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Old 12-13-2012, 09:08 AM   #16
ilovemk76
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We always have a stress free holiday. It takes planning and slowing adjusting nets to the plan.

We start decorating, doing cards and shopping before Thanksgiving.

If we have time we add cookie baking, holiday parties and the like. We do not have to exchange gifts with everybody. We add and remove from the list each year. We avoid the Debbie downers. It is funny that the Debbie Downers will complain that nobody invites them over. Look in the mirror to see why.

The holidays are what you make of them so make them happy and stress free.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:11 AM   #17
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I don't understand why worrying about what you are GETTING for Christmas should cause stress. I think you are missing the point of the holiday if you are upset about what an SO is getting you for Christmas.


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Old 12-13-2012, 09:25 AM   #18
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Like some other posters, DH and decided years ago not to exchange gifts (we do buy stocking stuffers for each other) and we go on a trip! Sometimes several mini weekend trips throughout the year. This is a major stress reliever in itself. I wish my parents would do this. All year, I hear about how Mom/Dad never uses the Xmas present the other bought. I'm over it.

Last year was the first time I did not decorate the ENTIRE house like I have done for 20+ years. We put the tree up and got out the Xmas dishes. Took an hour. Ditto this year and it was great.

This year I am not making anything for the teachers. I have never bought teachers' gifts, but always made cookies or fudge tins. Instead, I am going to send in extra classroom supplies. Tissues, hand sanitizer, pencils, etc.... I keep that stuff on hand, so it is not extra for me to do.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by FlightlessDuck View Post
I don't understand why worrying about what you are GETTING for Christmas should cause stress. I think you are missing the point of the holiday if you are upset about what an SO is getting you for Christmas.
Logically, I am inclined to agree with you.

However, receiving gifts does cause me stress. I am one of those odd people who does not like getting gifts. I know people never believe that, but I have hated receiving gifts since I was a young child. The entire thing actually gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. I have always loved the Christmas season- the smells, the food, the decorations-- but stress over the gift thing is honestly enough to make me convinced that I hate Christmas lately.

DH also does not like getting presents. It isn't hugely stressful, but it bothers him enough that we have several discussions about it starting before Thanksgiving. He does not like to buy/have a lot of "stuff" and he always feels bad that my siblings and parents buy him things that he does not want/need. He feels guilty and would rather they save their money to buy something for their children or do something as a family.

DH & I do not exchange gifts for anything. If we want something (new electronics/furniture/etc) we go out together and purchase it. Those are our "gift exchanging" experiences throughout the year.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:17 AM   #20
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My tree is up (not yet decorated) the outside is decorated. Looks like I'll have a busy weekend. I need to bake for my younger son and daughter-in-law who just moved clear across the country. I want to buy a few cold-weather items for them, so they'll have gifts to unwrap. (those crazy California kids - moving to cold climate!) I went to Disneyland last week with my sisters, and I wouldn't have not done that, but it did put me behind in my holiday preparations.

Not sure how to de-stress. I love my house all decorated. This year was unusual, with going to DLand and my son moving. We helped them a lot with a garage sale and packing. I can relax after the holidays!
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:26 AM   #21
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If it were up to me I would have a very stress-free christmas. Problem is, my mom has dementia and is making it very stressful. We just had a disagreement over our family christmas. Last week it was buying a gift for her best friend. Who knows what it will be next week. We make all the plans and she forgets and makes new ones. Its driving me crazy.

We had a family Christmas planned for the 23rd. We had the time, place, food and gifts all planned. She changed her mind and didn't tell me and then went and replanned it and rented a hall that can't be cancelled. I try so hard not to get angry, but she really makes it hard.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:40 AM   #22
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Xmas is never stressful for me, other than having everyone else being stressed (cow-orkers, other drivers, etc.).

The extent of our exterior decorating is two strings of lights on the front of the house, with all the nails permanently hung... just grab the lights from the drawer and hang, takes 5 minutes at most.

