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Different Christmas

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26 Re: Different Christmas on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:10 pm

uno

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ClassyChic, what a fabulous post and great story! You should make a post about how this change, which is a huge one, came about in your life. I would find that very interesting.

Yes, my views on Christmas are negative. But in truth it is, for many of us, a very negative experience. Not to say there aren't highlights of goodness in it. But overall, if there is more bad than good, time to make a change. And unless we admit freely and loudly the BAD, we will never move towards finding the good.

I have not found my way with CHristmas yet. I may never. But I have made some changes that bring it closer to what matters to me. I keep trying. ANd that is a good thing Smile

27 Re: Different Christmas on Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Fowler

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uno wrote:
I am highly suspicious of people who enjoy Christmas. I think there is something wrong with them. I ask myself, do I enjoy endless hours of frantic housecleaning, housecleaning that is simultaneoulsy undone by the other people who live here and don't care about a clean house? So it's like cleaning a house twice. CLean it and then work to keep it clean behind people who are mindless slobs. I do not enjoy this. I resent this. I think about buying a tazer.

Hmmmmm, you did say you live on a mountain, didn't you? Are you just North of Whoville? lol!

I do enjoy Christmas. There could very well be something wrong with me but I grew up with the grumpiness and non-stop cleaning and I wanted no part of it. Seemed like we would have to clean the house every two days as Christmas approached. Large batches of baking were done and then sent to the freezer in case company came. Nope, not for me. We relax and enjoy.

uno wrote:
Do I enjoy planning a menu that is based mostly on what OTHER people like? I am not a short order cook. I do not like cooking. I do not like the mental burden of planning a menu, orchestrating thaw times, can I make the dessert a day ahead? Where will I have room for all this stuff in the fridge? One year I put my Christmas baking in a gallon bucket and the one moment I set it on the floor to do something else, the dog ate it all. One Christmas days before I was to have a houseful of people, I was laying on the bathroom floor sick as a dog with some stomach event. The other two within hours were also bathroom bound with extreme pain, weakness, chills and other unpleasant bathroom events. We were all very, very sick. And I dragged myself off the bathroom floor and in as bad a shape as everyone else, tended them. Still weak and shaking the next day I pondered aloud cancelling Christmas. They moaned, they whined, awww that would be horrible. So while they recovered on the sofa under a quilt, sipping soda, watching a video, I staggered around getting everything done that you have to to have a houseful of people in for Christmas dinner. I thought about buying dynamite.

We decide as a group what we would like to have. Christmas eve is always a soup/chowder or stew. Something that can be made in advance and easily reheated. We try to do the feast but don't stress over it. One year we had big plans. A snow storm was due to hit Christmas Day so we cooked a goose and the stuffing the day before. If the power went out, we would be able to do it all on our wood stove. well the power stayed on but we just didn't feel like cooking, so our Christmas dinner was goose and stuffing. Awesome!


Your bit about Christmas cards was a bit long to quote but you hit the nail on the head there. The Christmas card had a place back in the day when we had to write letters to stay in touch. Now it has become a duty and a cash grab. Spend money on something that a person looks at for 2 minutes and throws away (I feel the same way about all other cards too).

Are we related, because I think I get that same Christmas letter every year. "Dear Family, Here is a long letter about our great life and wonderful children and the many trips we have taken." Ummmm, I'm pretty happy with my life too but you don't hear me bragging about it.

I'm not even getting into plastic versus natural. I enjoy it but the reason I enjoy it is that I relax and allow myself to do so (no, I'm not laying on the couch while wife makes the meal).

28 Re: Different Christmas on Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:51 pm

toybarons

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KlassyChic - Congratts On feeling better about yourself and your life. Change can be very scary and uncertain but it is a good feeling when you can look back and say it was for the better.

I have been on both sides in opinions on the Christmas letter. When I was younger, I would say I felt cynical about it. I felt like the people who sent them can't be bothered to pick up a phone or drop you a line all year, yet they can write you this letter they have copied and sent out to who knows how many others. THWPT =P to them.
I felt the same about Christmas cards. I used to get real negative about the number of cards I got vs. the number of cards I would recieve. Used to think I took the time to send you one and you never sent one back. Again THWPT =P to you if you can't be bothered.

