My husband and I tend to be homebodies, so it's not difficult to skip parties that are likely to be stressful. We also have a few strategies for those we just can't get out of, where we can lower the intensity and leave early.
As for crazy gift buying, we don't. Our children can get overwhelmed pretty quickly if they have too many gifts, so we try to limit the number of presents they receive simply to keep them sane. Having 5 children melting down at the same time on Christmas morning is not very much fun, so we keep it simple.
Christmas dinner is usually at MIL's house, but we have a rule that we have to leave in time for our youngest 2 (The Tiny Terror Twins) to be in bed by their regular bedtime, otherwise they will cry and fuss all night, and be miserable the next day. If that means we have to leave before dinner has been served because the cooks haven't got their act together, we just pack up our gear and get out. I usually prepare a large Christmas Eve meal for our family, so there are leftovers around and we won't starve if we miss the Christmas Day dinner.
Fitness Minutes: (39,981)
2,322 11/17/11 8:11 P
The main thing that stresses me out about the holidays is the money I have to spend on gifts. I pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, so spending 50 bucks on a gift for x 2 moms and x 3 siblings plus play Santa for my daughter is very stressful. I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my budget. Other than that, I only have to go over to my grandma's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas and am not expected to make or host anything! Yeah!
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11/17/11 8:05 P
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11/17/11 7:57 P
Fitness Minutes: (14,994)
1,562 11/14/11 12:53 P
I've said no to out of control gift-giving for years...but my mother doesn't listen!
Her perception is that kids want quantity over quality, so my kids (now 14 & 12) spend hours opening presents from "Nanna." She sent so many gifts last year (3 large moving boxes) that we had to get a vinyl wall cling Christmas tree instead of a real one. It looks strikingly like this !
My husband and I do fun stockings and one (wanted) gift for Christmas for each of the kids.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ANYHOW!
Fitness Minutes: (291,294)
1,225 11/14/11 12:33 P
Thanks for the tips. I will try to use them this year!
11/14/11 12:15 P
"Maybe I should've said, "This one is Joyful"."
Fitness Minutes: (197,453)
10,402 11/14/11 11:51 A
Well, maybe less stressed holidays. I'll give your suggestions some thought. Thanks!
Fitness Minutes: (47,405)
17,465 11/14/11 11:49 A
I'm working on saying no but I always feel tremendous guilt when I don't see lots of family during the holidays.
11/14/11 11:41 A
I agree with 1-3. Especially the one about the gift giving.
Although Number 4, I love cooking a big meal for my whole family. It is practically what I live for all year. Sad I know I don't have a life. And it takes the stress off of my mother who dislikes it.
Now if I was still working in Retail, I would say no to cooking the big family dinner.
"Prideful" as in absence of malice. If I were into doing number four I'd want to do it because I LIKE to do it like you mentioned in your previous post. I was giving "exception" to number four by saying prideful, NOT condemning it. Maybe I should've said, "This one is Joyful".
11/14/11 10:51 A
"4. Say No to Taking On the Work for a Big Holiday Celebration This one is a prideful one"
How is hosting the family for the holiday dinner prideful??
1. Say No to Parties That You Don't Want to Attend Do our "wants" become secondary to us and "primary" to others? I am well aware of "obligations" but is it our responsibility to be politically minded in family dynamics? WHO makes us accountable for these things? WE DO, that's who.
2. Say No to Out-of-Control Gift-Giving This economy ought to be enough for everyone to understand that gift giving ought to be at a minimal. Gift giving to your child is one thing but gift giving to your teenaged counsin's boy friend just so he feels welcomed to the family is pure B.S.
3. Say No to Unwanted Houseguests To each his own but if it's someone you DON'T particularly like then you absolutely have the right to say No VACANCY!
4. Say No to Taking On the Work for a Big Holiday Celebration This one is a prideful one so if you LIKE doing this then more power to you! If you DON'T but feel obligated or your S.O. and his family EXPECT it then you absolutely have the right to say NO or HELL NO, LOL!!!!
I SO wish I could avoid 1 through 4, but with a young one, we are in high demand this year. I would have to deal with stress all year long, because neither of our families are great at just letting things go and would have to remind us constantly that we missed some party or another. I'll be doing a lot of grinning and bearing it with a lot of yoga and meditation on my off days.
11/14/11 9:53 A
I WILL HAVE a stress-free holiday season! My plan is to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, just the dog and me, away from all the drama of missing family members because this one isn't talking to that one...........or the tension if everybody shows up. I am just not up to it this year, I want some peace and quiet.