The interior decorations consist of a few minor things (holiday-themed pillows for the couch, a tinsel tree, an ornament on a hanger, and a nifty glass block from Lowe's that I repurposed into a decoration by shoving two old strings of lights into it). The tree is artificial and takes 10 minutes to set up, and then we put on The Sound of Music and decorate it. We're usually done with the tree well before Fräulein Maria comes back to the Captain.

That's it. No elaborate decorations to speak of.

Gifts: we don't give gifts to each other, we go on lots of vacations instead. We have maybe two or three people that we jointly give gifts to, usually a useful gift card for something we know they like (one person loves getting Starbucks cards, another really likes getting gift cards to a car wash). I get my kids and my sister's kids things they can use, with the rule that if they nothing on their Amazon wish list, they get nothing!

No, the stress of the holiday season mostly comes from other people, obsessed with "THE PERFECT XMAS", rude drivers, etc.

The only change I make for the holiday season is to stop shopping the week before Thanksgiving. I do not set foot in stores (other than grocery stores or CostCo) until after the new year. THAT would be stressful for me.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:49 AM   #23
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We put up a much smaller tree, reduced the outdoor decorations (no more lights strung on the roof and shrubs), and cut back the number of gifts. Hubby and I are getting three things for each other plus two big things for both of us (a new breadmaker and a new comforter for our bed), three gifts for each of our moms, one item each for our few other extended family members, and six items for our 15 yo daughter.

Well, I'll be truthful with you, DIS friends...there's more than six things for her. I just condensed them into fewer packages or I'll put them in her stocking, which doesn't count toward the six (two pairs of jeans in one box, two sweaters in another, a big itunes gift card and perfume in the stocking -you get the picture). But it's still much more reasonable than in years past, I assure you, plus hubby supports me in fudging the limit on her gifts.

I bought around 75% of the gifts online, which reduced the stress of shopping tremendously. Also, I used to wrap almost everything - I always felt like I was sort of "cheating" if I used gift bags. I've tossed that idea out of the window! I'm using primarily gift bags with a few wrapped items mixed in. I'm already almost finished with the wrapping - it's a Christmas miracle!

The last thing is the baking. I became diabetic two years ago. Last Christmas, I still kept up my old Christmas baking routine - a fruitcake and one other cake, a pie, a couple of different types of cookies and fudge. I did this kind of baking mostly because my daughter has nut allergies and I always wanted to make sure that she had plenty of safe treats to eat at home and to take with her to parties and so forth. I didn't eat a bite of it, but I was miserable from the constant temptation. We wound up keeping out enough for our daughter and sending the rest to my hubby's office.

This year, I am making one batch of cookies to decorate with my daughter, baking her favorite cake (a chocolate chip pound cake), and ordering fudge from a wonderful place called Vermont Nut Free that makes nut allergy safe confections. Also, my darling hubby is ordering two fruitcakes (yes, we like the stuff) online - one is regular and one is sugar free...for me.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:51 AM   #24
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I thought that this would be the most stressful Christmas ever. We haven't had the best year financially and then dh's 18-wheeler caught on fire last week and there have been some issues with his company.

But, something changed that "stressed" to "blessed".

Oldest DS works offshore so will be gone Christmas and was gone for Thanksgiving. Because of that we had a traditional holiday family meal and exchanged gifts with him on the 8th. I was stressing because I had to go last minute to get his gifts and was worried about the cost, the tree wasn't up yet and the house was a mess--all that morning.

Well, dd and I got the house cleaned and dh put the tree up and the lights. I got all the food prepared and we bought his gift (ONE instead of the usual 4-5). When he came in, dd's bff came in and others; the gifts started piling under the tree and I realized we wouldn't be able to put the decorations on until AFTER opening gifts.

I was stressing and worrying and thinking "BUT, its NOT PERFECT!! There aren't enough gifts, there are no Christmas cookies made, the house isn't decorated" and on and on and on.

