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Old 12-10-2011, 07:11 PM   #1
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Hints on how to de-stress the holidays

I want everyone to write in about what you do to make the holidays a little calmer. I told my husband a decade or three ago that he had to watch out in traffic and in stores this time of year, especially for women of family age. They're running around blind, trying to buy presents for everyone and their brother -- that they cannot afford. They're trying to get from party to kids' events to family dinners. The days are short and the list is long. Just be cautious, because they're unlikely to look behind them unless they're looking at the kids in the back seat. This isn't a criticism of mothers and grandmothers, just a fact of life that it can be very stressful for the person (and yes, there are some men, too) who is in charge of the meals, the present buying, throwing a party, etc.

So, what have you done to try to make this a little less stressful for you and those around you?

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Old 12-10-2011, 07:15 PM   #2
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When I stopped working I also stopped all social obligations.

Now I only do things I enjoy with people I enjoy and for people I enjoy.

I am not as busy as I used to be but, I am much happier!
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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I quit doing Christmas. It is now a mini-holiday, stress free. Except. talking with my mom today, she wanted to know if I'd be there on time to help put up the tree. I haven't spent XMas with my parents for 12 years...I'm checking the train schedule to see if I can go from CT on the 19th to MN...good daughter guilt.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:27 PM   #4
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de stress xmas. what a concept.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:33 PM   #5
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I quit doing Christmas running and stress when the family got too big to buy for. We have settled, as a family, to do birthday presents only, except for the little ones who Santa visits. Those with kids, buy for their kids at Christmas. I contribute $10 per kid to Santa presents. At this point, Christmas costs me $40 each year and it will be cut by $10. The new great grandbaby soon to be along will be included and one nephew is wavering on that age of no longer getting Santa presents.

Shrek and I buy for each other, usually something big, but can be promised as a Christmas present from August to January...depending on if we can wait.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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We get stuff for Mom and DH's folks, usually food. My niece will turn 4 soon, so she gets fun stuff. I get DH and me electronics and Mexican vacations. Much less stressful than past years and many nieces and nephews ago. They are all grown up now.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I want everyone to write in about what you do to make the holidays a little calmer...
...So, what have you done to try to make this a little less stressful for you and those around you?
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
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As for me, stopping buying gifts for each person was a biggie. Sibs, their husbands, their kids ... easy for me to say, I know, because I don't have kids myself. My dearest friends and I decided decades ago ... no gifts. Now I just buy a bunch of local food products and ship them to my parents. My sibs are all foodies so love it all. One shopping trip for 15 people.

I have an agreement with a friend. I do Thanksgiving, she does Christmas (dinners we're talking here). There's one I don't have to do any more.

I throw a big Christmas party very early on (usually first Sunday in December). But even that is one where I make a big pot of Cincinnati chili and not much else. Once upon a time, I threw two (or more) large parties a year (by large I mean 40+ people). Christmas I did all the food myself. Then, when I moved here, I found everyone was bringing me food to share anyway. So I do the main thing (the chili), and just ask people to bring finger food to share. The table and sideboard over-flow, everyone brings neato stuff (we have a multi-cultural group and those who like to experiment). They also bring stuff for the food bank. My preparation consists of the chili (which has to be made at least 24 hrs in advance or it doesn't taste right), which is something I only have to put on low heat day of party and stir once in awhile. But once I'm through with that, I'm pretty much though with holiday prep.

Simplifying decorations helped. We live in an old tourist town in an old house. No more outside lights. Did that for a few years after we moved here, and putting them up was never a biggie. Then I'd be taking them down in well below freezing weather which was a bear. Gave up and found some great fake candles to put in each window and finally gave up on a real tree. We still use real pine garland and wreath, so it is all in keeping with our 1854 hours ... and a lot less work.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I quit doing Christmas. It is now a mini-holiday, stress free. Except. talking with my mom today, she wanted to know if I'd be there on time to help put up the tree. I haven't spent XMas with my parents for 12 years...I'm checking the train schedule to see if I can go from CT on the 19th to MN...good daughter guilt.
$1400 RT. No way, no how. The dead beat brother #1 (I have two of those) said the same, he checked flights, and it would cost him $900 to get to WPG, and then the cost of a rental car, hotel, etc. Same difference. I'll be there in February, and I'm sending cookies UPS.

As I drove home from curling the other night, I couldn't help but think "Dalton, shouldn't people with these hideous Christmas light displays have to pay more for that than I do? I don't leave my hot water tank on during peak hours--come on--I can't take a shower until after 7 p.m.!
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:00 PM   #10
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I usually buy a gift for my partner, my parents, now just parent :-( and my grandmother. I have told siblings that gifts are unnecessary, if they want to buy for us, then that's their choice, but we wouldn't be buying for them. We open up the house and usually have Christmas here, I cook up a storm, and we have a great time, that's really all we need.

My friends have casual get togethers and we go to them, but again they are low key affairs, so no stress there, we usually bring homemade treats. Some years we have a party of our own and I really do it up, but I only do it every few years.
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