100 lb. Club - Holiday Season can be difficult.....




POOKIE88
11-02-2005, 11:06 PM
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heather_dw
11-02-2005, 11:11 PM
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 :dizzy:

Heather
11-02-2005, 11:15 PM
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!


Heather
11-02-2005, 11:18 PM
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!

Heather
11-02-2005, 11:20 PM
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.

ChocLabLover
11-03-2005, 08:27 AM
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.

Jen415
11-03-2005, 08:42 AM
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.

Heather
11-03-2005, 08:52 AM
Jen -- That can be a tough choice, but I bet you don't regret it!!

phantastica
11-03-2005, 08:53 AM
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? :lol:

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.

barbygirl43
11-03-2005, 11:07 AM
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. :D 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.

lucky
11-03-2005, 11:13 AM
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!

Sheila53
11-03-2005, 11:20 AM
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!).

lucky
11-03-2005, 11:24 AM
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!

dragonwoman64
11-03-2005, 12:55 PM
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 :o :lol: 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.

glynne
11-03-2005, 03:36 PM
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.

glynne
11-03-2005, 04:04 PM
Please share ~ what is the dirty santa thing?

Goddess Jessica
11-03-2005, 04:16 PM
I hate Christmas. I know, I'm a Scrooge. I think it's a holiday of forced consumerism. I hate that. I hate feeling obligated to do anything. Especially for people I don't have feelings for.

I've tried to stop being bitter about it. Mostly because the Cute Boyfriend really likes Christmas. So, we have a couple of new traditions. On Christmas Eve, we go out with all our friends who don't have family nearby. We go to a Tiki Bar and drink ourselves silly and eat sushi and have a grand ol' time. Then, we go back to my house (within walking/stumbling distance) and watch Monty Python's Life of Brian. Christmas Day, the Cute Boyfriend and I go to the beach with the dogs - we take lots of pictures to send home to family in cooler places.

Spirtually, I've taken to participating in a non-denominational women's circle for solstice. It's great to welcome all sorts of fun traditions that I never knew about.

barbygirl43
11-03-2005, 04:33 PM
It sounds like you have great Christmas traditions GJ. I agree that you shouldn't feel obligated to do anything for anyone.

Gayle-Dirty Santa is where you buy a nice gift or white elephant (something you find around the house.) We usually draw numbers. Number 1 picks out a gift and opens it. Number 2 can then take Number 1's item or pick a new gift. Number 3 can take 1 or 2's gift or open a new on and so on. We usually limit it to a gift can be taken 3 times before it is out of play. It is a lot of fun and many times the game can be fierce.

lucky
11-03-2005, 04:39 PM
Gayle, I think there are a few different variations of Dirty Santa. The way our family does it is everyone brings a gift. Each person draws a number. Whoever gets number 1 selects the first gift. Once they open it we move to person number two. They can either select a gift from under the tree or take the gift from person number 1, and so on until everyone has either opened a gift or traded for one. We usually keep it pretty clean because of all the kids in the family but I've been to parties where gag gifts were used and sometimes they get a little raunchy. There is always that one coveted gift and then the one that nobody wants to end up with. We have a lot of fun with it every year.

tolose85
11-04-2005, 08:57 AM
I was just talking about Christmas with my co-workers this morning! I love Christmas. I love buying people gifts. I love to give gifts even more-so than receiving them-- its true! We've always had the neatest traditions, and we've always had kids around so its always a fun time. We have always celebrated Christmas on Christmas-eve. We do the Chinese Gift exchange (or dirty santa) and a Polyanna gift exchange (A nice gift, name exchange). We buy for the kids and our parents. I can honestly say, that we have a really nice family gathering and I so look forward to it every single year, even more now that I have a child. When my grandma was alive we had Polish traditions, we'd have potato soup (which we've carried on to now,) Salmon, perogies, bulbalky and we did the blessed wafer passing which was really neat. We'd all be standing around the table and we'd each have a wafer called Optlaki(kind of like a communion wafer--if your Catholic, you'll know exactly what I am talking about) and starting with the oldest memeber of the family, the person would take the wafer around in descending age order wish them a happy holiday or whatever they wanted to say ans then the next oldest would follow suit until you reached the youngest. I was 3 to last and we had over 20 people there! I will never forget that. Then, we'd all eat, have desert and go into the family room, around the tree and open gifts. We'd stay until about 10:00pm then we'd go home and get ready for Midnight mass.

Now we just do the ham and turkey thing, we still do the potato soup in honor of Grandma and we still celebrate on Christmas-eve do the present thing and go to midnight mass.

SOrry-- I got away from the point didn't I.. I just love Christmas.

Goddess Jessica
11-04-2005, 05:24 PM
Gretchen - That sounds very sweet. I understand others peoples love of the holiday, I think I'm just upset when I see what other people have turned it into.

