Well, the holiday season has started!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My dirty little secret is that I always have more stress than fun. First of all, we always have two celebrations. We go to Illinois for thanksgiving and christmas to see PastryChef and her SO, which means that we have to either stay with family or book a hotel (which is far less stressful but often too expensive). There is always at least one person who can't make it on the designated day. Although we have a lot of fun, the four hour drive and rush is a stress. My husband does not come with because he has to babysit all of our pets. Yes, you read that right. We have four dogs and three cats and we can't afford to board them all and one of the dogs is too aggressive toward strangers for us to hire a petsitter. Anyway, once we get home (usually a few days before the actual holiday) we finally have a quiet, peaceful second holiday with husband and the two kids who still live at home.

    Christmas is harder because of the financial stuff. We have cut back on present buying, but we still like to give something to everybody and I have to make sure I mail everything to my grandson in Missouri, although sadly I don't get to see him.

    I always feel rushed around the holiday season. Yet I'm always so happy at the memories after it is finally over. How does your holiday season usually go? What are your traditions? Who do you see? Do you also feel stressed?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We've always had weird stuff, with kids going to bio mom's every other year. So our main tradition is lighting luminaria on Christmas Eve - rain, snow, whatever.

    I've determined this year will be less stress. I'll decorate - for us. We're not having a Christmas party like we usually do. We're going to my parents' for gift opening. Turkey Day? At home, quiet. Last year we went to father in law's (including mother in law, which was interesting) - and there were about 40 people in a small house. UGH.

    NYE will be us and possibly BFFs and their kids. That's it...
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm too flexible to have stress. And we stretch our holiday celebrating throughout the months so it's not all at once. I'm flexible with holiday meals because easy child being a nurse is as likely to work the holiday as to have the day off. Plus her mother in law is anal retentive over holiday meals and is a PITA. We've been known to have xmas dinner on xmas eve or the day after xmas........same with Thanksgiving. Leading up to the holidays we do the baking ect for them so it's not all done at once. Something I set up years ago when the kids were small. Everyone does the baking ect.....keeps it from being on one person both cost wise and work wise. AND we usually make up a huge batch of stuff to give away as well.

    I'm much more cost conscious this year. I'll be using my coupons to death to get through them as cheaply as humanly possible.

    No real tree this year. I found my small one I love while doing the bedroom yesterday under a pile of "stuff". omg

    I let the kids figure out what they're doing with in laws before making my meal plans with the idea that it makes it less stressful on them too. The holidays is supposed to be fun family time, not a stress fest.

    And I get the can't leave the animals thing. I've got the same problem.
  4. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    My Mom and I were discussing plans last night. It's that time of year.... Ours actually starts on Nov 10th when all the B-days start coming up and keeps going through to the New Year. We have 11 birthdays over the next 8 weeks. Then add the holidays to that it is quite a bit. And a real strain on the budget.

    We decided that on Sundays we will do birthday dinners. It's the only day that everyone can make it.

    Thanksgiving will be at my Mom's. It used to be about 7 - 10 people. This year it is going to be a lot bigger. We have Grandma and Grandpa with us. Plus we are inviting one of husband's brothers. (His new wife is approved of with husband's family - I however, like her so they are coming to our dinner). We will have close to 20 people this year.... 2 of them wheelchair bound due to Parkinson's.

