Christmas preparations 

Hello Dear Reader,

I make no secret of the fact that I don’t like the commercialism of Christmas. In my opinion, and that’s all it is, I think that too much money is spent, too much fuss is made and it can and does cause a lot of unnecessary stress for some people. You may love all the present making, the cooking, the shopping and house decorating and if so then carry on but don’t feel you have to join in if you don’t want to do so.

As every year passes, I feel less inclined to join in at all and less bothered that anyone else does exactly as they please. I don’t go to Christmas parties and never have, nor do I buy new clothes or do anything out of the ordinary to my house. I do look forward to a couple of weeks off work and like to use the time to do some DIY, outdoor maintenance, get out for some brisk walks and use the dark evenings to catch up on craft and reading. We will be in France for the Christmas break and it’s very un-commercial in my experience. No Christmas music piped into the supermarket, no crowds buying everything in sight, no feeling of anything much out of the ordinary except boxes of chocolates on sale which are not normally there. It’s an old fashioned time for families and just about everything shuts including the bars and hotels as they have families too and want the time off.

I’m writing this as every year, as soon as the buy stuff for Halloween adverts end, the buy stuff for Christmas starts. I used to change channel, hit mute or turn off the radio. It irks me less now and I sigh and roll my eyes less now. I’m more able to accept that people will do what people will do with every passing day. I still worry about families who will rack up massive debts and overspend leaving them financially short in the new year with the same bills to pay. I wish they were more fiscally sensible but I can’t change the world with wishes.

I can share some thoughts for anyone reading this now who might feel under pressure do spend what they don’t have or to make preparations for a celebrations they feel overwhelming. It’s just this. Stop. Take a deep breath and evaluate what you can afford and want to do. It’s just a day. It doesn’t need anymore food than normal and you house doesn’t have to look like a grotto unless you want it to.

We do celebrate a very low key Christmas. At some stage, I will invite family round and we will have a Christmas meal. I will give token gifts to immediate family and we will have a steak and some Port on Christmas day itself. That’s our way. It doesn’t affect anyone else and they way anyone else doesn’t affect me.

If you feel overwhelmed, under pressure, busy to the point of bursting then feel free to take a step back and ease off the fuss. I will be sharing a few low cost recipes and ideas but don’t feel any need to do anything at all if you don’t want to. I don’t think it needs to be expensive, fussy, stressful at all and can be just a lovely time in the middle of winter to have a few days off and relax.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Christmas preparations 

  1. I completely agree. When we didn’t have children we didn’t bother with decorations or lots of food. Now we have three small children we do a lot more because I enjoy creating that sense of magic for them. I also try to teach them that you should give a gift without expecting a gift in return and we do Christmas shoe boxes for children less fortunate than them. We go on a shopping trip to get items for the shoe boxes, and on that trip we only buy for the shoe boxes, nothing for ourselves.

    Did you happen to see the Sarah Beeney series on channel 4 about clearing your mortgage? A lady on there had her own idea of the 5/2 diet. You can only spend for 2 days of the week. I think I’ll be trying that idea myself.

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  2. I totally agree. Growing up, we did not celebrate Christmas at all. When I married, each child got one gift and usually not something they wanted. We did get together with my husband’s family for church and a meal. That was it. The rest of the time was spent at skating, taking hot chocolate and or tea in a thermos, to drink around the fires. Now that I am on my own, and my kids and grandkids have to be elsewhere. Our Christmas has become Christmas Eve service for which ever can make it and we do a meal once everyone can be together. Sometimes that goes into mid January. We do have turkey as all of use share in the left overs for sandwiches, casseroles and turkey soup. It is quiet but very enjoyable.

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  3. As I once told a friend who’s husband was on the verge of cancelling Christmas, Christmas can be whatever you want it to be. We don’t have to follow the crowd. Be different. We decided that we would only buy for the grandchildren at Christmas. i go to a lovely family service at our chapel on Christmas morning where the children show and tell some of their presents ,then my husband and I have a very quiet day .the whole family get together on Boxing Day to eat pizza and if the weather permits we all, 8 of us, go for a walk in a local park. No screens just time to chat, play and enjoy each other’s company. Perfect

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  4. Over the past few years I’ve encouraged my family to spend less and for the first time we’re not buying each other gifts. My mother-in-law won’t agree to this and so I asked her to pay for a trip to the movies for my husband and me whilst she babysits. Likewise, I asked my husband to take our children out for a morning and let me stay at home. Both of these gifts will be amazing.