Most of this was due in part from being raised having a mom who would take the time to write and keep in contact with everyone in the family and having a dad whose life lesson to me growing up was "A friend is only as good as their use of is to you." It took me years to unlearn much of what dad taught me and embrace what mom tried to teach me.

All the critisms I had about others, I was just as guilty of. When mom died just a couple of my months before Christmas, I had no idea if I should send out cards to these people I hardly knew or should I not. I sent out my own Christmas letter, the very kind I used to sneer at. That is when I realized that I was pretty much in the same boat as everyone being too busy or not knowing others well enough to actually talk to them. I did it and really didn't concern myself too much if they were thinking as I once did.

Christmas 2011 I didn't send out a letter, just cards. It was a year that was very negative for me. I was having great difficulty with dad that I was worried I was developing a serious health issue. The doctor said it was caregiver's stress. Thankfully, my doctor also treats my dad and has for over 20 years. My doctor was able to talk to me on a more personal level than someone who didn't know dad. I told my husband that I had to just step away.

I had more than a few relations tell me that they missed getting that letter. They actually looked forward to it. They felt it was their way of finding out what was going on with us. I realized that it is a way we connect even if it's just once a year.

29 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:16 am

KlassyChic

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Thank You Uno and Toybarons!

One of these days when I have a bit of time I might just make that post Very Happy

Toybarons the Christmas card is a good way to connect especially with relatives we do not know well. My Gran has 13 brothers and sisters and only two have passed, we are a large family! If I had to keep close contact or be calling all of them I would be having phone rants like Uno Razz


30 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:52 am

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Klassychic, thank you so much for the compliment. I do appreciate that. My view of life is that it is meant to be lived. So many people are stuck in a rut, unwilling to take a risk to change and unhappy where they are. They get sick because they are miserable. I first opened a business when I was 32 years old, a flower shop. I did not have much money at all, just determination. So, then in life, it has been this will to chance things that others do not, to learn and to grow, that has driven me to do the many things I have. Now, farming is a great learning curve. What I am learning is beyond books and the internet. The primary goal was to completely rid myself of ego - an extremely difficult goal. One day, maybe you will have time to share your changes.

Toy Barons, I feel for you with caregiver burnout over the management of your father. I understand that 150%. Fowler, if all husbands were like you, the women would not feel so stressed at Christmas time. Uno, you will find your way with holidays, I hope. When you get to the stage that I have arrived at, where everything is peaceful, you wake and sleep with the natural biorhythms of your own body, you eat well and do as you please to the greater extent, then holidays like Christmas and Easter will just be fine. It has taken me going on 59 years to get there! The first exercise was to awaken to whom I was, to not like myself that way, and to take steps to improve to be the person looking back in the mirror with a smile.

To all, be kind, be compassionate, be full of love, not just at Christmas, but every day, always, even to chickens. It is the only reason humans continue, in my humble opinion.

31 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:06 am

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Been reading all the comments and I am a bit dismayed that no one has mentioned the most important part of Christmas ! It's more then 99% for the kids ! I get stressed every year and I hate buying anything that is plastic , but to see the look on my son's face is priceless ! been trying to convince my son that he is better off saveing his money for quality products instead of all the stuff that fill's the landfill's .I love seeing the faces on the children at Christmas ,there joy is our example ! we neeed to do as the saying goes and "" look at the world thru the eyes of a child "" We seem more centered on how it effects us and maybe that is why we seem to feel the way that we do about the subject ? Anytime that you can share something with a fellow family member or friend etc should be a good feeling not ? But back to the reason for the posting .We have a regular ""Green "" Christmas tree that we cut ,decorate as traditional as we can ,glass orniments etc ,but when my son wants to hang one that he bought that is plastic ? we do .I would say that the only good thing that I have ever seen come from plastic is Fence Poles ! ......nuf said !

