The Anti-Christmas

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Do you think that it would be terrible to let the family know in advance that we won't be celebrating Christmas? I'm considering making a general announcement at Thankgiving dinner (L's dad and wife and her family will be there) that we are not participating in any gift giving at Christmas. If the kids need something sometime they should ask us, but I hate Christmas and I'd rather not participate in it. I'd rather give because I want to give. Financial considerations don't allow for much this year, either.

    I wouldn't mind doing something for people who are going without this year. I don't mind the eating part of Christmas. YUM! But I hate the gift giving and the pretenses. But I know if I don't get in front of it then, I will have to either do another Christmas that I hate trying to live up to someone else's expectations, or try to pull it off at a later date when L will take full advantage of acting out because she won't be trying to protect her image in front of her step mom's family.
  2. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    Maybe you could suggest a "different" type of Christmas this year, where maybe you draw a name and exchange cookies or ornaments, then everyone can have some fun without the expense of buying presents for everyone, etc.

    My daughter and sister in law came to me last night and suggested that each of the adults (which now includes them), draw a name and we do one gift and focus the rest on their kids (my grandkids). I am all for that, since we are all broke this year, but it sure would seem weird to not give gifts to my own kids, if I didn't pull their name.

    There are many options to the traditional Christmas, and with the economy the way it is, you could come up with something different, especially if you don't want to deal with that part anyway.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I know that there are lots of ways to celebrate Christmas, but what I'd like to get across to my family is that I don't want to celebrate Christmas at all. husband is fine with it. I don't enjoy Christmas and don't want to be a part of it. They have other places and ways to celebrate Christmas that they enjoy and I don't begrudge them that. I just don't want to pretend anymore that it means anything more than hypocrisy and pain to me. The best present they could give to me is to understand that not wanting to be a part of it doesn't mean that there's something wrong with me.

    Given that, am I fighting an uphill battle that I will never win?
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My Mom managed it. But then we always knew she hated it didn't come as a shock. Although the grandkids were always disappointed she was such a downer on the holiday. lol

    Mom will enjoy xmas dinner and company........the rest she hasn't done in more than 20 yrs.

    I don't know what's wrong with just having a dinner gathering to enjoy the good food and the day. The kids are grown. Why do they expect presents?

    I'm going to be lucky if I can squeeze enough money from the budget to buy the grands a present each. The adult kids have already been told that they probably won't be getting presents. They don't have an issue with it.

    in my opinion no one should be "forced" to celebrate a holiday they don't like. But I've not managed to get out of Easter and Thanksgiving...........But at least easy child has taken over those holidays for now.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    If you don't want to do it, you don't owe anyone an explanation. Just tell them that this year you will not be available. Could you can husband possibly leave town for a few days---get away to somewhere you can enjoy each other and do something you would enjoy?
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I have loathed Christmas for a very long time now. I am tired of all the expectations. It has not helped that husband's b'day IS 12/25. For 37 years I've cooked and cleaned and wrapped gifts to create that perfect day, you know, the one Jane Eyre watched from the doorway as all the fortunate guests were celebrating the holiday? When we had all three kids living at home I was so busy trying to make everyone happy while observing the b'days of both gods in my life (LOL) that I never stopped to think of myself.

    It's hard to admit that I never have the spirit. I'm glad I can say that here! Thanks Witz for letting me express it. Last year I said "NO TREE!!!", my neighbor was appalled and insisted on getting us an artificial one.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We haven't had a tree since 2002. I get some funny looks from people who come over during the season. Even if we did want to celebrate, it seems silly considering it's just husband and I. And everyone knows I don't have a single Christmas decoration left after I tossed the Magi upside the wall in 2007 and sent the rest to the Goodwill the day before Christmas.

    Getting away would be great, but do you know how expensive it is to go someplace on Christmas? I always say "Let's say we're going out of town then don't." I'm looking pretty hard at the RCI site to see if there are any decent "last minute vacations" available, though...
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I think that once our kids are grown and have their own families, we have every right to determine how to spend our holidays. And if that is home doing what we'd do any other day, that's our business, our right, we've earned it.
    Christmas can be so stressful. I don't think I'd even stress if people were upset. If you express to them it is NOT personal to kids, grandkids, extended family etc, and that rather it is personal to YOU (your choice, your needs etc) then you've done all you can do.
    I have to say I love Christmas. But I love it because I enjoy making it special for my kids. As they are getting older, now that Santa is done, I have started to enjoy different things than I used to. I enjoy the delicious food and I enjoy cooking it myself. But I don't really enjoy cooking for extended family, just those here at home. I stopped gift giving in my family and S/O's family years ago. I was honest with others, that for me its more money than I can afford, it is stressful shopping, it is tiring getting them delivered, and it is not the point to me of the holidays so why am I stressing it? I think the first year I wasn't quite believed, and noses were out of joint. Over time everyone seems to have followed my lead and they seem to enjoy their holiday more.