    I’ve pared back our decorations this year and this will make it easier to put them up with the boys. We also make a Christmas shoe box and my children come with me to donate food to our food bank.

    We have bought a board game for our oldest child and a V-tech bus (second hand) for the little one. Grannies/Uncle have bought a dress up set, a selection box, one set of PJs and slippers for each boy. The boys are also getting a stocking with 4 small boxes of cereal (a huge treat), cloth hankies and a bath bomb or water bottle. I think that this is plenty and will allow us to spend time together on the day rather than opening gifts which will end up being sold within a year (I’m doing this just now with last years gifts!). Our boys have become accustomed to not getting lots of “stuff” (in comparison to most) and other adults have commented on how appreciative they are, which is just beautiful.

    In addition to gifts we will be having a buffet. This also reduces stress a lot and again let’s us spend more time together.

    I’m looking forward to a quiet, relaxed festive period.

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  5. Indeed! I have and continue to find it so appalling; but am becoming much more comfortable with my own ability to simply choose to opt out of much of it. Like you, I’m grateful for the time off and perhaps some special food. But the obligatory decor, gift-giving, parties, etc.–not for me. In fact, I think there are a few others who would like to do the same, but still feel obliged.
    Your blog is lovely and I’m grateful for it–you are wise, gentle, and kind in your sharing of great ideas.

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  6. I really look forward most of all to having my husband son and girlfriend home. Im not interested in the gifts though i do appreciate the home made crafts i often get more than anything and enjoy cooking a christmas dinner. But i dont overspend.or.over stock because i know tlheres no.need. and you have to get a grip and remember its only one day and eating and drinking too much is so stupid. I long for a woodland walk on christmas day but we always have a brother and elderly.member of the family over who wouldnt appreciate it but so far its just.us this year so hopefully my wish will come true.

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  7. I purposely didn’t mention Christmas plans to our family until very recently. I asked what their plans were ….”we’re coming to you aren’t we…?” was their answer. So now I’m cooking for 10 adults plus 2 children. Although it’ll be lovely to sit down with them all, I’m secretly not relishing all that extra cooking!!

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    • Why not do a buffet, and ask the adults to contribute? Someone could bring a Christmas pud, another could provide the ice cream, another the roasties and so on. That way you’re not landed with all the work, and it spreads the cost. Seems more fair.

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  8. We do celebrate Christmas, although if I didn’t have small children it would be a lot less.

    The small ones get gifts on the basis ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read’. We don’t however buy ‘things’ throughout the year. We don’t give pocket money etc.

    Our dinner is our usual roast dinner, all on a budget. Our snacks are what we would bake any other week, only cut out with Xmas shapes to make it ‘fun’ for the kids.

    We celebrate Christmas more by doing free activities, small things from reading a book, spending time with someone we don’t see enough, helping a neighbour with a chore, making christmas cards from stores.

    We don’t and won’t go into debt for Xmas, the small ones gifts are planned and at most £100 in total for the 3 of them. We make token gifts for close relatives from the kids and the only christmas cards given are those also made with the kids.

    We have many happy memories of playing cards/eating homemade biscuits and reading stories etc. I feel lucky my children don’t expect piles of gifts and things.

    Whatever the way you choose to spend Christmas I hope you have a lovely day with those you care about. x

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  9. We stopped giving Christmas gifts about twenty years ago, and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We don’t put lights on the house any more although I would still like to. We are just getting too old and it’s too much work. I do like to bring evergreen in the house. I like the smell. We also have Christmas dinner and the grandsons come to eat. I am trying to tone down the cooking for the holidays as we both need to lose weight. We got through Halloween with no candy. YEA! But I will bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. For sure.

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  10. I love to decorate the house to within an inch of its life, but this year I have vowed to not spend one more cent on it. We all enjoy the decorated house and other people’s children come over to see it and to guess how many reindeer are hiding this year! As for presents, these days we do a fairly low cost Secret Santa arrangement which is within our budgets. Food is a little more luxurious than normal, but quantities are not dissimilar to what they normally are. We laugh and play charades and catch up. It’s lovely 😊.I regret not being as low key as this when my own kids were younger, but they all love to give within their means and spend time with each other, so maybe it wasn’t so bad really.