32 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:19 pm

toybarons

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prairie dog I understand Christmas is for the kids. I can't comment on it though as I don't have them. Knew from a very young age I was not a kid person, never wanted them. The same for my husband. Not knocking anyone who has them cause bless you guys that do. I do recognize that you are right in the Christmas is meant for kids and I can just imagine how you guys feel when you see your kids happy. Must be a good feeling.

I know one thing I am taking away from this topic. I don't hate Christmas so don't worry Fat Ewe. It isn't your fault Very Happy *hee hee* Seriously though I think I feel more connected to Thanksgiving as I have got older than I do to Christmas. For years now I feel like that is when my New Year starts. I have never like New Years Eve. I have feelings about it that I better not go into cause I will likely do for NYE as UNO did for Christmas with her wonderful rant.

You guys are wonderful. *huggs*.

33 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:05 pm

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ToyBarons you are right ..........you don't need kids to experiance them ,just seeing them in the mall and watching them is full filling in itself .The laughter is something that we as adults can ever replicate try as we may .I also like Christmas ,just not the way that it is "" Sold ""

34 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:47 pm

toybarons

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You know prairie dog, maybe you have hit the nail on the head. In some way, that maybe the real issue is how Christmas is "sold" to us. Both you and Fat Ewe. Maybe what some of us have to do is get back in touch with what the season really means rather than how media sells it and tries to tell us how we should enjoy it. Back to basics.

35 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:50 pm

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Christmas is magic when there are children, it is true. How many of us are or were guilty of buying too many presents when one would do?

36 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:04 pm

uno

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Hello, this is the Grinch speaking (yes Fowler, it took me a while to get that reference, North of Whoville, hmph!)

As everyone who reads my posts knows I'm a humourless, miserable sod who wouldn't extend herself for a fellow human for any reason. I've never done a kind, thoughtful or feeling thing in my life. Mad

I have now written and deleted several posts. There is no point. I agree with everything you all are saying. Get back to basics. It's for the kids. Find the spirit. Those once a year cards can be a form of communication and in fact, in some instances, I do believe that to be true. And yet...my heart falls to my shoes and I want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I PUSH myself through the season and it is painful.

I truly wish I could be bright and peppy on this, but it's just not there. SOmehwere this went off the rails for me and I haven't found my way back yet. I am holding on to what The Fat Ewe said and hoping that one day the light comes on (solar powered made from recycled glass)and I know what to change. But for now, drink a toast and send a friendly thought my way because in the upcoming months, I need all the help I can get!

37 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:16 pm

Fowler

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I referred to Grinch in jest (as I'm sure you know, I never would have dared make such a joke with soemone who was truly humourless and miserable). You claim to hate the holiday and yet go to all the trouble you listed? Doesn't sound like someone who hates it to me.

Very true. It's a whole different experience when kids are involved. My own experience growing up is one reason I want our season to be so laid back. People complain that I'm hard to buy for, but that because I don't want anything. Seeing the kids so excited that I'm drug from my bed before sunrise Christmas morning, that's the bestest!

Incidentally, we often make a strata for breakfast Christmas morning. There are many variations, one year we did one where you layer bread, ham and cheese down the length of a narrow pan, pour a scrambled egg mixture over it and leave it in the fridge overnight. Easy for a bleary eyed adult to pop in the oven the next morning.

Uno, I went back and reread your post. I'm thinking what you need most is some HELP! Stop trying to do it all yourself.

38 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:35 pm

toybarons

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Uno, you may be an old miserable sod, but you are a wonderful one. I enjoy reading your posts cause I find that yours are often down to earth and you say the things other think but will not say. You have little fear in speaking your mind & heart. I will think positive thoughts for you and send them your way in hopes you get through.

I have the same problem Fowler when it comes to presents. I have found as I have got older, I really can't think of anything I want. Thankfully, the day is just between me and the husband and he doesn't press me for anything. He usually gets me something bird related cause whatever it is he knows I will love it.

39 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:44 pm

coopslave

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I grew up in a HUGE Christmas family. My mother was, and still is, Christmas CRAZY. I have to say though, I think my parents did it the right way. We never got big stuff through the year, we always got it at Christmas time. We knew Christmas would be BIG, every year. Skis, or a saddle or a bike, never through the year, always saved for Christmas. It made it and exciting day for us kids, I can tell you.

