and a ‘theme’...last year was ‘3 books for under a tenner’....It had to be 1 book you know they’d love, 1 from a genre they don’t usually read from and 1 wild card.....oh my, writing that down actually makes us sound like a right pair of losers!

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:21

itsjustmebeingme

Love the sound of all the things you are doing Smile

DH and I usually have a spend limit on each other and a ‘theme’...last year was ‘3 books for under a tenner’....It had to be 1 book you know they’d love, 1 from a genre they don’t usually read from and 1 wild card.....oh my, writing that down actually makes us sound like a right pair of losers!

Not at all! I would love that challenge myself. It also stops you getting stuck in a rut reading the same type of stuff all the time.

My DH and I look up old sitcoms and find the Christmas specials from them and watch those. Ancient stuff like "George & Mildred" and "Butterflies" - great for a laugh. Also, you get to see how things have changed with Christmas over the years.

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abacucat · 09/10/2018 13:22

I did it one year where I tried to make everything perfect, never again. I was tired and stressed so didn't enjoy it, and I am sure others didn't enjoy it as much because I was stressy. I learned my lesson that year.

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notsurewhatshappening · 09/10/2018 13:22

I sways buy myself a nice present as a reward for doing the present shopping. It feels good!

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notsurewhatshappening · 09/10/2018 13:23

Always

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:23

notsurewhatshappening

I always buy myself a nice present as a reward for doing the present shopping. It feels good!

Now, THAT I do like Smile

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IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere · 09/10/2018 13:24

A couple of years ago money was particularly tight in the run up to Christmas so I got all the kids (four of them still at home, all had money coming in even if it was just a paper round) and asked each of them to spend £ 10 on the treat that they felt made Christmas different from the rest of the year.

They bought their favourite crisps/cider/a box of wine/Coke - all things we wouldn't have normally. DH and I chose cheeses and nice bread. Because it was stuff we all liked there was no waste and it all got eaten.

I haven't sent cards for years and I only buy presents for the immediate family and a couple of friends.

My closest cousin and I decided we would have a ritual exchange of biscuits instead of buying for each other's families but in the past couple of years we have dropped that as well. My best friend and I don't do birthdays or Christmas presents although we will often buy each other small treats through the year.

I think though, that it is much easier to do thing simply when there are no children and no elderly relatives to accommodate.

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abacucat · 09/10/2018 13:24

One year DH and I agreed to give presents where we sorted out things for each other we hadn't got round to. So DP got a new chain for a necklace I loved, but the chain had broken, a replacement for a lost chess piece and a few other things like that.

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consuelapipkin · 09/10/2018 13:26

abacucat

I did it one year where I tried to make everything perfect, never again. I was tired and stressed so didn't enjoy it, and I am sure others didn't enjoy it as much because I was stressy. I learned my lesson that year

Yes, that's just it, isn't it? Not only do you spoil your own Christmas, but no-one wants to see you stressed and it spoils they enjoyment too. No-one wins in that scenario.

I have noticed as I go through life that the people who seem to enjoy life the most take things more lightly and don't martyr themselves. Because I was brought up as a people-pleaser, I am sorry to say that I used to think (privately, of course) about how they could just opt out of things the way they seemed to do and yet everyone around them seemed so much happier than my family.

Now, I've seen the light!

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abacucat · 09/10/2018 13:35

Yes. And you need to work out what is important, and don't do anything else, unless you like doing it. I put presents in gift bags as well as it saves on wrapping.
And get your DP to sort out presents/cards for his family. We each do our own family only. Much easier, then much less to do jointly.

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abacucat · 09/10/2018 13:36

Actually I read an old Xmas cookbook which gave the advice of getting relatives to bring dishes on the day by saying things like - Auntie your xmas pudding is so much better than mine. Would you mind bringing one on the say. And doing that with everyone. So you have as little to do as possible.

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Zippetydoodahzippetyay · 09/10/2018 13:39

2 years ago my family stopped buying for everyone and instead we buy a one good quality gift for $60 (Aus) and then play a game where we roll dice and get to steal each others presents. It's so much better as we buy good stuff like beach towels, double walled coffee glasses, alcohol etc and it creates a really fun atmosphere as well as reduces spending, stress and waste.

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Zippetydoodahzippetyay · 09/10/2018 13:44

Oh also, being in Australia, Christmas day is usually scorching so we dont do the warm sit down lunch. Whoever hosts cooks a turkey and everyone else brings either a fancy salad, desert or drinks. That way no one person has all the stress and its easier to adjust to cater for more or less people. We can have as few as 10 or as many as 35 depending on how many people are able to make it to the city.

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MiggledyHiggins · 09/10/2018 13:44

I always buy myself a nice present as a reward for doing the present shopping. It feels good!

In Ireland they have an old custom called Nollaig na mBan, or Little Christmas on 6th of January for the women who traditionally would have done the brunt of the Christmas Prep. I think some parts of the UK have a variant of it as well, or used to. Well, on this day the women got 'their' day off in lieu and would usually hit the January sales with other women, or go to lunch.

So this year I think I'm going to instigate Nollaig na mBan with some friends and maybe do a spa day. paid for by DH

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insight483479 · 09/10/2018 13:59

What a wonderful idea Miggle!

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TooManyPaws · 09/10/2018 14:00

I love my Christmas. People feel sorry for me being on my own (you can't be on your own at Christmas!) but I love it. No more taking dishes into the kitchen as an excuse to cry at the sink and get away from the screaming and yelling over the table.

New pyjamas all day, new bedding, lovely food, treats for the dogs and cats, and two good presents for me from the dogs and the cats 🐱 😁. Two family traditions I've hung on to are a chocolate orange in the morning and champagne with the meal - all for me! 😂

I do like decorating with handmade and natural stuff but then I decorate for spring, autumn, Halloween, Easter, etc.

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