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  11. Several years ago we stopped putting up a christmas tree or decorations. My children were all in their 20s by then and no one could be bothered putting the decorations up and taking them down and putting them away later. I would have been happy to have decorations if someone wanted to put them up and take them down, but I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I gave away our christmas tree and most decorations on freecycle. We have also cut down on presents, though Miss 23 and Miss 25 like presents, they don’t need them. I have requested no presents for the past several years for all my celebrations – Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day. All I want is to spend time with my ‘children’ – share a yummy meal, play some board games, maybe watch a DVD, have a few laughs. Time with my adult children means more to me than anything else.

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  12. One nice bit about being single without kids is that I’ve never been pressured to host a holiday! For Christmas, I enjoy the lights. I have a small tree that goes on the side table in my living room. I leave the decorations on each year, and cover the tree with a plastic bag for storage. No need to redecorate the tree each year! I buy one modest gift for my goddaughter. I will make one type of baked good (cherry scones) for my workplace and a few friends. I go to church on Christmas Eve. I spend Christmas with goddaughter’s family. I bring a dessert and a bottle of wine. I’ll enjoy seeing the neighborhood homes decorated for the holiday. I send a few cards and enjoy those I receive. I spend little on Christmas and it’s so much better that way.

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  13. One year we shunned Christmas as we didn’t want to go to a family lunch (long story) and we found it quite liberating having a small family lunch for 4 at home. We just ate what we wanted, drank what we wanted, ate lollies and chocolates and ice cream if we wanted. It was actually so much fun and really enjoyable. We did see our extended family around Christmas just not on Christmas day.

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  14. I completely agree- Ive turned down going on the works christmas do, cant justify the cost of it.
    Christmas in the past was stressful and guilt ridden with wider family forcing the agenda. Three years ago we changed it to just us 4.
    Most of the few xmas presents i need to send are already at my mums wrapped.
    My 2 kids I tell them how much I can afford around Aug and let them budget what they want to do with it. I find they are more responsible and request more appropriate stuff -so less waste.
    I buy a main present from Aug pay packet onwards.
    Food we go out for xmas lunch but shop around on deals and book in Aug.
    Extra treats ive been saving up my sainsburys rewards so should be free.
    Has a Christian we consider the whole of dec has a period of waiting and of reflection, similar to lent.
    The main thing ive learnt-to buy less and not to feel guilty
    X

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  15. We put a £50 limit on each other last year, everyone else gets around £20 – which sounds a lot but there are few to buy for as we have no kids. I buy a lot 2nd hand from Amazon (I get really excited when it costs 1p then the postage on top). I also try to get things that are wanted. My Mum wanted a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cookbook, 1p and the Marriage of Figaro, 55p. As we get older, I find I need less stuff but I still get bought “stuff that people think I’ll like” which invariably sits in a drawer and clutters up the house! I do buy the Christmas wrap and stuff in the sales in January. Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive.

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  16. Great advice! We stopped gifts a few years ago and don’t decorate the house, its so much nicer without the stress. If only I could convince my mother-in-law to cook for the 5 adults at lunch instead of enough for twice as many!

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  17. I love Christmas! I save regularly throughout the year and have never gone into debt for it. My parents are sadly no longer with us and I made an agreement with my wider family to stop exchanging gifts years ago, so now I only have to buy gifts for my 2 Daughters and Husband. I put the same decorations up every year and spend no more on food than I usually would. We do have turkey – I buy a small one as once is enough for us. I send cards to the people who bother with me throughout the year, I usually make these and make a point of hand delivering them so that I can spend time with the recipient. We like to do things together as a family, visit the neighbourhood lights, walk round the Christmas markets, attend a carols on the green service, watch DVD’s and play games. For me, Christmas is about striking a balance – we have a lovely time without buying into the commercialism of it all.

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  18. You may change your mind when you have grandchildren. It does not have to be a budget buster but they so love to come to the grandparents house and have Christmas.

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  19. The problem I have is my family have a lot of money and with it comes a high expectation. Year on year I’ve told them not to spend so much on my children and that I can never spend as much. Nor would I if I could, because I believe it is OTT but every year it’s the same. I tried to tell them again before they brought this year but they think I’m being a Grinch. One family member turned to me the other day and said they were only spending £250 on each other this year (both adults) as they’ve just brought a house. I grew up in a wealthy background but they can’t understand that’s not how my life is now. 😔

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