Mom always had a huge group for Christmas Eve. At least 20 people. It would be a pot luck kind of meal and then games. She always had a few group games and then we broke off into groups to play what we wanted, this was when we were all grown up and no kids left!

Since getting married, we really don't do much of Christmas. We don't have kids and when we moved to Australia I can tell you that 40C and the sun not going down until 9:30pm really didn't inspire Christmasy thoughts for me. We would end up have a couple of friends over and have a huge seafood BBQ. That became Chrismas for us.

Since coming back, my family wants to make it a big deal, but I am pretty much over it. I HATE the stores and going to town. The pressure everyone puts on everyone else, I am just not interested. We often have stupid cows that calve early and all the cows need to be fed everyday that time of year so really it is just anther day for us.

I understand you Uno, I am just not really Christmasy anymore, even though growing up it was a wonderful time of year. For me it really is for the kids and since we don't have any I just really can't wait for it to be over and have the sanity return!

It seems to start so much earlier every year now too!!!!

40 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:15 pm

authenticfarm

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coopslave wrote:I HATE the stores and going to town.

I shop online for almost all of my (non-homemade) Christmas gifts. I avoid stores from November until mid-January just because people are INSANE. Order online, get them delivered to my PO box (or, occasionally, delivered right to the recipient), pick up at my convenience. I'll never go back to in-store gift shopping!!

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41 Re: Different Christmas on Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:35 pm

toybarons

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authenticfarm wrote:
coopslave wrote:I HATE the stores and going to town.

I shop online for almost all of my (non-homemade) Christmas gifts. I avoid stores from November until mid-January just because people are INSANE. Order online, get them delivered to my PO box (or, occasionally, delivered right to the recipient), pick up at my convenience. I'll never go back to in-store gift shopping!!

Me too. Then again I tend to shop year round online whenever I need anything.

42 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:51 am

Fowler

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Looking around, there are a lot of people who don't care for the season. lots of sites with (what I thought were) pretty good tips. Not all of them are even about getting into the spirit but rather how to get through it as painlessly as possible.

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43 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:40 am

CynthiaM

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Oh my gordon!! Uno you never ever once cease to bring an enormous smile to my face -- even my Husband says you should become a writer (yes, when something triggers my giggle chain, and I think he needs a good laugh or two, I will read him one of your crazy posts, and I have read him a good many). I love the way that you write, told you that, and will tell you many times more. A gift you have there girl (breakfast soon I hear?)

So...yes, Christmas, a most interesting event. We celebrate this. We have family dinner, either of our Daughter's homes, just dependent on who wants to do stuff. We all work together to make this an easier time for whoever cooks. Friends are always invited to the family Christmas food celebration, and some come. There are people that have family that is not close enough to visit, so we are their family. Sometimes our children and theirs will be visiting their folk in Alberta. So the family unit is not whole, but there are years when we are all together. Usually one Daughter and her Husband will go to family in Grande Prairie, the next year other Daughter, her Husband and Sons will go to Edmtonton, they toggle years, it all works out in the wash.

Gifts. Yes. We have gift giving, I would not have that any other way. I am much of a traditionalist, and part of this celebration is to give gifts. These are not crap gifts, these are gifts that come from the heart and are always things that are well used and needed.

Sorry. I do like bling and some of my clothes and clothes related things have bling. Just me, my kids are the same too, clothing has bling. And I like it.

