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Discussion Starter #1
Well the Christmas season has now begun, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed by the commercial and social stresses pertaining to the way it is merchandised in our culture.
A part of me has already defected, and gone off to my happy place, where I can celebrate it spiritually with gratitude, simplicity and peace.
But the rest of me still has to face the onslaught of the usual pile of tasks and expectations.
Anybody else feeling overwhelmed already?

Last year, I slaved for months crafting and planning, shopping and baking, sending out Christmas boxes. Guess what, my parcels were sent at the first of December, but didn't arrive for 6 weeks, even the close location of less than 2 hours away. The store I sent them from was careless and dropped one off the weighing scale, then obviously didn't send them out on time. And freight costs were close to $40.00. My grandkids, and kids all had to wait and wait for those boxes to arrive. And when the boxes finally arrived, the baking I'd so carefully prepared was all spoiled and couldn't be eaten. :bang:

This year I'm sending gift cards or cheques.

And I'm not going 'Christmas shopping'; I might buy myself a box of chocolates, and after that, I'm just ducking the commercialization completely.
I will take long walks to look at the Christmas lights, set up my tree, sing and play Christmas carols, write and phone my loved ones, and protect and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas...the celebration of Christ.
:tay:
Anybody else feel like me?
 

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I have down scaled some what and have been for the last few years after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 23 one year. I am not at bare bones yet.

This year I have my tree up and house as decorated as it's going to get. Did not put up my village, my granddaughter likes to play house with it and I have been watching the village break piece by piece. I also have a huge Nativity from my husbands grandmother that I skipped this year for the same reason. Who wants to yell at kids all season not to touch anything?

As far as gifting I simplified my nieces and nephews by buying the same gift more or less for all 7 of them. I bought the same for my 2 grandchildren to go with my regular gifts, giving me a grand total of 9 sets of gifts in one day. I also did some internet shopping which I just love doing. So easy.
So yes I am learning to scale down little by little leaving me time for those sappy holiday movies, baking with the grandkids, concerts at church, and just enjoying my favorite holiday activities.
 

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My decorating has definately slimmed down. Only a wreath on the door, ficus tree decorated and candle lights in the bedroom. My place is small and all the extra decorating makes me feel really closed in and not restful. Also helps me to enjoy all the decorations in the stores and on the streets. Don't feel like christmas is being crammed down my throat anymore.

Another thing that helps for me is to have my gift buying done early. Am all done anymore gifts will be a giftcard. Oh darn, I forgot the cat. Luckily she is easy to shop for.

Usually I make a dinner for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a couple friends. This year I do not feel like cooking so won't. I did end up cooking a meal for myself on Thanksgiving and I have leftovers ready for myself on Christmas.

The holidays can be so stressful don't see anything wrong with simplifying as much as possible.
 

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Little Miss and I were making Christmas Gifts. She started huffing. I pointed out we do this for fun. It is not a chore. It is fun. It is play.

Same with making Christmas cookies/sweets is for fun. It is play. It should not be a chore.

I wondered when all the fun things of the Season that people did became chores of the Season.

Once we changed how we looked at things and did things for fun and not as chores to check of our list. The fun returned.

Holiday fun not holiday chores.
 

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I felt that way last year, but this year I decided to enjoy the season as I like and stop worrying about everyone else. I took my two youngest for pics with Santa last weekend and then had lunch with them and hubby. Didn't buy the biggest package, didn't stress about their outfits(though they did look cute). This coming weekend we will get our tree, do lunch, and get a few more house trimming items. I have a lot I am doing, but it is centered around outtings with my children and enjoying the memories I am making with them.
 

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every year I have all my shopping done before Thanksgiving. ( just started) I put my decorations out on the weekend on Thanksgiving....I have my house stocked with food, cleaning supplies, hygiene, meds, pet supplies, tp ect... ( did not happen this year it will the next hubs is already complaining) So I do not have to face the crowds and madness..it makes my holiday simple. and makes all of us happy..

yes I have scaled back on the menu, goodies, and decorations.... I like for it to be centered around the family..My favorite activity is to go to the park to look at the lights and the Santa truck on Christmas eve..my neighbor is Santa and he always has dog treats for the dogs he knows..Orey loves it and wags his tail like a pup....
 