    We haven't even started to think about Christmas yet. All I know is that I'm going to do my standard christmas gifts for husband's family. There are so many of them that we really can't afford gifts for all, so I do a lot of baking and ship off home-made gifts. Everyone loves them and I can cover about 20 different couples for under $200.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ohhhhhhh I know about that birthday thing! Mom's is sometimes on Thanksgiving, day before hers is nephew's, day after is BFF's oldest boy. Mine in December, shortly before Christmas, then Christmas, New Years, Dad's birthday... There are more but my brain is dead this morning.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    we have three adult birthdays in NOV, Dec (I'm one of them, smile) and my niece is in Nov and the worst....MY difficult child is beginning of jan. Makes life hell. If you think Halloween is bad for us...wow, should live my life at that time. (oh, that's right, you all do!) I tend to write off Halloween through Valentines day. ONLY a huge part of the year but oh well..... Easter is not as terrible.
  7. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I like to go all out for the holidays but over the years I've learned tricks to make my holiday more stress free. Today I am starting my fall cleaning - I do a room a day, when I don't have anything else scheduled. As I do each room, I put the Christmas lights around each window. It looks beautiful from outside and with our weather here, you never know if it is going to be so you can put up and take down outdoor ones. I won't turn them on till after Thanksgiving but they will be DONE plus, before I go away for Thanksgiving, I'll put up the few outdoor ones I do. Then when I get home from Thanksgiving, all I have to do is plug them in and the outdoor lights are up and done.
    I shop all year and buy things for people as I see them. I am going this Thursday to finish the Christmas shopping. I always used to enjoy shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the stores were decorated and they were playing holiday music and everybody was in a festive mood but lately people have gotten so rude and it has become so commercialized that I refuse to shop after Thanksgiving. Buying all year long makes the financial burden less and also relieves stress at the last minute.
    When I get home from the Thanksgiving trip, I spend several days putting up the rest of the decorations. Then I will use one whole day to wrap gifts and one whole day to do cards and send packages. Then I take a week where I bake cookies and other goodies every day. I freeze ahead the stuff that can be frozen to save trouble at the last minute. Our menu is about the same every year so I know what to shop for and how to organize things.
    I think the key to being stress free is planning ahead and being organized. Of course, it helps that I am retired so now I actually have a lot more time to do everything.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. Keep it coming. This is not only helping me (I am so disorganized), but it's so interesting.

    Did anyone else hear that Walmart is having layaway this year? I used to do a lot of my presents that way then they took it away. I'm really happy it's back, at least for toys and electronics. You all got me motivated. I think I"m going to go to Walmart to look around and maybe put a few things on layaway. Christmas is going to be lean this year. My youngest is fifteen and the adults don't need a lot of presents. The only one getting more than one present is my grandson and I already shopped for him. I think I"ll send gifts in December, maybe one every week.

    We have one birthday...November 1st and that's my son who lives in Missouri. But my older daughter, PastryChef, is graduating from school in December (with honors!) and I want to get her something nice, maybe pertaining to cooking...I'm just not sure what. Ideas welcome. Any great magazines or books out there for an avid cook? Prefer patry? She's my ex-difficult child who used to do drugs so, needless to say, I am just so proud of her...
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I learned to be flexible about holidays once the kids were grown and the family was scattered. I have one brother here, one still in Florida, and a daughter,sister in law and grandson in South Carolina. My son and I will have Thanksgiving on Wednesday or maybe even Tuesday! For the second year in a row, he and his friends will be driving down to Daytona Beach for some big car-related event that they really enjoy ... but whoever decided to have it on Thanksgiving weekend should be kicked right square in the hiney - repeatedly!

