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Old 12-10-2011, 09:53 PM   #11
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There's little stress in Christmas anymore, and frankly sometimes I really miss it.
What I would give to have just one more Christmas when my sons were little and I was such a busy young mother intent on doing my best to make the "most perfect Christmas ever". Having both sides of the family for Christmas dinner was stressful I guess, but my cup truly overflowed and I loved every minute of it. Now so many family members have passed on, or moved away. My sons are both married, and the parents-in-law have claimed them for Christmas, so I'll be doing a Brunch for all of us next Sat and that will help keep me from wishing I could have just one more "stressful Christmas" like it used to be. My Mom used to tell me then that I was living the best days of my life. She's gone now, and as usual, she was so right.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:16 AM   #12
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Because we do not have thanksgiving the stress levels over here rocket
We have always used the holiday to have or be with friends and family.This year on christmas day we are going out to one of our local Indian Restaurants then we will walk around Chester or Liverpool looking in shop windows.
Please google an image of Edward Hopper painting Nighthawks.The reason is when we walk about there are always cafes open that cater on that day for single people, the stress on these poor people to sit on their own in a seedy cafe to try to get some of the christmas "spirit" makes us remember how lucky we are.
When I was fit through the last economic melt down I cooked in homeless shelters over the holiday.The need through the boom years vanished its back with again.One of the two Christmas cakes we are making will go to the Salvation Army hostel with a few other things this does salve my conscience a little.
This post is not for kudos I do it because my Dad would always help in different ways, he could not cook but he would open his factory canteen on Christmas day, it was a wonderful day after the meal he would set up his 16mm Bell and Howell sound projector and show movies.
I miss my Dad and his friends, one great man who had fought for the international brigade had a large bus company with his sons he would pick everyone up.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:11 PM   #13
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I've always enjoyed Christmas even though I grew up in a very, very dysfunctional and physically abusive family. I think, as a child and young person, I used Christmas as a salve to temper the ugliness I lived with every day the rest of the year. This is not to say my childhood Christmases were Norman Rockwellian. Not by any means, but I always found the joy in it.

As a result, I have always made it a point to ensure that my own family enjoyed a pleasant loving holiday. I never found that stressful and, in fact, it gave me great comfort to provide them with wonderful holiday memories.

We do some outside decorating, but don't go nuts with lights, etc. Actually, never did. Somehow I think loads of lights are too much. Less is better for me.

Inside, the house is decorated in a somewhat eclectic manner. Many of the decorations dating back to before the children were born, which makes quite a few of them over 40 years old. Guess that goes back to the "comfort" thing. A little like the old broken pair of shoes that feel so good. I can look at any number of our decorations and remember which child was born the year we got them or which child made it or helped assemble/put it up.

In fact, this year, when I mailed the Christmas packages for the children, I included some of the decorations from their childhood so they could share them with their children.

I still bake lots. Something I truly love at Christmastime. Even though it's just the two of us now, I still go ape nuts baking all kinds of cookies, etc. But these are my "special" ones that are usually only made at Christmastime. Makes them even more treasured since they're only around once a year.

As for presents, I shop and make gifts all year 'round. As a matter of fact, as we sit around the tree on Christmas day opening packages, I pay close attention to what everyone says as to likes and dislikes. What they admire about something someone else received. Color, fragrance, clothing, food, lifestyle preferences.

I remember what I've heard and use the rest of the year to fill the blank slate that was given me. Most of my gift giving is made up of things I make myself, which is easy because I have the year to accomplish whatever I need to make. This year, for example, members of my family will receive several knitted afghans, knitted hats, knitted scarves, beaded and embroidered wall hangings, hand-sewn aprons, napkins/place mats. And the list goes on.

I hear the news reports on the average expenditure per person during the holidays and I just gasp. I can't imagine spending such exorbitant sums. When I bought the yarn for the afghans, I made certain to use a 40% off coupon. Glenn says I'm "cheep, cheep!" Whatever. I just prefer to stretch our dollars. Most of our purchased gifts came from an upscale area consignment store. They have absolutely beautiful things for pennies. I couldn't tell you the last time I shopped at a mall...any time of the year, much less Christmastime. Been years. So I don't have to do the shopping stress thing, along with the parking lot stress.

