Less stress Christmas

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by sasywtch, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. powellrj

    powellrj DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2003
    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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  3. furb & dez

    furb & dez City Bear Jamboreers

    Jan 18, 2011
    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.
  4. dizcrazee

    dizcrazee DIS Veteran

    Jan 14, 2006
    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. :laughing:

    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. :cloud9:
  5. luvsJack

    luvsJack DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2007
    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.
  6. luvflorida

    luvflorida DIS Veteran

    Feb 28, 2003
    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.:hug:

    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!:thumbsup2

    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.:rotfl:

    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." :rotfl:

    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!
  7. njmom47

    njmom47 <font color=blue>He's such a fiend!<br><font color

    Oct 14, 2007
    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. :thumbsup2
    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. :goodvibes
  8. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
  9. HannaBelle

    HannaBelle DIS Veteran

    Feb 8, 2007
    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...
  10. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

    Jan 4, 2001
  11. luvsJack

    luvsJack DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2007
    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" :lmao:

    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.
  12. threeboysmom

    threeboysmom Our life is what our thoughts make it

    Feb 8, 2001
    I'm sorry. I have read and reread your post several times now and I'm stumped.

    You're trying not to be upset because your husband bought you two things off the list that YOU wanted because you know what they are? :confused3 Was he not supposed to buy you things off the list?

    It's no wonder some people get stressed over the holidays.

    For me, I'm having a completely no-stress season.

    Decorated a tree, but didn't go all out with decorating in general

    No cookie baking. OK, I might do ONE cookie if I want to. If I don't feel like it, the world will not end.

    Gift giving cut down significantly.

    Only thing I have to stress about is what to serve my boys for Christmas dinner. Maybe we'll just do take-out or finger foods.
  13. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    I was not upset he bought me what I asked for, I didn't say that or imply it. It just kinda sucks I know what they are already and have for about two weeks. It would just be nice if he could surprise me once in a while. If he wrapped the gifts in a manor that I did not instantly know what they were that would be nice. He did the same thing with one of my gifts last year. What is the point of wrapping it and putting it under the tree weeks early if the receiver knows what it is?
  14. luvsJack

    luvsJack DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2007
    I understand how you feel. I used to feel the same way.

    I wanted to be surprised, it couldn't be anything for the house, I wanted something I could "show off" at work, etc. etc. --- I learned to let all that go.

    I also learned to tell him up front that I wanted one gift, it didn't matter the cost, that he took the time to think about and find something he thought I would really want. Some years he gets a list, some years he doesn't. But, once I let go of all my "stipulations"; it helped him to be able to pick something out. It doesn't matter if the gift cost $10 or $1000 (well it does to the budget, but you know what I mean); its just the thought that he puts into it.
  15. Ponygirl

    Ponygirl Mouseketeer

    Nov 7, 2009

    The key to a stressfree holiday is not letting yourself get all wound up over gifts. Last year he surprised you and you didn't like the gifts. This year you are getting exactly what you wanted and you still aren't happy because it isn't a surprise. It seems like he is trying but instead, you feel he is just trying your patience.

    You cannot change other people. You cannot make them do things the way you think they should be done. What you can do is change the way that you respond. If you are old enough to have a SO, you don't have to be surprised by Santa. Relax and enjoy life. :goodvibes
  16. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    Thank you. I learned to let all that go this year as well.
  17. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2012
    I'm too much of a control freak for mystery in my gift. I much prefer to buy all my gifts myself LOL. Because of this, DH and I qit exchanging gifts a very long time ago. It just seemed silly to me to spend our own money just so the other could have a gift. Oftentimes it wasn't anything we needed anyway. If it's something I need, I need it RIGHT NOW - like the $100+ Heys luggage I just ordered...

    We buy for our kids, parents, siblings, friends...just not each other.
  18. Jedana

    Jedana <font color=blue>Have to learn to budget somehow.

    Feb 27, 2011
    I'm not cooking Christmas Eve or Day. ::yes::

    For years, I spent Christmas Day in the kitchen. I didn't get to play Barbies or have a tea party with the girls...I was busy cooking. I would be exhausted after getting up before 5am--make coffee and orange or cinnamon rolls (Pillsbury), so that they were done before the kids got up, then watching them open presents, going to get veggie and other trays done, so I could start making ham and scalloped potoatoes and everything else, and then having to clean up after.

    So. Now Christmas Eve, we go get Chinese food--enough to cover two days. I also throw together a veggie platter with dips, a cheese and sliced meats platter, and put some olives and pickles in a dish. I have cookies and whatever else left from baking for dessert. I still get up early on the 25th, and make me coffee (Keurig, so DH can make his own). I will still make the orange rolls--some traditions I just can't drop--and we will have leftover Chinese food and the trays for lunch and dinner.