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I am not decorating this year. There are years that I go all out and turn the house into a 'showcase'. It's a time consuming and exhausting job. Hauling everything down from the attic, the sorting, the cleaning, the decorating. Then all the empty boxes go back into the attic. Then all the empty boxes come back down from the attic, all the sorting, cleaning, packing. Then taking all the boxes back up to the attic... it's all too much for me this year. I don't have the heart or will for it. I will put up a wreath on the door and call it a day.

My shopping has been done since summer. I pick up items all year long, and I even have some of 2013's x-mas shopping done. I have no desire to go anywhere near a store at this time of the year.

2 weeks before x-mas the hubby and I will be going to Mexico for a week (we give trips to each other for all big occasions and stay far away from the clutter of trying to buy 'presents' for each other)

Then the Sat before X-mas we will be at my sister's big shin-dig. After that DH & I can head home and spend a quiet X-mas eve & day with my mom and grown son coming to town for a few day's visit. They both are extremely low maintenance and there will be nothing that I need to do to please or impress them.

So from now until X-mas time, I will just spend my time working at my part time jobs, crafting for next summer's Farmers Market and basically just laying low from all the madness that is over-taking everyone at this time of the year.
 

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I find the holidays extremely depressing....it seems worse this year. The only thing that helps is adopting families of those in need and concentrating on that. I am tired of my family wanting more and more and not caring about any of it....It's impossible to shop for my grandkids. They have the newest, latest, greatest everything....and want more. Ugh.
 

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I got 95% of my presents bought and wrapped. I'm done decorating. I wanted it all done before December started so I can enjoy it and not stress. No one is invited to any holiday gatherings at my house this year, except for Christmas dinner. Last year, Christmas Eve was too stressful and I did get to do things with my dd like I wanted. Not this year. I'm done early, don't have to look at a store or mall, don't have to rush with wrapping presents or trying to entertain people. Plus my Christmas budget is under control and we are happy!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, so many replies, and it looks like we all think the same!
So far, I have spent about 2 weeks trying to declutter my home some more; I had various craft project in boxes, and a pile of clothing on the upstairs railing ready to be cut up for rag rug strips. I'm exhausted, but I managed to work the pile down to a slim one. If I can just get it out the way already.

I'm not trying to sound like a Scrooge or a Grinch; it's just that last year, I did it all, and early, and enjoyed it, yet the freight delivery system managed to spoil it all anyway. This year I'm into Plan B, and already planning some nice crafts for next year...and if I can't send them out then for some reason, I'll pack them up in a box for the grandkids when they grow up and have their own apartment (hee, hee).

Also, I need a pair of winter boots badly, and am trying to craft them for myself by using leather and fur I got second-hand. Maybe that's all the crafting I'm going to get done this winter.

Nobody is coming out for Christmas, so I'll be by myself...2 weeks off work and a list of things to get done, while trying to recuperate.
Things have changed a lot due to the limitations of my illness...so I've had to change too.

Well, back to lugging yet another pile of Christmas shopping flyers to the basement for bagging and recycling.
Christmas-time hugs, foot massages, apple cider drinks, fuzzy slippers and warm quilts to all!
 

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My holidays will be simple. I have a pre lit tree and a huge talking santa set up in the living room. My girls will enjoy making home made decorations through out the month for the living room. I opened a bank account with $100 for my oldest which came with a debit card in her name, the card will be wrapped and under the tree so she can buy what she wants, my youngest found super hero toys she likes online so I know what she wants and those will be under the tree.

I budgeted extra money for groceries since my kids will be home two weeks from school so they can makes snacks and goodies. Instead of planning for a huge meal which is expensive to me, we make meals we like and enjoy. My kids do make plates of goodies for special people in their lives that appreciate baked goods.

We go to activities that are cheap or free in town my kids enjoy plus they have school related activities.

I learned long ago i can't make everyone happy or keep up with other people. I make sure my children enjoy the extras they recieve and we have a peaceful holiday
 

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For our holiday this year, we are going very frugal. The kids and I sat down the day after Christmas and came up with a list of things to do each day - without spending money. We have two activities each day of December. One of the activities is a service. These are simple things such as "write a letter to Grandparents for having us come on Thanksgiving, go through toys and donate unused ones to charity, take the neighbor a loaf of bread, donate books to the library, invite someone for dinner, volunteer at the rest home." We also wrote a list of fun things we want to do together. Some of these take just a few minutes and others a few hours. Some of these are: have dinner by candlelight, drive around and see the lights, make snowflakes from paper, string popcorn, hot chocolate bar, etc.