Then my sweet little granddaughter (3) opened her gifts from her uncle and announced to everyone "THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!". Every drop of stress left me. Not one of the silly things I was stressing about matter one whit to this child or really to anyone but me.

I spent the rest of the day just enjoying my granddaughters, sons and daughter and remembering how blessed we really are.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:06 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sasywtch View Post
I had to severly learn that my grandkids did not need 30 presents from me.
I had to learn this, too! I remember our first grandchild having to take a nap in between opening Christmas presents. The same thing happened on his birthday! We have since cut back on the gift giving (but not the spoiling!)

I have always loved Christmas and I don't see that changing. Maybe I've been extremely lucky and fortunate, but I've never associated Christmas with a lot of stress. Sure, there have been times throughout the years when the holidays have been overwhelming, but it's never been so stressful that I dislike Christmas. Growing up, our house was always the place where everyone gathered for the holidays. We always hosted the annual family Christmas party, and Christmas Day we always had a big, holiday meal for the grandparents and anyone else who happened to stop by. I have nothing but fond, warm memories of Christmas.

Now, however, my husband and I are older (aren't we all!) and our kids are grown. We are now the grandparents! We have lost both sets of parents over the years, and they are very much missed, especially over the holidays. To me, that's the worst part of Christmas, not having all of our loved ones still with us. However, we keep their spirits alive by remembering all the good times we had over the years and retelling stories about past Christmases when they were very much with us.

I've always loved decorating for the holidays, so I have not cut back on that. I love arts and crafts, so I continue to make gingerbread houses, homemade ornaments, and bake and decorate cookies and cupcakes. I now do this with the grandkids, just like I did with my own kids when they were little.

A good way to eliminate stress is to focus on the things that are important to you during the holidays. Try to do those things that you want to do and that you enjoy doing. I don't enjoy cooking and baking, so I don't do a lot of it. There are grocery stores that put together wonderful party platters for you!

I think traditions are important to uphold over the holidays. For years, we got our trees from the same tree farm. The farm where we also bought our wreaths and enjoyed the most delicious gingerbread men I've ever tasted. Christmas Eve, our kids exchanged their gifts to each other. Christmas morning was always stockings first, a big breakfast, then gift opening. Attending a local performance of the Nutcracker was also a tradition. Okay, my husband could have done without that tradition, but he was a good sport about it.

And, if you really want to get into the holiday spirit, I suggest spending some time with a four year old this Christmas. Our grandson turned four in August and this is the first Christmas were he "gets" it. He is totally in love with everything having to do with Christmas, and so totally believes in all the magic of the season! He loves the lights, the decorations, the trees, the music, the holiday shows and holiday books. Seeing it all through the eyes of a four year old is magical in itself! I just love his enthusiasm and wonder of it all.

Even though our grandson understands (as much as a four year old can) the religious aspect of the season, his focus is mostly on what Santa is going to bring him Christmas morning. He's always seeing something he wants, either in a store, on tv, or in a sale flyer. The other day, I jokingly said to him: "Gee, you want EVERYTHING for Christmas!" His answer: "No Gramma, not EVERYTHING! If it's not a toy, then I don't want it."

And, last week, we went to see a local light display that I was very excited about. Well, my first impression was that it wasn't as great as I had thought it would be and I was a bit underwhelmed. However, our grandson took one look at it and was awed by it. He thought it was "the most beautiful place I've ever seen!" So, seeing it through the eyes of a four year old, I had to change my opinion!

My hope is that everyone finds some way to slow down, relax and enjoy the holidays. Spend time doing what is important to you and find time to really focus on your loved ones. Find time to reflect on the past. Find time to help someone in need. And, most of all, find time to laugh and live in the moment!
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:15 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsJack View Post
I thought that this would be the most stressful Christmas ever. We haven't had the best year financially and then dh's 18-wheeler caught on fire last week and there have been some issues with his company.

But, something changed that "stressed" to "blessed".

