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Holiday Season can be difficult.....

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Old 11-02-2005, 11:06 PM   #1
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:11 PM   #2
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Oh, I agree. I can already start to feel the stress...

trying to buy gifts for people I only see once a year.. dealing with body image issues that are magnified by holiday parties..

trying to pay bills and pay for christmas too.. trying to get everything done in time.. aggghhhh
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:15 PM   #3
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I usually love going home for Christmas, but not this year. My parents are going through a divorce (after 40 years of marriage!) and it's in the not-pleasant stage right now. Just thinking about it makes me feel stress! I'm trying to plan a trip home for as short a time as possible!
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:18 PM   #4
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Pookie -- I know what you mean -- we don't have kids either. I am actually very MUCH looking forward to seeing my nephew, who's just over a year old, but fear it will be blunted by all the other... crap?

But, worrying about it may only make it worse, so I'm trying to PLAN without WORRYING... and if anyone has a cure for THAT, let me know!
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:20 PM   #5
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heh. Posting right on top of each other! I am SOOOO grateful for all the support on 3fc. I think it's made a huge difference for me to hear other stories and realize how, no matter WHAT the issue, someone else seems to really "get" it.
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:27 AM   #6
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Pookie, ain't it the truth!!! For years I dreaded this time of year, because it was always a very unhappy time of year for my mom, and unfortunately, she is the type of person that if she is unhappy, everyone has to join in on the fun. I used to wonder what the heck was wrong with my family around the holidays as there was always more fighting and stress than was usual. It was not until years later when I had moved out on my own that actually began to enjoy the season. I started doing my own traditions and finally enjoyed the season. I guess it is all about boundaries and expectations (I must be watching too much Dr. Phil ) I love what the season promotes, as well as all the decorations and the feel good movies (c'mon, how can you not watch It's a Wonderful Life). I guess everyone just crumbles under the pressure.
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:42 AM   #7
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This will be my first Christmas away from "home" (Indiana). I am choosing to not put myself in stressful situations. While I wouldn't mind visiting with my sisters, I can do without seeing my mom (long history of abusing me and her denying it ever happened). As an adult I choose to not contact her. Bottom line: I do not feel any obligation towards her.

As far as presents go, I don't exchange gifts with any of my family. I do buy for my niece and nephew--that's fun! My BF and I exchange one gift, unless we agree in advance to save our money for a weekend away or something. Last year he bought me a silver heart necklace that I wear every day.

This year we will spend time with my BF's son, then have a nice Christmas dinner with our friends. Very low key.

I am proud of myself that I have made the choice to do what I want to do for Christmas, and not what others expect me to do.
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:52 AM   #8
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Jen -- That can be a tough choice, but I bet you don't regret it!!
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Old 11-03-2005, 08:53 AM   #9
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I don't remember seeing that Hallmark commercial, but that would nauseate me! Where is the drunk aunt? Are they singing after the two cousins argued and stormed out?

I had a rough summer and early fall ... with my son moving to his dad's (and moving back home after his dad had an abusive outburst), a stagnant social life, and a too-quiet job. My son is back and I'm glad about that, a new job starts on Monday, I'm actively pursuing better health, and I AM READY TO CELEBRATE!

I've decided that I'm going to enjoy purchasing gifts for Christmas this year. I usually try to go with a theme. This year's theme is books! Everybody is getting a book. It won't break the bank and should go over pretty well.
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:07 AM   #10
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Yes it can be a very stressful time. I vowed this year I will be happy with a maintain weight-wise. I am still working toward being healthy but I refuse to have to deal with the mental battle over every little sweet and treat that comes by me. I have planned days where I will eat whatever I want and how much ever I want. I'm going to focus more on getting in more exercise and on the days that were not planned days to eat what I want I will just make up for it in exercise. We'll see how that goes.

As for Christmas shopping, I'm almost done. With 3 kids, one birthday on Nov. 9, a birthday on Dec. 27 and another on Feb. 3 I have to start planning a year out. We still have to buy Chris's santa gift (a new 24" bike that I will wait for the day after thanksgiving sale) and pick out one for Lilly but that's it. Jeff is picking up Chris' birthday presents this weekend. We put them on layaway last month and then just paid $20 a week to get it paid off.
Lilly is having a barbie themed birthday and I have a couple of gifts put in layaway for her. I'll hit the day after Christmas sales for the bulk of her birthday gifts. I bought William's party favors (the 2-3-4 b-day) on clearance last year for around $3 for plates, napkins, table cloth, etc for a spider man theme.
I just ordered my brothers, their girlfriends and kid's gifts from ABC last week and just have Dad left and dirty Santa gifts to get. I'll have to end up getting the ILs their gifts but I'm going to have Jeff help me pick them out and hopefully be done with all Christmas shopping by the first of December.
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:13 AM   #11
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Christmas used to really stress me out. I felt an obligation to have gifts for everyone whether I could afford it or not, I attended every function we were invited to whether I felt up to it or not, and on top of all that I wanted our house to be smothered in Christmas cheer. I never actually saw the Hallmark commercial you are talking about but it sounds exactly like what I was striving for.

We have since drastically cut back our activities. I only buy presents for the children in our family. This is actually something that everyone has agreed to but I'm the only one who ever actually does it. The first year I was the only one to show up without gifts for everyone I felt like such a dolt. But it is so silly that we'd stress over what to get one another because all of the adults have everything they need and, for the most part can go out and get the things that we want. And frankly, if there is something my sister (mother, aunt, cousing, etc.) wants but can't afford then I can't afford it either so it isn't like I can make any Christmas wishes come true. I usually bake or make some hot chocolate mix, etc. as a happy. Sometimes I'll make donations to charitable organizations in our family's name and just give them a card saying that is what we did. I have my kids make something for their grandparents. But I only shop for the kids I'm close to.