Christmas is basically a very quiet time in this regard. Other than the Christmas dinner, there is just quiet visiting, mornings relaxing, nothing too hard pressed at all. We would love to go down at Christmas time to the coastal Lower Mainland, where we lived our entire lives, up until June 2010. Both my Husband's family members and mine live in that area, but that is a horrid time to be travelling that Coquihalla highway. We usually celebrate a big family event down there long before the bad travelling conditions set in. Ya, we are actually going down to the coast this weekend for family reunion. Hoping the roads are travel worthy. If not, we go anyways. Even Christmas dinner events at our old home were shared. All women (and men too) would pitch in a hand and help to make the dinner event go smoothly. It was wonderful to see so much unison, to lighten the load. I have a very large family with 5 siblings, with each having an average of 6 children, which are now mostly married with many children of their own. We are Great Auntie and Uncle, imagine that to me is odd. So Christmas was and still is, family, family, family. No travelling far and wide to visit unless we so choose and there is no pressure, EVER, for us to go anywhere if we so choose not to. Quiet, family time. Santa Clause always makes an appearance, every year, and has for many, many, many years. Just a short appearance. If there are young children he will sit them on his lap and have a little talk, if there are no little uns present, the adults can sit and have a little talk too, if they want, and sometimes one does. Mostly he just appears, wishes the most wonderful wishes for the new year and leaves. He looks goooooood in his Santa outfit. Never forget the time when my 6'8" Nephew, at the age of 14, sat of my Husband's lap, he almost squished him to pieces. Never forget the look on his face, a very big boy, and probably weighed double what my Husband does. He had growth issues... Excellent post, and have those beautiful days, CynthiaM.

I love my Santa

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44 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:48 am

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Lovely post Cynthia, simply heartwarming.
When life was difficult for me, I sat on Santa's knee and cried my eyes out. I said the only thing I really wanted was peace and could he help? You see, my life was anything but peaceful for so many years, just a constant terrible strugge, with no money, three children to raise and one of them who was special, no husband and no help and nothing seemed to work. Sometimes I would lay face down on the floor and scream (when no one was listening only). I asked God why things had to be so difficult. Santa's eyes were wet when I left his knee. He said he had no magic, but if he did, he would help all the single moms that Christmas.

To keep with the thread...
We did make all of the ornaments on our Charlie Brown tree for many years, mostly out of salt dough. We painted them and proudly hung them. The ornaments the kids made at Sunday School, and at public school were there too. We could not have afforded anything else anyhow. Then, one year, I found an electric motorcycle at a garage sale and splurged. We had to take it to Grandpa to show him what Santa brought. I made most of the children's clothes and pretty things for my daughter's hair. Dressed in their little blazers and bow ties, the boys were so proud. My daughter wore a beautiful flowered dress with a pink bow in her hair. Then, terribly, tragically, some time during the Christmas day the electric motorcycle was stolen, right off the second story balcony of my parents' two story home. The children were heartbroken, as was I. From the adult perspective, I could see the joy of giving stolen from me, the money, which we had so little of, gone, and from the eyes of my children, the great heartache of loss, totally incomprehensible loss. When they had so little, finally got something so wonderful and then in a flash it was gone, stolen...well, we all felt violated, to say the least. And there were some things that even Santa could not fix.

45 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:09 am

KathyS

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I can understand that for some the hussle and bustle of the season and all those expectations can suck the joy out of what should be a 'most wonderful time of the year'. I hear the same things from people I work with.
I find it so sad that so many people feel they have lost the true meaning of Christmas. I look forward to the Christmas season for many reasons. I don't go overboard decorating, baking or shopping. We have a few little traditions that I look forward to, like the little light-up village that my girls and I take pleasure in setting out each year. Each little house and church was given to me by my late Grandmother over the course of several Christmases. The other tradition is setting out the Nativity scene, always on the buffet cabinet. Even when my kids were little, they always handled the pieces with great care, but expecially loved all the detailed animals: cows, donkeys, camels etc.

We always get together with my parents, brother, sister and their families although not always on Christmas day. It doesn't matter what day it is, there is always a warmth and happiness that we are able to be together. The cooking is shared, and clean-up time is filled with jokes, stories and laughter to make it less of a chore.
The gift giving is minimal amongst extended family. All the nieces and nephews are teens now, so they take part in the "group gift exchange" too. Each year we choose a theme - this year it is "Think like a Mayan". So we each bring a fun gift worth about $25.00 and there is a dice or card game that you must win in order to choose a present from the pile. When all the gifts are opened, there is a mad rush of trading until the timer goes off...then you must keep the gift you have at that time.
REally, its all about enjoying some good family time. I love Christmas. I love to keep it simple and traditional, and luckily so do our families.

http://www.hawthornhillpoultry.com

46 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:50 pm

Hillbilly

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Christmas has never been overly enjoyable for me, but I blame my work for that. I'm a courier, and come december, it starts to get busy, near the end, it has me at my wits end, fighting ignorant shoppers parking illegally, parking in loading zones, then so hell bent on getting their shopping done, they are blissfully ignorant of me pulling a 1000lb skid through the mall, and having to stop it abruptly as some dumb shopper walks blindly in front of me.