    I do love decorations but I do less each year. When the kids are grown and gone, I plan to maintain putting up a small decorated tree (I love the lights sparkling) and a poinsetta on my table.

    S/O and I only exchanged 2 small gifts last year. It was enough. We will maintain that. We always exchange pj's and we will buy one special thing for each other (a book, a DVD, something small that we can enjoy on Christmas day). The kids are getting used to scaling back on gifts. We focus on time together, the 4 of us. Movie outtings, favorite foods, spending time together. When the kids are grown I intend to have a tradition of one nice gift per child.

    I think you should be enjoying your life and when something isn't pleasurable to you, you should change it to what makes you happy.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to say I have always been extremely depressed on Xmas day myself. Normally I can force myself to come out for the gift opening but then I am back under the covers. I never understood it until I got the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis. Now everyone just accepts that mom is gonna be a little weird that day. Tony does the cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of it. I simply cannot handle it at all. I dont know why I am like this either.

    Now my grown kids dont expect much in the way of gifts. They have taken on the role of gift giving. We do get them one gift each that we think they would like or need. For years when the boys were young Tony and didnt get each other anything because money was tight and we would rather spend on the kids. Now we each get each other something small. I normally get him some clothes and he gets me something for the

    We do Christmas more for the grandkids now. I think .... depending on if Cory is in jail or not...we may have the tree at his house. His trial date is on 12/14...sigh. What a Xmas present! If he is in jail, we will have the tree here. We will just keep Keyana too busy to realize Daddy isnt here. We will travel and hope for snow!
  10. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I think if you don't like Christmas then you have every right to say that and just not celebrate it. You aren't depriving others of doing what they want to do, you are just being honest and saying what you yourself are going to do (or not do).

    My mom and sister and niece and I used to exchange presents til we decided it was more stress than we needed. I like it better this way.

  11. ML

    ML Guest

    I encourage you to give yourself permission to let it go. It's ok, you are a very loving and giving person and you can express that in your own way. The Jehova Witnesses are on to something in terms of celebrating holidays. Go for it, Witz.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    :D Thanks for the laugh!
  13. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Holidays are very difficult for me anymore. I am most aware during those times of all the absences--all the loved ones who were there through my childhood and even young adulthood.... Holidays were such special and happy times, and now all the grandparents have died, one parent has died, my former husband has died, all the aunts, uncles, and cousins have either died or moved away. And now difficult child is out too--which is actually a good thing, since she has very deliberately ruined every holiday for years, one way or another--but I also remember the special holidays when she was younger. It's very depressing.

    I know I need to focus on finding new traditions and appreciating my mother and other daughter. I feel in a bind between thinking I'm being selfish and ungrateful for what I have, but also feeling sad for all the special times that will be no more. My mom and I have discussed many times that we would both really prefer to skip the whole thing, but we also know that is not fair to the little one. We've got to find some new strategies, and we are working on it. One step I've decided on this year is to put the Christmas tree in her bedroom rather than in the common area. I really think she and I will BOTH be happier this way. For me, to put it in the same spot I always have would be awful this year. I need to make some things drastically different.

    One thing I have learned, which has helped on the financial end, is that my child is very content on the "Santa" end of things if there is just a large spread of "stuff." That is the main excitement, rather than what the "stuff" is, although I make sure there are at least one or two "fun" things. I fill up the floor area under the tree with things I would have to buy anyway later--such as varieties of dog treats and rawhides, large bags of dog food, spring and summer clothes she would need anyway, etc. Sparkly pencils, notebooks, and other "cool" school supplies also work. She also needs a new set of sheets for her bed and new towels and washcloths for her bathroom. Special foods also work...chocolate chips, brownie mixes, etc. I know that many children would not be happy with this, but thankfully I have ONE child who is almost always happy.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Witz, if you are able to clearly define what you DO want to do at Christmas, that might be one way to approach this.

    For example, you don't mind the food but you hate the gifts. So invite people over for brunch or dinner or dessert or wine and cheese and be specific that no gifts are allowed. Hopefully they will believe you about the gifts. If they don't believe you this year, cheerfully hand them the gifts back and they'll believe you next year. ;) You could do this Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas....or on the 28th to really break tradition.

    Considering how strongly you feel about Christmas, you have a husband you love so I'd try my hardest to find a romantic getaway for a day or two. It would probably be the most pain-free independence move of all.

    Good lucki!
  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Could you do something like what a lot of Jewish families did/do for Channukah?. Traditionally, the kids each got a little treat for the days leading up to the eighth day. Something like little chocolate or bubble gum coins covered in embossed gold foil? (in my mother's time the gifts were things like oranges and tangerines--actually quite expensive back then and hard to find in the winter).

    Then on the last day of the holiday, each kid got on "big" gift which often was a desired item of clothing or the like.