So far, so good. We've spent more time together and less time worrying about what we WANT for Christmas. I am hoping to make this a tradition. When we can plan ahead with not only our funds, but our activities, we hopefully can get much more of what really matters.

Thank you for starting this post! It has been wonderful reading what others have been doing.
 

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We've handled Christmas with a more direct approach this year. We've shared with friends that we're not doing 'gifts' per say but would rather gather with friends over a meal and catch up. Our home is in a semi perm state of chaos er construction so it is what it is. We did buy an inflatable lawn ornament - festive cactus - and when we have company or in the mood for it, we inflate it for a few hours vs setting up a tree.

For my family - there will def be no gifts. Not even sure if we're doing a family meal together due to whatever happened at Thanksgiving. BUT DH and I will continue OUR tradition of taking dad to the casino on Christmas AM and end with a lunch buffet before heading back home.

For DH's family - we chose to visit with them during US Thanksgiving vs Christmas (airfare alone tripled for Christmas) and brought down some smaller gift items in our suitcases. During the vacation we drove over to visit with my aunt's & uncle that live 3 hrs away for dad and we paid entirely for dad's trip - airfare & travel health insurance - a small fortune in itself alone.

DH bought himself a lil something, something from me :laugh: and well I did buy a few things during Black Friday sales for me/us/the home so I'm OK with that.

Everyone & everything is covered. :thumb: I'm looking forward to a pretty winter scenery complete with festive lights, tasty treats and a NO DRAMA holiday season. I'm still up in the air about Christmas cards right now. And lastly, I'm starting to research places that DH & I could possibly volunteer over the holidays.

At the risk of sounding selfish - this year Christmas is all about what "I" want. End of story.
 

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Wow, so many replies, and it looks like we all think the same!
So far, I have spent about 2 weeks trying to declutter my home some more; I had various craft project in boxes, and a pile of clothing on the upstairs railing ready to be cut up for rag rug strips. I'm exhausted, but I managed to work the pile down to a slim one. If I can just get it out the way already.

I'm not trying to sound like a Scrooge or a Grinch; it's just that last year, I did it all, and early, and enjoyed it, yet the freight delivery system managed to spoil it all anyway. This year I'm into Plan B, and already planning some nice crafts for next year...and if I can't send them out then for some reason, I'll pack them up in a box for the grandkids when they grow up and have their own apartment (hee, hee).

Also, I need a pair of winter boots badly, and am trying to craft them for myself by using leather and fur I got second-hand. Maybe that's all the crafting I'm going to get done this winter.

Nobody is coming out for Christmas, so I'll be by myself...2 weeks off work and a list of things to get done, while trying to recuperate.
Things have changed a lot due to the limitations of my illness...so I've had to change too.

Well, back to lugging yet another pile of Christmas shopping flyers to the basement for bagging and recycling.
Christmas-time hugs, foot massages, apple cider drinks, fuzzy slippers and warm quilts to all!
Wanting time to yourself and NOT getting caught up in all the craziness & madness of the season is NOT being a scrooge.

So you don't run around the stores grabbing all the crap being sold...
or drive yourself batty trying to bake, cook & generally be a 'one-man army' in the kitchen...
or decorate your house with every 'sparkly' thing you can get your hands on...
or worry that everything is not done, or perfect, or it's just not enough....

If we can take the time to look back into the past - this was NOT was X-mas was all about anyway. Gifts were handmade expressions, from the people that loved and cared about us, to the people that we loved and cared about. It was NOT fretting over and making sure that every person that we had contact with during the year got a gift of some sort from us. And people NEVER woke up in January with 'credit card hangover', simply because there was no such thing.

Dinners were prepared by entire families & generations that got together, and actually enjoyed the process of making the meal, and then sitting down together to enjoy it. It was NOT, "Okay- it's YOUR turn this year, I will take next years"... It was never the chore that it seems to have become these days.

Families went into the forest and cut down their Christmas trees together, and then simply decorated them with items that they had made or found themselves. There were no ceramic pre lit trees drug from the basements & attics and plugged into the wall sockets. It was a tradition and a 'family-time' thing. I can't tell you how many people I know that the wives are the only one's decorating the house, and have created double the workload for themselves in the process. They have become tired & cranky and I continually hear complaints from all directions.