This year all the gifts were done/purchased (what few that were bought), packaged and mailed, wrapped and ready for under the tree by December 3. Most of the baking is done and either refrigerated or frozen. The tree will be put up Christmas week, which only leaves Christmas dinner to be cooked.

We're expecting 12 for dinner Christmas day and the battle plan is in place and partially executed. The meal will be elegant but easy to prepare and dessert will be the cookies and candies that are already made.

I've always viewed Christmas in a childlike fashion and truly love all the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday. I have never felt stressed during the holidays even when I was raising 8 children. The chaos and confusion seemed to feed me and I thrived on it. Still do, even though the mayhem has been reduced considerably.

As for de-stressing the holiday, for those who need to do that, I pray they find the way that best works for them. It's too lovely a time to have it marred with stress.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:03 PM   #14
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Pretty much, I ignore holidays. I don't get into the present buying frenzy and never get into Birthdays either.

When I see something that I know someone close to me would love, I get it for them. The time of year or how many years old they are has nothing to do with it.

I give it to them because it reminded me of them and I know it will bring a smile to their face.

Their smile is *my* present and always makes the whole thing worthwhile.

I enjoy Christmas music and listen to it all year when I'm in the mood. I just don't get involved in forced "You must buy presents" type days. It's gotten way too commercial for me.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:09 PM   #15
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Please just make it all go away.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by simonbaker View Post
Please just make it all go away.
I know the feeling. It is a logistics nightmare for me.Two or three days of driving, last minute changes, never being in my own bed or home.......It looks good on paper, but unfortunately for me, never turns out to be worth the hassle......I'm not a Christian so it is a bit senseless, so I go through the motions for my family.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:20 PM   #17
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Lightbulb

When I was a new mom nearly 30 years ago, I nearly had a breakdown the second Christmas we were married I was so stressed: inlaws coming from downunder, shopping and mailing to my family in California, son was a toddler, bad weather, living in the country.

I read about this in a magazine, and have done it for nearly thirty years. I made a list of everything I had to do for Christmas, including money I needed. I took Christmas stickers and put one on the 25th of every month. I divided the list up, and did one twelfth of them on the 25th. It was hard to do on July and August 25th , but even then, I would have a yard sale, or a can return day to save $$ for Christmas. November 25th, which was close to Black Friday, my galpals and I would treat ourselves to lunch (providing it wasn't T-giving) and watch everyone lose their minds, while we sipped martinis or margaritas. And then, we could enjoy the rest of the season, without stress.

I don't have nearly as much to do now; so many have passed, and the kids are grown and gone. But i still enjoy the season, and have most of it done by the time Chrismas gets here.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:32 PM   #18
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I don't stress over the holidays like I used to. Gift giving & receiving has dwindled down considerably over the years and the very limited number of gifts I buy I just order what I need on Amazon, delivered to my doorstep....mostly for the kids. In fact, it's been close to 20 yrs that I've set foot in a large mall.
I like the simple life.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
I know the feeling. It is a logistics nightmare for me.Two or three days of driving, last minute changes, never being in my own bed or home.......It looks good on paper, but unfortunately for me, never turns out to be worth the hassle......I'm not a Christian so it is a bit senseless, so I go through the motions for my family.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:12 PM   #20
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i have always been a careful planner. i am uncomfortable with to many things to do at the last minute. i do most of my shopping on line these days. so try to start early to get discounts, free shipping etc. i was through with shopping by the third. next week i start wrapping. i use lots of gift bags so no big deal. supplies are in cupboard for the few cookies i bake . no more dozens and dozens. everyone is always dieting anyway. i don't do thanksgiving or christmas dinner anymore. this year is potluck at granddaughters house. just appetizers will fill the bill. then we will make pizza, everyone brings their own topping. cake pops , will be made and taken by me. i love being with my family, kids, grandkids and great grand kids. i try to plan so their is no stress.
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