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Your optimal Christmas

Discussion in 'Personal' started by modelmaker, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    nomad's thread on Opinion about Christmas TV and coffeekid's comment that some people must be desperately lonely and bored enough to watch it made me ponder about what makes ideal Christmas entertainment. Is TV part of your Christmas? Time to play board games or falling out with your family?

    If a fairy gave you a wish to have whatever would make your ideal Christmas in terms of activity, what would it be?

    I've been thinking about the various Christmases I've had over the years, at least those I remember, and the one that stands out as the most entertaining was one I related a while back where my dad arranged for all of us to spend a few days in a hotel on the Isle of Wight. None of us knew what to expect and it might easily have turned out to be dreadful, but as it happened, the people who ran the hotel knew exactly how to keep us entertained the whole time and organised a series of activities their clients could be involved in if they wished or do their own things instead. We were all adults by then and up to that point, Christmas day was spent at my parent's house with my mum getting knackered catering for us all so I think he probably decided it was time she had a rest from it whilst still keeping it a family Christmas.

    I couldn't tell you if there was a telly or board game in the hotel. There most likely was, but nobody watched or played any. They had a band to entertain us every night, organised a treasure hunt around the island and a fancy dress ball was sprung upon us where we had to use our imagination with whatever we could get hold of to dress up in. Other things too, that escape my memory, but I recall there was never a dull moment, nor any argument.

    Maybe the thing that made it such a success was simply the fact that nothing at all needed to be planned.
  2. Quijote

    Quijote New commenter

    A few years ago we rented a property in the Lakes for a week. No tree, no TV, lots of walks, midnight Mass in a church where no-one knew us. The older children came with their partners, the two youngest came with us. Dulcinea planned it; I thought it was going to be awful, but it was excellent. We keep saying we'll do it again - but it's more complicated now there are grandchildren.
  3. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    I ****ing hate Christmas. I have ***ing hated it for years. All that false cameraderie. All the being nice to people you hate (with good reason) the rest of the year. The horrible season. The vile weather. The putrid TV. The avarice. The greed. The drunks. Ban it.
  4. Quijote

    Quijote New commenter

    Bah humbug! Jacob was the one who knew better...

  5. I certainly fancy it more now there will be a little one about the place!

    I never cooked Christmas dinner - never lifted a finger, apart from once - while my parents and in-laws were alive. Then it became my job to get up three hours before I wanted, shove my hand up the turkey's ****, peel, chop, mix, steam and stir for HOURS. The planning, the shopping, the cooking, the pressure, the expense - I used to collapse in a heap in front of TOTP and the Queen's speech and disappear into a bottle of wine.

    But you get used to anything and I don't mind it so much now. And jacob, if one thing marks out Christmas Day weather for me, it's that it's usually bright and pleasant.
  6. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    I have small children so for me the optimal will involve them sleeping in a bit (last year they woke at 2.30!! but we did manage to get them back to sleep until about 5) an 8 am start would be fantastic. Then opening stockings before a nice breakfast, then open the rest of the presents. If I'm organised I will have prepped the veg on Christmas eve (with a glass of something tasty at hand) so it will just be a case of bunging it in the oven at the appropriate time. We might go to the park if the weather is OK but mostly it will be watching TV, playing games and eating. I won't have more than a glass of wine during the day because if the kids get fractious and I am a bit tipsy it won't work out well but once the kids have gone to bed I will pour myself a little something.

    I love Christmas and am getting quite excited about getting the tree and putting it up.

    Jacob - chill out and give yourself up to the spirit of Christmas!
  7. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I loved Christmas when the children were little. That shout of "he's been!" , as they crash into your bedroom at 5am, dragging a bulging pillowcase. Priceless.
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter


    I like Christmas but get bored ( tired of other people) easily so have had enough by about 6.00pm on The Day. Managing some fresh air at some stage and games help the day along as do grandchildren. Someone else doing the cooking is good too and then being able to do whatever I like on Boxing Day is my preference but there are usually commitments. Mind you, if it wasn't for commitments I might turn into a hermit so they are good for me on the whole - it's nice when it's over though, be honest.
  9. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    My elder daughter - next year hits the big 4 0... is still the most excited person I know at Christmas! I have to say I must have done a great job at creating excitement when my girls were little....in fact I kept her believing in Santa til very late 1. because I didn't want her spoiling it for her sister - 6 years younger and 2. Christmas isn't quite the same after you find out the truth! Her form tutor at primary school told her how it is and I was furious with him - he was very very lucky I slept on going into school to see him about it!

    I understand about how people can get very fed up with the commercial side of Christmas these days, so I see where Jacob is coming from....though I do wonder whether he is trying to wind us up with his "bah humbug" stuff.
  10. coffeekid

    coffeekid Star commenter

    To put that in context - it was someone else who originally said people must be desperate to watch Christmas tv. My point was that for some people, there isn't really much else happening. No family, no friends, etc. I have nothing against Christmas tv - if there's a good film or Christmas Special that takes my fancy, I'm happy to watch it!
  11. coffeekid

    coffeekid Star commenter

    Anyway - I've always loved Christmas. I hope I always do. I still get excited the night before.