We've scaled back our own kids' Christmas too. At first it was out of necessity. Once the twins came along we just couldn't afford to go all out. Their grandparents always showered them with tons of stuff, though, and we have asked them not to do it anymore. The fact of the matter is that younger kids enjoy the holidays more if they aren't overwhelmed by stuff. Sure, every commercial sends them to find me singing, "can I have that?" But, the years I've actually tried to get them everything they asked for they still gravitated to a couple of their favorites and the rest got put on the shelves and forgotten. So, now, I pay close attention to see which items are consistently asked for - the things that they seem to REALLY want.

We've come up with some Christmas traditions that are just as exciting to them as opening presents. When they go back to school and so many kids are talking about all of the stuff that they got mine are telling what all they DID. I know that it won't last forever. But, for now, they are still little and if I can make them happy without breaking the bank I might as well take advantage of it. We'll do things like put cookie trays together on Christmas Eve and deliver them annonymously to our neighbors. They get such a kick out of ringing the doorbells and running off. Plus, the next morning when all of the kids are outside playing with their new toys they are all talking about the "Christmas Elves" that delivered cookies and my kids feel so cool about their secret. I get them all disposable cameras so that they can take their pictures on Christmas morning. That is always a big hit. And since they are more excited about opening presents than what is inside I always wrap up stuff that I was going to have to buy for them anyway - bubble bath, toothpaste and new toothbrushes, etc. I am sure it sounds cheesy to some people but I swear those are usually a bigger deal to my kids than the toys. I have no idea why but they love that stuff.

Another thing I've gotten really good at is accepting help when it is offered and asking for it when I need to. I've always felt like I had to take care of everything. If I hosted our family for the holidays I felt the need to do everything myself and try to create a Norman Rockwell moment. It never, ever worked so I quit trying. In fact, sometimes we don't even do the big traditional sit down dinner anymore. Instead we will have a ham and a turkey, put out rolls, chips and dips, vegetable trays, meatballs in the crockpot, a dessert tray, etc. and just let eveyone graze all day. It takes a lot of pressure off of everyone because there isn't a set time to be at the host home. It is a come and go event and much easier than trying to organize the entire family.

Jen, I think you SHOULD be proud for doing what you want to at Christmas. You deserve to enjoy the holiday as much as anyone else and there is nothing selfish about it. I understand where you are coming from. My husband's family lives in Ohio and it was a tough choice the first year we decided to spend Christmas there instead of with my family. But, they had a huge snow fall on Christmas Eve and my kids got to spend all week having snowball fights, sledding, and building snowmen. That just isn't something we can offer them here in Mississippi so I don't regret my decision one bit. The holidays are as much about the memories you make as the day itself and this may very well be the one you look back on and cherish the most. So, enjoy it without any worry over what anyone else might have expected of you!
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:20 AM   #12
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I had a "feeling blue" attack about Christmas the other day. Last year, all my (adult) children were home for Christmas, and we had so much fun. This year, it will be my DH, me, and my Dad. Kind of quiet to say the least. And once Christmas comes, it will be one year since I've seen my daughter.

But I do love the season--the lights, the window displays, the holiday boutiques, the singing, etc. So if I concentrate on that, then maybe I won't think too much about how quiet it is at my house.

Jawsmom, sounds like you have a wonderful plan. I love Christmas traditions--they're something the kids will remember forever (mine do!).
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:24 AM   #13
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Dawn, we did a dirty Santa party last year and it was so much fun. The gift we brought was a game called Lightening Reaction. It is a shocking game where everyone has a joystick, music plays and when it stops you push your button. The last one to buzz in gets a little electric shock. I am telling you the guys in our family were fighting to trade for that one (they wanted it for deercamp, work, etc.) and we played it all day long. If I remember right it was only about $20 which was right at our parties spending limit.

I just thought I would mention it because I always have a hard time coming up with something cool to bring to parties like that. The website is shockingfun.com if you happen to be interested.

And, by the way, I feel for your schedule. I have three kids too and their birthdays are in October and December. Then my husband, sister, and BIL all have birthdays in October and December too. I have to buy stuff throughout the year or I would never get it all done!
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:55 PM   #14
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Pookie, you hit it right on the nose for me! I think that's why I didn't want to give up the expansive Thanksgiving spread we usually make, I wanted a Norman Rockwell experience and it's more like Addams family I appreciated you posting this.

I loved reading your post, jawsmom. I had the idea of giving to a charity in family members' names, but I didn't go through with it because I was afraid they'd be offended (like I was trying to tell them something).

Jen, I agree that you need to make your holiday special for you. I had to make that decision too and it was tough. Good for you.

I'm trying to find more the spirit of the holidays so it's less of a stress/suffering experience and more of the fun/sharing/thankful event it should be.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:36 PM   #15
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I'm glad to know I am not alone with the holiday blues. The kids are all grown and gone now and so often times now I am all alone at the holidays. My husband has the good forutne to have a job where he can take time off at the holidays and so he goes to Houston to spend it with the kids. My job stinks with it's time off at holiday rules. It works out ok for the people who have family locally, but for those of us who have to travel, they have made it impossible to get to be with our families. So, my husband goes and I have to stay home. (Why should he miss out because of my stupid job's rules.)

Last year though ~ Thanksgiving was kind of neat despite......Kim (Inca's mama) was gonna be alone too, so we met at the Cracker Barrel and had Thanksgiving dinner together. It ended up being a very nice holiday.
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