    I also dropped Christmas cards. I love doing them, but I hate the fact that I get so few back---apparently our families are not wanting to do them since I dropped the gifts that used to go along with them. :sad2: So, I do them for DH's cub den, and that's it.

    DH and I aren't doing anything for each other--we are buying one game we both really want and that's it. Both DDs have been told they will get their presents in January (both just want cash, and understand money is tight this month since we had to move). DS will get a few things on his list (mostly from the big guy) and will receive an IOU from mom and dad for the others.

    We aren't doing the outside decorations. Inside, it took me about 30 minutes to put up my stuff (since I organized when I put it away last year!) and we're getting the tree Saturday afternoon. won't be a big one either.

    Not as stressfree as the year we moved to FL and dropped everything to go to WDW the day after we got here! Just used DD2's small tabletop tree that year (and I had all the gifts bought and wrapped before the move!) when we got back Christmas eve. (Though going grocery shopping was a pain!)
  19. Andtototoo

    Andtototoo DIS Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    My goal for next year is to decrease the holiday stress by not trying to celebrate it any more. Decreasing my expectations to match reality has not lessened my stress or increased my happiness, so I'm just not going to participate beyond what's required at my job. I'm going on a cruise.

    I get it. Dh and dd basically gave me a list, I fufilled it. They don't want surprises. They know exactly what they're getting. So I honestly don't see the value of wrapping the items. I mean isn't the entire POINT of wrapping something to hide what it is so that the recipient won't know until they unwrap it? Or is there some other point I'm missing?
  20. tink_lover

    tink_lover POLKA PRINCESS

    Jan 14, 2007
    Outside lights are up; tree is up inside with lights, but no ornaments; Advent calendar is up; stockings are hung on the mantel; manger is out. That's it. I have A TON of decorations, just no time this year. Kids and DH don't want to help put stuff up - that's ok, it is what it is this year.

    Family celebration on my side is the weekend before but I just have to make a pan of lasagna. Not sure yet about DH side - it's ok by me if we don't meet up. Christmas Eve will be crab legs and veggies, Christmas Day will be a ham and a bag salad with a loaf of bread. If I had the time (and I will again one of these days), I do love to bake, make mints, etc. Life is too busy right now with the stages the kids are in, full time jobs and 3 hour commutes.

    We did cut down on the gifts this year as well. Kids have been done since right after Thanksgiving. I purchase for myself and hand off to DH to "gift" to me - we have done it that way for years. I'm picky and it just makes life easier. I don't care about being surprised. We are all looking forward to spending time together as a family with no sports, music, work, etc to attend to for a few days.
  21. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    We have have many years when one or the other of us ends up in the hospital or on crutches or sick with the flu; in fact, my kids say it's not Christmas 'til somebody goes to the hospital.:scared1: So I'm learned a few things about streamlining Christmas. It's a little late to implement this year, but maybe you could do it next year.

    **My secret to a calm Christmas season is to have at least 90% of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. Of course it helps that we don't buy much for the kids anymore--they need cash more than presents, so cash it is(plus a few little things.) We don't buy for my sibs either, just contribute to charity in their honor. My niece and nephew get cash.

    **I simplified my decorations last year, so on Black Friday when everyone else is out being crazy, I'm home putting up my simple tree and watching movies.

    **I cut my Christmas card list dramatically, so now it's pretty much family and a few friends from college, no local addresses. I get them done the Sunday after Thanksgiving and they're in the mail by Dec 6.

    **Beginning Dec 1 or before, I go to the grocery store and get everything I'm gonna need for the baking and candy making that I plan to do.

    **The first weekend in Dec, I make cookie dough. I do not bake on that day, but I will start baking within a couple days. i like to make something every 3-4 days, but sometimes I'll get with it and make several things in one day and freeze them so I can pull them out later in the season.

    **I start wrapping by Dec 15 and I put the presents up in my closet, out of the way, to be put out on Dec 24. That way nobody can guess what they're getting.

    **We reserve Dec 23 for riding around looking at the Christmas lights. We turn up the Christmas music and sing along. When we come home, it's cookies and hot chocolate for us.

    **Last year, my kids requested that we dispense with the big Christmas dinner. All they wanted was finger foods, little sandwiches, and desserts. So I bought a pre-made shrimp cocktail, deli meats & cheeses, rolls, salad, chips & dip, and a couple pies. Easy-peasy. And when the kids decided to split in the afternoon, it wasn't a big deal.

    I just wish I had done this years ago!

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