And I could go on and on ~ but I think we all know and get the point of what Christmas has become. And it gets crazier every year as the ridiculous demands continue to grow.

Wanting to keep the sanity in the season does not make ME (or anyone else) a grinch or scrooge in any way. Saying "No, I simply WILL NOT participate in this circus" is a good thing. It shows that there are still a few 'sane' people out there that will not fall prey and be eaten by the wolves.

Just because I have made my own stand - I won't begrudge or belittle others in their choices (not verbally anyway- lol) - I may not have my own 3 ring circus going on around me, and I will still sympathize with you on your complaints, smile on your triumphs and wish you the Merriest Christmas possible. Then I will go home and sit quietly and peacefully in my comfortable little home enjoying EVERY moment of the holiday season to it's fullest!

Merry Christmas everyone!
 

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I have a little table top Christmas tree which I decorate found at a thrifty, that is the extent of my decorating. I am not buying any gifts although I will give my parents a check in their Christmas card which is the only card I will be sending. I am not doing any Christmas cooking. I plan to heartily enjoy the season by driving around and looking at all the Christmas lights and attending the many church Christmas events. I really love the musicals with the bells. I am going to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas the wonderful birth of my savior. I envision a peaceful and quiet Christmas...oh what heaven!!
 

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Woke up one day and realized that the more you decorate, the more you have to clean up... I do put up my nativities....usually three or four but that is about it....I use to decorate to the hilt but I'm smarter and older now......I usually only use a ceramic tree I made for my Mom 50 years ago but this year I will be putting up a 4 ft. fake tree....have some little kids coming to have lunch this week and I want to have a tree for them. I don't do gifts....grandkids get cash and a bag of hba items....that's it....I'm not baking cookies this year.....everyone I know is on a diet....My hubby does decorate the outside of the house with lights and reindeer....I hate that Christmas has lost its meaning and now it's just shop, shop, shop and how much can I get.....sad...
 

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Doing the same we always do
I think the commercials Constant sales ads
And Black Friday hype make people think there is alot more commercialism to it than there actually is in people's homes .

I tend to get a little down this time if year , not because of finances etc but because I never had Christmas growing up so as a child once the decorations went up , visits to friends houses went down . My mom I guess didn't want me around the houses once decorated and I think people didn't want their kids asking me why we had no decor and I guess were afraid I would tell their kids the santa secret . Which I never did or would have done.

I didn't have a tree until I was 21 after I graduated nsg school
And had my own apt .

This year planned on not having a big Christmas shopped year round as last year work was very slow this time of year

Instead I won something I had no use for in a contest and sold it , used that money for gifts for the kids ( covered a refurbed dell laptop I got a great deal on and some coach outlet goodies )

My work has been so busy I am actually needing to cut back for health reasons but have paid off a bill or two and done all buying in cash without any guilt it should be going elsewhere .

I always imagined Christmas trees filled with gifts when I didn't have it , to me it's magical , so even if its a bunch of stuff obtained year round with coupons clearance and thrifts , I tailor each persons gifts to who they are what they like etc and I enjoy the hunt.

Buying for the adopted family's thru my kids school , and that my work will have the postings about as we find patients who have family in need .

My one sadness this year is that the only family member on my side I celebrated with my Nana passed away , so there's no one from my side .
That and the fact my 21 yo , who I truly believe has some issue mentally
Well you just never know what you will get with her , and I worry if she feels stressed she will act out like she sometimes does and cause stress , my youngest is 11 , I want him to have fond memories of family , church, fun, and the spirit of giving and helping others , not just his sister causing disputes .

I am one who does not believe it's an either or situation
Gifts or Jesus . We do both with emphasis on Jesus , but I don't buy the kids things year round , new video game , movie, cd etc comes out , unless its a birthday or Christmas gift they need to buy it themselves .

So Christmas is always a bit magical to me
Our tree went up thanksgiving although we still need to get the ornaments up and after I work today I plan to put out the home decor . Yes it's alot if work to do , in fact I have been putting it off but this thread actually reminded me if the reasons I love it once I am done and can sit back and admire it all , take the magic in with a cup of cocoa .
 

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So far so good for me.Done with shopping and decorating.Things are bought and ready for charity.We have totally focused this year on so many things besides the commercial aspect.Christmas lights and cookies and movies. So much love has been shared this season.My little children have really gotten my heart this year. I used to be such a Grinch,now the little who's in my whoville have changed my heart.
 
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