I wonder how many folks WILLINGLY take on undo stress as a result of women sufferage or classic catholic guilt trips by mothers and mother-in-laws, or "Enabler" behavior...
Fitness Minutes: (16,520)
1,222 11/11/11 1:28 P
I agree 100% with 1-4 and would like to add #5 Don't travel with the kids if you don't want to. Even if it is "tradition" The best Christmas's I ever had with my 2 boys was skipping the trek to Grandmas. As much as I love my family, Dragging my kids away from their new Christmas gifts, struggling with massive traffic and grumpy drivers for 3 hours, then being surrounded by 20-30 people all talking at once, helping my majorly stressed out Mom cook a huge Christmas feast, and watching the stress on my boys face because of the chaos was simply not fun. Instead we sat around the tree, opened presents quietly and the boys got to enjoy their gifts in a relaxed atmosphere. We had a small "family" dinner and played board games. We started going the day after and had just as much fun with out the stress of the "holiday"
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2,024 11/11/11 1:13 P
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905 11/11/11 1:07 P
Wow! I just can't imagine a party I wouldn't want to go to!! Love being invited to and attending parties, so I don't find that stressful at all. Being a guest is always more fun than hosting IMHO.
#2 is easy for me since I never have adequate discretionary to over-spend with!!
I live in the remote country, so my house never seems to be the gathering place for Christmas although sometimes I'd like it to be. Only spend Christmas with DH's family since mine is all south for winter. :(
For number 4, I refer back to #2 and #3, just not enough $$$ to go throwing parties or having tons of large gatherings and no-one interested anyway.
Edited by: HAWTLIKEME at: 11/11/2011 (13:12)
Fitness Minutes: (9,440)
2,732 11/11/11 12:47 P
I try to do numbers 1 and 2 every year. (OK, I still go a little overboard on gifts for the kids.)
I've never experienced number 3. I do have some houseguests every year, but none of them are unwanted. I love having my extended family close during the holidays.
I can't imagine ever doing number 4. I've hosted both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for 20 years, ever since my husband and I bought our first house. My parents divorced when I was a teenager, and they get along pretty well, for a divorced couple. But not well enough for one to invite the other into their home for a holiday celebration. So, my brother, sister and I used to end up going to my mother's Christmas Eve and morning, my grandmother's at lunch, and my father's for dinner. Then, when I met my husband, we had to squeeze his parents in there too. He's an only child, and his parents basically don't celebrate if he isn't there. So, we ended up spending the entire holiday in a car, travelling from one house to another. That was stressful!! So, as soon as we got our own place, we decided that everyone would be invited to our place for Christmas Eve (which also happens to be my father-in-law's birthday)and Christmas Day. The first couple of years were a little stressful, I had never made a big meal like that before, and trying to get everything organized and ready at the same time was tough. But now it's a piece of cake. Over the years the numbers and family dynamics have changed, but now I typically do a buffet dinner for 14-16 on Christmas Eve, brunch for 8-10 on Christmas morning, and dinner for 10-12 on Christmas night. Sure, it's a lot of work. But I enjoy having everyone in my home. And to me, that's what the holidays are all about.
11/11/11 12:03 P
I always try to eliminate stress in the holidays. But I love having the family over for Christmas dinner. I try not to stress out over the cooking, and try to enjoy it.
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12,292 11/11/11 11:36 A
I do Numbers 1 through doi3 but I love doing big holiday celebrations! I love get togethers. I do not go to parties that I don't want to go to. We have not gone over board on gift giving for years. We have people over that we do want to have. Thank You for posting these,
Fitness Minutes: (4,820)
11/11/11 11:27 A
I agree with all! Unfortunately, this year I have nothing to do with the guest-thing as DH invited his brother and SIL to go to a Packer game that happens to be Christmas night! They may not arrive until Christmas a.m. (driving from IN). The game is at 7 p.m. I just pray the weather holds out for them. I wish the Packers were playing in another state that night and we could just watch it on TV.
Fitness Minutes: (135,687)
11/11/11 10:59 A
I agree with #1-4 100% and am working on them all lol
Good suggestions... I'm lucky in that I don't host holidays at all... I get to go to my parents and do the dinner and all that entails there... there are times I'd rather NOT spend the entire day hanging out with the family but it is better than being alone. And I can come and go as I please. I'll probably split the time at my boyfriend's parents so that will work out and cut down on my stress levels!
11/11/11 9:51 A
I already do 1 through 3. #4.... I'll disagree with!
Making the Christmas Eve feast is a joy to me and wouldn't give it up for the world. I also do a post-cantata brunch for 30 that I enjoy. They are not stressful at all!