By Christmas, I'm ready to sit in a corner and chew on a crayon.

That said, Christmas is for my wife and I. I don't travel. We don't go anywhere. If someone wants to see us, they come here. That's the way of is. I feel no guilt or remorse. They can gladly show up on BOXING DAY and we will celebrate Christmas then. Most years I work Christmas Eve, sending some frantic dumbasses parcel out that seemed to forget that Christmas comes on December 25th every year and leaves it too late to mail.

I sound bitter, I sound angry, but I am not. I am quite happy with the way we spend Christmas. Its quiet, peaceful, and its my time to unwind, and enjoy a few days off.

I decorate the house with my plastic lights that I bought in 1992. I hop on the quad, and go cut down a Christmas tree and tow it home and decorate it.

Speaking of 92 , I think it was then that I told everyone I do not celebrate the Hallmark Christmas so noone will get cards from me.

My wife gets a sheet of paper, folded in half, and wished a merry.
Christmas individually from all our critters, signed off by each with an appropriate hoof, paw, or footprjnt

47 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:17 pm

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Hillbilly, your Christmas card to your wife is very thoughtful and original. What a great idea!
And with your stressful job,it is no wonder that you want to relax and stop driving on Christmas.

Mind recipes Fowler...that is a pretty interesting place.

Perhaps it is not that we do not like Christmas, but we dislike what it has become. The demands put on us, the need for tinsel and wrapping and decorations and lights, the extra expense...now that is amazing.

The average Canadian will spend $587 this Christmas according to one survey and $1137 according to another.
Albertans will spend much more than the average, at total of nearly $1600 each, ... Christmas Shopping: 2006 in Review

And really and truly, what people spend the money on is soon forgotten. Children who receive many presents cannot remember whom gave them what by the next year.
So why do we still do it? Why do we still feel the need to hang those plastic lights, decorate to the enth degree, cook, bake and clean...when Christmas does not mean much to most people. Or does it?

48 Re: Different Christmas on Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:28 pm

Keibler77

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Alright...so I have been reading all of your posts and I can't help but to toss my 2 cents in.

I will be totally honest from the get go and say that I am one of those people who do not particularly care for Christmas anymore. I do have 4 children however; and so still celebrate for their sake. If I were alone...Christmas would simply be a day off; to be enjoyed by sleeping in; spending the day in pj's; drinking hot chocolate; watching my chickens; maybe snuggle up on the couch with a great James Patterson book...etc.

Yet..here it is...me having to try to be at least a little jolly for the kids. I have to admit that I agree with the fact that seeing my kids so excited on Christmas morning; racing into my room and dumping their stockings onto my bed to show me what 'Santa' brought them...well there is just nothing like it really. However, I notice that I can ask my kids what I bought them last year for Christmas and most often, they will think...and then say they don't remember. Well then...why all the fuss and muss?? Why spend countless hours wrapping gifts just so that same expensive paper can be ripped to shreds within seconds and tossed in the trash?? Why spend hours upon hours and days upon days searching for that "perfect" gift...then actually feeling GUILTY if Gordon forbid you didn't spend as much on one person as another; or you ran out of money and forgot someone; or someone got one more gift than the others....seriously?? Racking up credit cards, going into debt, feeling like you're a complete shmuck if you don't get everything just right. GRR!