Oldest DS works offshore so will be gone Christmas and was gone for Thanksgiving. Because of that we had a traditional holiday family meal and exchanged gifts with him on the 8th. I was stressing because I had to go last minute to get his gifts and was worried about the cost, the tree wasn't up yet and the house was a mess--all that morning.

Well, dd and I got the house cleaned and dh put the tree up and the lights. I got all the food prepared and we bought his gift (ONE instead of the usual 4-5). When he came in, dd's bff came in and others; the gifts started piling under the tree and I realized we wouldn't be able to put the decorations on until AFTER opening gifts.

I was stressing and worrying and thinking "BUT, its NOT PERFECT!! There aren't enough gifts, there are no Christmas cookies made, the house isn't decorated" and on and on and on.

Then my sweet little granddaughter (3) opened her gifts from her uncle and announced to everyone "THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!". Every drop of stress left me. Not one of the silly things I was stressing about matter one whit to this child or really to anyone but me.

I spent the rest of the day just enjoying my granddaughters, sons and daughter and remembering how blessed we really are.
This totally brought tears to my eyes! "From the mouths of babes..." at it's best. DGD was 2 in October, so this Christmas she will understand a little better. And to truly see Christmas through a child's eyes is how it should be (IMO).

Our de-stressing of the holidays is our pre-lit tree...it's rather tall and thin, small enough that we don't move furniture around. I didn't even decorate it, DD #2 did. We have lights and our Alien Santa hanging in the window. I am shopping this weekend, getting only a few things for the kids (at their ages, it's easy to pare down the list!). Making strata for Christmas day brunch (made the night before, and popped in the oven first thing). It is going to be a stress-free Christmas.
Probably the least-stressful Christmas we had was when we went to WDW on Christmas Day in '07. No gifts for the kids, as WDW was their gift.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #27
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:59 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sasywtch
I had to severly learn that my grandkids did not need 30 presents from me.
My IL's would give my son a couple of gifts for birthday/Christmas and then savings bonds. For whatever reason, they stopped when I had my DD 5 years later. DS wants to study abroad this summer and those bond are going to be put to good use.

Buy them stocks, bonds or gold/silver coins in addition to a gift or two. Chances are they will NEVER miss the gifts under the tree but what a nice gift when doing something special as a young adult or trying to buy their first home...
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:03 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by powellrj View Post
If it were up to me I would have a very stress-free christmas. Problem is, my mom has dementia and is making it very stressful. We just had a disagreement over our family christmas. Last week it was buying a gift for her best friend. Who knows what it will be next week. We make all the plans and she forgets and makes new ones. Its driving me crazy.

We had a family Christmas planned for the 23rd. We had the time, place, food and gifts all planned. She changed her mind and didn't tell me and then went and replanned it and rented a hall that can't be cancelled. I try so hard not to get angry, but she really makes it hard.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by njmom47 View Post
This totally brought tears to my eyes! "From the mouths of babes..." at it's best. DGD was 2 in October, so this Christmas she will understand a little better. And to truly see Christmas through a child's eyes is how it should be (IMO).

Our de-stressing of the holidays is our pre-lit tree...it's rather tall and thin, small enough that we don't move furniture around. I didn't even decorate it, DD #2 did. We have lights and our Alien Santa hanging in the window. I am shopping this weekend, getting only a few things for the kids (at their ages, it's easy to pare down the list!). Making strata for Christmas day brunch (made the night before, and popped in the oven first thing). It is going to be a stress-free Christmas.
Probably the least-stressful Christmas we had was when we went to WDW on Christmas Day in '07. No gifts for the kids, as WDW was their gift.
I know, it made me tear up thinking about it again! Every time I tell that story, I feel like I am re-telling the end of A Christmas Carol when Little Timmy says "God Bless Us, Everyone"

She is such a sweet child and it was such perfect timing. I felt like someone somewhere used her as a way to tell me "hey, slow down now! Look at all you have!" And being that those who are nearest and dearest to my heart were all in the same room at the same time and they all had smiles on their faces--I really did realize, that was all I needed.
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