  12. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Me too CK. Love it!
  13. tidal

    tidal New commenter

    I used to love the excitement

    Now I'm just happy with a couple of bottles of wine and (on a good year) some real food

    There are worse ways of getting through Xmas
  14. scienceteacha

    scienceteacha New commenter

    What I don't like about Christmas currently:-

    1. It is dark and often cold outside at this time of year.

    2. The commericalism

    3. The feeling you should be with a partner enjoying it.

    4. The utter mismatch between what Christmas is really about and the reality

    5. The miserable 'anti-Christmas' of January 3rd onwards where talk of how to recycle a Christmas tree is the most exciting thing going.

    6. The fact that Christmas/New Years is inherently a time of review and looking back into your past and wishing you could change aspects of it.

    7. Teh fact we don;t 'celebrate' the 12 days of Christmas and have a 'closing event' (Epiphany) like the rest of bloody Europe!

    What I do like........

    1. When it actually snows.

    2. The excuse to eat a massive Sunday roast and overeat.

    3. A good excuse to drink

    4. An excuse to go clubbing on New Years.

    5. Long winter walks on days off.

    6. The fact it is actually getting lighter on Christmas Day (the timing is of course conversant with an old Pagan festival.)

    7. The fact that Christmas actually holds some magic if you're very young.
  15. I love the huge meal with all the trimmings - my husband and I always cook it for 9 of us and we enjoy the planning, the logistics, the working out which oven to use and which pans etc.

    I don't really love the present opening, I've never found a good way to do it - we all sit around and someone passes presents to each person all at once so there is a cacophony of opening and exclaiming (much of this we hear from the kitchen where we are popping in and out checking on things). By the end the children are under, on top of and behind a mountain of stuff. I'm starting to like that better - as they've grown their presents are more practical, and take up less space. There was one year when once the in-laws had arrived the tree (6') was two-thirds hidden behind the mountain of presents "under" (and around) it - when they're little they seem to have big things that cost less - nowadays it's more laptops and jewellery, all more streamlined!

    Then you get someone who has opened presents more slowly and is still opening them after others have finished (plus the in-laws have already exchanged their gifts before they come so they sit looking on while the rest of us are still opening presents) - I find that a bit awkward.

    I love the walk with the dog before 1pm when everyone arrives. The turkey's in the oven and everything else is ready to go.

    I used to LOVE the bit on Boxing Day when the in-laws have gone and the kids are in bed, and my husband and I sit on the sofa with the plate of leftovers and a jar of Hellmanns. That doesn't happen now the kids are older - they're there with us eating the leftovers (or they've polished them off through the day!) so we don't have quite the same sigh of exhaustion and relief that we pulled it off again!

    I used to hate the day before when I was trying to do a nice Christmas Eve while still making sure everything's bought and prepared for Christmas Dinner and also have beds to get ready for in-laws.

    However. Big rethink this year because my mother-in-law died yesterday. I don't know how things will be just a month after losing her so suddenly. It's going to be weird...
  16. coffeekid

    coffeekid Star commenter

    Sorry to hear about that. Were you close?
  17. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Sadly, Christmases were always hard work when my Mum was still alive, because she ritualised it and became very set in her ways. It's like there was a script to follow every year, and as it involved a compulsory 200 mile round trip to the spawning ground on Christmas Day it was rarely very relaxing for us. In the end we put our feet down and said we'd stay at home for Christmas and only travel to my Mum's on Boxing Day.

    I personally think we got it spot on when the kids were younger and we had a quiet family Christmas Dinner at home on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day there was plenty of time to mess about with presents, no rushing about preparing food, no steamed up kitchen or piles of washing up, and no lolling around belching and farting all afternoon because you were full up. On one occasion when it snowed on Christmas Day we just grabbed the sledges and went sledging while the rest of the world was peeling sprouts and fussing over turkeys. It took a lot of hassle out of the day.

    Now they're older we've gone back to what most people do - Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. It works, but I reckon the other arrangement was better.
  18. gergil4

    gergil4 New commenter

    Stockings before breakfast, drink in hand, carols playing quietly, breakfast, church - walk there and back - via a friend's house on our way back for a small tipple, home, presents with nibbles/alcohol, walk (no rain allowed), home for roast, games etc with more alcohol. Alcohol spread gently and evenly through the day so as to enjoy not suffer. Family or friends, just everyone pitching in and no rising to any bait offered.

  19. Streetcleaner

    Streetcleaner New commenter

    A typical christmas goes something like this: wake up not realising its christmas until I've started getting dressed, cook myself a bacon sandwich to eat for breakfast, open presents with my family, then go and roam the moors for a few hours. In the afternoon it goes: eat christmas dinner (which I'm not bothered about), then spend the rest of the day drinking lager and lime in front the tele. Any attempts to converse with my family ends up with my uncle and grandmother disagreeing with everything I say no matter how reasonable it is, so optimally I shall keep the social discourse to a minimum.
  20. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I love, love, love Christmas. I prefer the actual day to be just me, husband and the dogs. We still have a roast turkey but there is no pressure so I can enjoy the cooking. We tend to have one course at lunchtime and then have pudding later.

    We please ourselves. Hisself has a pork pie for breakfast. I have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. The dogs are happy to share a bit of both! The morning is spent pottering about sorting lunch and watching whatever we fancy - a new DVD or a box set of something. After lunch we all go out for a decent walk. When we get back I strip the bird and put the carcass in to make stock. If there is a decent film on we watch that.

    On Boxing Day I use the stock to make turkey, leek and bacon pie. We have some then and the rest goes into the freezer. We usually have the last of it around May. We have to have a turkey because we have to have the pie!

    At some point we visit family. This year it will be the weekend before. It spreads out the fun. All good!

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