    You didn't see the expensive gifts until the last few decades when well-off Jewry started feeling the need to compete with Christmas.

    It was always a fun family gathering with some real history behind it. Channukah actually isn't a major holiday on the Jewish religious calendar.

    Sometimes I think that Christians have to fight really hard to remember the "reason for the season", and the whole gift giving thing turns into sort of a greed-fest.

    I actually enjoyed Christmas in Germany where the emphasis wasn't so much on gifts as it was on friends and family gathering to celebrate. The Christmarkets were fun to to go with all sorts of handmade toys and tzhochkes and cookies and candies.

    There was still a very strong religous component to the holiday that seems to have gone missing to a degree in the US
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I love you with all my heart, and I understand your stance on this. I agree with those that have stated that you do not owe anyone an explanation and it should be no more involved than that, but my heart agrees 100% with Suz's comments, and I'll leave it with this thought because to each his own:

    I do not celebrate Christmas one day a year. I do my best to celebrate the Spirit of giving 365 days a year with everyone I meet. Makes it easier to tolerate what man has turned into the biggest commercial farce where everyone can supposedly have a feel good one day a year -then go back to being ugly, hateful and think 364 days are wiped out by one day of cookies, tree trimming and tinsel. Just like being hypocritical and not being a decent person all week long and attending church on Sunday then being a jerk Monday thru Saturday.

    I think however you celebrate your life everyday is the reflection that you project to people on holidays as well. No need for trappings unless they hold some sentiment or meaning for you. I'm certainly not decorating a Maypole....but I had kids. ;)mK. Doesn't necessarily have to be anti-Christmas - just adjusted holiday to suit your taste.
  17. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Except within our own immediate family (meaning H, easy child and difficult child), we don't exchange with anyone except my oldest sister for special reasons which I won't go into here.

    Instead, I usually host a Christmas dinner in my home the weekend before Christmas and invite all my family. Whoever shows up will be treated to a nice meal, lots of wine if they so choose, and sparkling conversation. I do bake my sister and her daughter some gluten free items, but we're bakers, so it's expected. We also usually have my birthday cake that day as my b'day is 12/27. I freeze the leftovers for Christmas day grazing when it's just us.

    The way I got out of fretting and buying all my family and their kids gifts was by instead making a monetary donation to a local women's shelter or Heiffer. It satisfied everyone, especially me (and hopefully those on the receiving end). No expectations of a gift exchange left more time to just enjoy the day. And I let everyone know the 1st of December what our charity of choice is.

    On Christmas day, H and the girls and I open our gifts, have a hearty breakfast, veg for a little while, go to the movies and then the girls go to their boyfriend's homes and H and I curl up with a book or nap. It's really a very low key easy Christmas and each year I enjoy the solitude more and more. No dressing up, no pretending, no extra expenses. It's wonderful!

    I forgot! I use greens from my yard and woods to decorate very simply. Seems I put out less and less each year except for my moose and snowman collection which are the only things I add to anymore. Can't be bothered with decking all the halls anymore.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Okay so then THIS pops in my head as I'm driving to work and talking to you this morning.....actually I was chuckling about getting that visual (again) of you kicking the manger - it's one that helps me when I'm at my lowest...can't tell you why but it just does. (thank you)

    YOU are giving. YOU give all the time. You give your time here. You send nice cards in the mail ;). You send thoughtful emails. You have a unique approach that I respect because - well it's familiar for familia reasons of which we've spoken. So....there is no doubt that you are a giving person. That said; if you do not want to give death to a connifer and bedazzle it with over priced decorations, fight germ-infested masses, spend hoards of hard earned cash which you labored long and hard under a task master for a pittance, for offspring who are less than deserving for your advice and time let alone the brain cells it would take to burn considering which mind numbing, underappreciated gift card you should get while you try to prepare a labor intensive cooking feast which will take scads of your time and be gone in under 15 minutes? Then I say - save your cash, enjoy your time with the man you truly love, pull down the shutters, allow trees to flourish another year, and stop worrying about what anyone else thinks - and if you DO happen to venture out in a stupor and purchase any card (gift or otherwise) and can't find an appreciative recipient? I can PM you MY address :tongue:. And you can put it in a brown manilla envelope and say HAPPY day on it - sparing the drudgery of wasting any red or green ink. ~ Problem (possibly) solved. Oh and while you're out in a 'potential stupor' please pick up 2 boxes of Milkbone - er scratch that - Meaty bone dog biscuits and ((((((telepathically being sent))))) Wavy no.......wait.......Beef sticks.....for 2 very deserving babies....and one holiday hat with Elf ears for Snotty Bubba - he said he just wants to make you laugh. - I love that boy.

    Hugs -
    Anti-Trappings indeed ('cept for that spotted comedian)
    And THAT's the Truth :tongue: pfffffffffft.