The kids and I do have our traditions to try to keep Christmas fun...every year in the last week of November we all head out to the tree farm to pick a perfect little tree together, cut it down, throw it on the sleigh (along with the kids) and haul it home. We drink hot chocolate, eat popcorn, and feed the reindeer. We always pick a cute little "Charlie Brown" type tree..and on December 1st (well AFTER Remembrance Day) we decorate it with homemade ornaments that have been in my family forever..to make the little tree look proud and beautiful.

I long ago pitched out the whole idea of a bunch of garbage gifts...yes, made with plastics. They now only get one gift which they have to wait all year for, and it is always something extremely useful. A few years ago the kids and I talked about the true meaning of Christmas, and to my surprise and great pride..they all suggested that instead of giving each other a bunch of gifts, we use the money to sponsor a child from another country who needs our support. Since then, every year the kids come up with a new way to use our "Christmas spending" money to help others. I can't help but to be a proud mother when the kids find such joy in giving instead of receiving.

I don't send cards, I admit that I don't write letters (although I believe we should take time to write letters more and 'text' less), I don't put up lights, I don't buy wrapping paper (recycle the comics in the paper), and I don't play Christmas music or sing carols **shudder**. I simply enjoy time with my family and my children, and Christmas morning I indulge them with a smile and much joy when I see their joy.

I must say...my absolute best gift EVER was from my sister a few years back now. One thing my sis and I enjoyed together on Christmas Eve was to snuggle on the couch with egg nog and watch the Christmas special of Little House On The Prairie (my absolute favorite show of all time...to this day). It was the first one where Mr. Edwards braved a raging blizzard to bring gifts and friendship to the Ingalls family. Well...long story short the young girls end up receiving nothing more than a tin cup, a stick of candy, and a shiny new penny--and they were THRILLED by these small gifts. I would say to my sister that it's so sad how us humans can't appreciate the small things anymore...we expect so much..bigger...better...faster...brighter...richer! I had told her how I wish people could find joy in the simple things...like a tin cup and a stick of candy.

The Christmas of 2008, I sat on my mothers couch, my sister beside me, staring at me and eagerly waiting for me to open my gift. A tiny box...and inside it, a long white tube sock. Inside that tube sock, I found a tin cup...a stick of candy...and a shiny new penny.

I still have that tin cup and that penny to this day.

The stick of candy...well you can guess where that ended up Wink

49 Re: Different Christmas on Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:58 am

toybarons

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I did a Gift Of Hope last year. I bought some chickens and peanut butter through an organization and these gifts were then matched by corporations. It really made me feel better.

50 Re: Different Christmas on Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:54 am

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Keibler, your family is similar to mine as it was. My kids are now 28,29 and 30! We had a tradition where the children were asked to give a gift to a child they did not know (through the church). They should chose the best they could offer for the child they were giving to had less than they did. It was acceptable to give a toy that they no longer played with, but more praise was offered if they chose their best to part with. Families with young children still have the magic of the season. I can remember how my parents looked forward to any holiday when the grandkids would come. Maybe those of us without the children around are tired? Maybe we have been used up? Split in more directions than we realize?

When I was teaching music to young children in public school, just before the holidays, I would show them a short video. The story was the true meaning of Christmas, the reestablishment of the magic and faith and the joy. It was set in early French Canada. A young teen and her grandma lived in a shack in the country. They sold the lace the grandma made for their only income, but that year none were buying, and grandma told the grand daughter that Le Petit Jesus would not come that year. A little gift was left for the baby and in return, he left a little gift for the giver. The girl left a few coins in the dish and a thief stole them because he was hungry. He left nothing in return and the girl's faith was shattered. The thief pairs with a trapper, who teaches him about life and the following year, the thief returns to the place where he stole the money and leaves a good sum in the little dish. The teenage girl's faith in Christmas is completely restored and grandma, who did not put the coins in the dish as she usually had, is also reawakened to the joy through the eyes of her grandaughter. It is a touching, lovely story and every child watching it loved it. At one point I was taken to task for showing a movie that was Christian in intent, but since I always included multiculturalism, the issue was dropped. I don't know the name of the movie, but if you were ever able to find it, I am quite sure it would compete with the little house on the prairie you love so much.

Toy Barons, hope is sometimes all anyone needs..the light at the end of the tunnel.

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