My non-denominational women's circle - Well, it's not really a prayer circle or a discussion group. We usually gather and chat and talk and eat, then we go into another room or sometimes outside and we have some vaguely pagan rituals and some vaguely judiac rituals. We make the circle sacred by calling the corners and talking about how this is a safe and sacred space. We then cleanse ourselves in silence, we pass around a symbolic bowl of water to wash our hands (christian and pagan) and sage (for the cleansing smoke - native american). Then we usually introduce ourselves by our female lineage (I am Jessica, daughter of Noel, granddaughter of Ilene and Barbara and sister of Amanda) and we draw an angel card out of a velvet sack (angel cards are like these little angel cartoons with a word like beauty or strength or peace) and we tell the group what the word might mean to us right now. Then, we have a ritual about the holiday - this last holiday was halloween or Samhain. So, we did a ritual to celebrate our ancestors and we talked about deceased ones or ill family. But it's also considered the pagan new year so we wrote a bit about bad habits or bad things we wanted to get rid of in our life and burnt them to a crisp. Then we lit a candle for all the new things we wanted in the new year. Then, we close the circle. I participated in women's circles in Ohio so I don't think it's a california thing. I hung out with a lot of pagans in ohio though. :)

alphabetsoup
11-07-2005, 01:55 AM
I'm glad you explained more about it Jessica - I'm so interested in the Pagan rituals and observances...being agnostic, it might be something I decide to participate in at some point... :) Thanks for sharing!!!

I love Christmas so MUCH more now that we have small children. I used to find it pretty depressing....and still, I get pretty stressed out about the gifts we have to buy, etc. But, we've pared things down in the past few years and that helps. My brother has 3 kids so we all only buy for the kids (whew!) and now DH's brother and his wife are having their first baby next March - so we will present the same dealio to them (just buying for the kids). I HATE buying for adults - I really do - except for my DH and Mom and best friends - I don't know what to get, I'm just at a loss. Plus, it's always been so hard to buy for my brother, his wife and DH's brother and wife b/c they all have WAY more money than us (I'm a SAHM!! We are poor! :lol: ) and what do they need that we could buy them?! :shrug: They always spend way more money on us than we can afford to spend on them and I just end up feeling bad! Plus, I hate feeling like I have to get *good* gifts for everyone b/c that's NOT what Christmas should be about. We want it to be about our kids and family and the traditions!

It kind of sucks b/c DH works in law enforcement and inevitably ends up working every year on the holidays - this year is no exception. But, we try to make the best of it and our family has started some really cool traditions that are so fun and we add more every year. :)

Anyway - even though most of my post is complaining about Christmas :lol: I really do love it - but it's b/c of the kids. :love:

DishyFishy
11-07-2005, 12:02 PM
I stopped celebrating Christmas years ago, as soon as I left home. I'm not a Christian, so the whole thing has no spiritual meaning for me, and I don't buy into the rampant consumerism so many other people do. I find the whole thing quite distasteful, TBH. I do give extra to my favourite charities around all the popular holidays, and treat myself to Buck's Fizz for breakfast on the day, :cheers: but that's as far as it goes.

My hubby, OTOH, celebrates Christmas in a very traditional way. I.e., making personal sacrifices to mark Advent, and starting his celebrations on Christmas Day, not 2 months before as the stores would have it. :rolleyes:

When we married, I made the conscious decision to support him in his traditions, without compromising my own beliefs, so we have a tree, and go out for dinner on Christmas Day. He buys small gifts for the kids in the family, and I wrap them. What is it with men and wrapping presents? :rofl:

dragonwoman64
11-07-2005, 02:30 PM
What is it with men and wrapping presents? :rofl:

My dad later on, when we were all older and there were grandkids, got really into wrapping presents. Fancy bows, ribbons, the whole shebang. My bf doesn't see the purpose of it :lol:

Goddess Jessica
11-08-2005, 12:34 AM
Yeah, my boyfriend doesn't see the purpose of lingerie... er wrapping presents either. ;)

dragonwoman64
11-09-2005, 01:21 PM
Jessica, I love it. :lol: Makes me think of Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates wants to wrap herself in Saran Wrap to get her hubby interested again.

I have gone the route of using those pretty small shopping bags with the matching tissue paper sticking out of the top.

Those are great. Prettier than I can wrap, too.

Goddess Jessica
11-10-2005, 02:46 AM
Marge,
For a moment, both those thought merged together and I thought you might have put yourself in a giant shopping bag with tissue sticking out for your hubby. :lol:

dragonwoman64
11-10-2005, 10:12 AM
Jessica, I'm not sure if I'm ready to be that creative wrapping wise! I have been contemplating getting some lingerie.... ;)

SwimGirl
11-10-2005, 02:06 PM
I'm definitely not Christian, but I just love Christmas because it brings the spirit of giving into everyone's life. As a society we are definitely lacking that, so I appreciate the sentiments that go along with the holiday.

Marge - you have to get lingerie! I am slightly lucky, my bf thinks lingerie just means black bra and matching underwear.. which saves me some money... heh. I just cannot do g-strings.. give me some low rise seamless brief's! No butt floss for this girl! heh.

-Aimee

dragonwoman64
11-11-2005, 12:15 PM
Amy, you crack me up. I'll probably get some sort of nightie. You know, I have a Land's End night gown (at least the short one), and I wear that with socks to bed. Sometimes it's a t-shirt. My mind doesn't travel into the land of lingerie too much, heh heh. By the time I'm any where near even thinking of thongs, no one will even remember what they are!

SwimGirl
11-11-2005, 01:24 PM
Marge - I sleep in little, and I mean little, they are NOT pg13, pj bottoms. They are basically a comfy cotton low rise daisy duke type thing, very comfy! They are red and have Betty Boop on them, and I match that with a red bra tank. Keeps the girls in place, is semi cute.. Like I said, my bf is easy to please in the dept. heh.

-Aimee