    When I was working I tended to go overboard on Christmas because I got a nice, fat longevity check in October every year but since I retired, that's gone and I have to scale down considerably. We will still make our Christmas trip to S. Carolina because I've been saving up for it. Luckily, one of the techs from our vets office keeps my four dogs at her home every year. She charges about half of what a boarding kennel costs and they get a lot more attention when they stay with her. I leave huge amounts of dry food for my outside kitties and they have a big water dispenser so they'll be OK. Who knows what will happen when we get there. Since my sister in law is a police officer now, he works 12 hour shifts, alternating between nights and days every few weeks so we will have to juggle how we do things. But still, we will all be together, we'll get to see the grandson, and it will be lots of fun, and that's really what it's all about.
  10. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I usually get x-mas shopping out of the way early... (like August early), so I don't have that to stress about. Then all we do is mail out cards and pictures to family and friends. Being that we are so far away, it's hard to mail actual gifts. So the pictures suffice. Then on Christmas eve I make what I can before hand (like the pies), and on Christmas day I finish the meal and we open our doors to anyone who doesn't have a place to go and would like a nice home-made meal. It usually turns out pretty fun. We do the same thing for thanksgiving (open the doors). I just like to cook. :)
  11. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    easy child will be easy this Christmas.... and I won't have to give him his present until after I get my tax return. Since it's his senior year at colllege, my Dad gave him a weeks hotel stay in Vegas for Spring Break. All easy child wants is Money. So he will get an IOU for Christmas and be thrilled. At least that is one done - a 100 more to go.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, our birthdays begin in October and go all the way until December 27th (me)! For thanksgiving, it looks like H and I will be driving to Pittsburgh, yay, 10 hours! I'm not asking easy child or difficult child to join us, it's just too damned much. Thankfully, mother in law is going to California for christmas so I won't have to deal with her. It will be a quiet one this year. Likewise for my birthday. I don't do gifts for any other family, instead I make a donation to the the local women's shelter and that's that. easy child needs money for a trip she's planning and I don't know about difficult child. Times are lean.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This post comes at a time when I am a bit flummoxed about the holidays. Normally we had Keyana here for Thanksgiving and would either do it at my house with Cory and my immediate crew and then she would go back to her mom...or She would eat with her mom and then come to my house the afternoon of Thanksgiving day and stay the weekend. This year she isnt going to be in NC. Jamie hasnt been coming down here in a long time. We had gone up to see him a few times but he is going to his wife's father's for both Thanksgiving and Xmas this year so that is out for us this year.

    We dont know how Xmas is going to play with Keyana either. We hope we are going to be able to have some time with her but given that her mother will be served with visitation paperwork, I am not gonna bet the farm on it. I dont particularly like the holidays too much. I will buy the gifts. I will wrap them up and if I have to mail them off, I will do that. I pretty much know what I think everyone would like. Maybe. Im not so excited anymore about it. Im not gonna knock myself out like I did before.

    I imagine we will have xmas with Cory and Mandy and if Keyana can come to see her sister that will be fine. Bah humbug.
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    geez Janet, You know, two years ago my sister decided to take her kids to disney for the holidays we have strong routine plans for the holidays and even though it was for a fun reason, it really stunk to have the plans change and miss my sister and her three (of my parents 6 grandkids) gone. I feel your sadness at missing her so much and the change in the celebration. I hope something good happens. you deserve it.
  15. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I love Christmas and normally am thinking about it tons. Iw since we had thanksgiving weeks ago here. I'm not in Scrooge mode but am really feeling matt's absence. I've never been apart from him and thanksgiving was hard enough. I'm glad his girlfriend's family is large and wonderful and has taken him onto their hearts. I'm sad for our loss of him and the massive distance.
    We will bake early on December. I will host a small family turkey meal on the 24th and we exchange gifts. easy child goes after dinner to her dads so she doesn't have to pick between the two of us and she stays a week.
    Matt asked for money for the car he is saving. I will mail him and his girlfriend a small box with pj's and a little something.
    easy child is doing a exchange to either Switzerland or France in the summer but is working for me and her dad to earn the money. She will get a few simple things and money for her trip which costs $2500.
    I admit I'm the spoiled one this year as I get the engagement Ron I picked as my gift. I'm not big into jewelry but I'm excited for this ring. It's beautiful and I'm sentimental so it holds much meaning for me.
    Shopping for s/o is the only thing unknown this season. He's a tough one.
    I'm thinking this year will be quiet and very centered on just relaxing and being together which isn't a bad thing.
    My new to me older sister will be coming for a few days which is exciting.

    Janet, I hear your sadness in your post. I truly hope you can see K and if you can't that something else sparks some holiday joy for you. I wait every year for your posts because you are always planning and enjoying yourself and make me smile. I'm glad you have a new grand baby to snuggle.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Given everything going on right now... Christmas is making me feel like Scrooge. Normally I love it...
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    believe me, I am trying. I am going to buy the gifts even if we cant see her. I sent her and her brothers Halloween baggies and plan to replace the phone she supposedly lost when I get my check when I get my check on the 3rd. She only called me a few times so I am only putting about 8 days of calls on it though. If she needs more days, I can always add more.