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Your optimal Christmas

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

  1. bumchuckle

    bumchuckle Occasional commenter

    Optimal Christmas Day includes:

    good weather because christmas lunch is usually outside (live in Australia)

    Older male members of the family try not to smash everyone when they bowl during the traditional backyard cricket game

    We all assist with cooking, vegies are prepared before they arrive so they are just heated in the oven, roast meats are slow-cooking away in the weber (BBQ with lid)

    throw-away paper/plastic plates used to lessen the work afterwards but not plastic cutlery because that never works

    plenty of food/drink - never been a problem in the past

    no-one has to rush off to visit other family members so nice & relaxed sitting in the sunshine or shade lapping it all up
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I am fortunate that Christmas works for me.

    Family will exchange presents that recipients will want and enjoy (apart from Mother in Law who doesn't want anything).

    Everyone goes home in the evening.

    Everyone will be nice to each other.

    TV recorder will watch the TV for us.

    Daughter will be home from uni.

    Choir is busy on Christmas Eve.

    No doubt daughter will set the agenda with the TV.
  3. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    My wife has relatives dotted around West London, most of them having large families. We love visiting them over the holidays; the only downside to this being that each one will not let me leave until I have had to let out my trouser belt by a notch. Our daughter and SIL can play mein host to us on Boxing Day, when it is two notches.

    The bit about Xmas i dread is the ritual visit to my mother, with whom I do not get on. Sometimes my brother will be there too, which makes it worse. She always bangs on about being lonely and neglected, forgetting that this might be due to her having alienated everyone within a mile radius of her.
  4. Mrs_Frog

    Mrs_Frog New commenter

    I'm not a big fan of Christmas at all, especially in recent years. My mum died on 01/12/07 so that put a bit of downer on that year, and then my sister expected me to spend it with her in-laws in the pre-Kermie years. Even my father, who promised me one year that we could have a last small family Christmas before my sister had her first child went back on that promise when he was invited to my sister's in-laws. Yes, I am possibly the most selfish person in the world, but I refused to go, and spent the day with old family friends. (Irony is that my mother, although had nothing against the in-laws, certainly didn't want to spend 'important family time' with them, she was always keen on keeping it close to home)

    Its the rampant consumerism, people being ungrateful for presents, forced camaraderie when everyone knows it's 'forced' rather than because people want to spend time together. I have done a few years at a Crisis centre, although not Christmas Day, because my father asked me not to (and then ******** off to another person's family....) and that is one of the most humbling experiences I have had, and as soon as baby Kermie is old enough to join in, that is what I would like to do on an annual basis.

    One of the nicest Christmases I have had in recent years was when Kermie and I sodded off to Amsterdam for the days over the madness. It was lovely, no *** and no bullsh1t. Yes that annoyed my sister beyond belief, but there comes a time when people should stop cowing down to what others want and do what feels right for them.

    (You may have guessed that my sister and I do not have a particularly close relationship......exacerbated by the absence of Mum)

    Baby Kermie is still too young to fully appreciate it this year, so this is the last year I can be 'humbug' about it all........going to make the most of it I think.........
  5. onmyknees

    onmyknees Established commenter

    Am I the only person who really does not like turkey at all?!! I
  6. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    My dad died on 20th Dec2010 and his birthday was 30th Dec so Christmas Day falls directly between the 2 and it is tough. This is the first year since he died that I've felt quite excited and "Christmassy". When he died I thought that I would never be able to enjoy Christmas again properly but he wouldn't want me moping about.

    One of my Christmas essentials is watching "It's a wonderful life" while wrapping presents. My husband introduced me to the film and after the first time we watched it together we woke up the next morning and it had unexpectedly snowed - in London!
  7. I love Christmas too.....and decorate the room so it twinkles and sparkles, get foliage in from the garden and hedgerows...love to have people round and the family dropping in....and I enjoy entertaining and having those Christmas carol/corny TV times.

    I remember how I cancelled Christmas a few years ago..in 2012. It was the worst Christmas I could remember. It all went so sour....mainly because of lack of funds.

    I'd been retired for six years..because of ill health, and seemed to get more and more ill over the years...one condition followed another, one operation followed another. So many different problems saw me in and out of hospital over the years and all my savings and lumpsum had dwindled. I was still paying mymortgage off and things were hard..as the children were still studying.

    I had just become a Granny...and that was wonderful..but also an expensive time as all I had to live on was my occupational pension. I had to buy daughter and baby something....Earlier that year my fiancé had had his 60th birthday, and given he is such a generous man, I had spent the very last of my savings on giving him a lovely birthday weekend away. In November the baby was born, (big expense) the boiler had broken...the house was freezing...(no money to mend it) I went down with flu two days after becoming a Granny, so had to stay away from daughter and little one...in the freezing cold house, wrapped up in a duvet.

    My sister was 60 in December too..and I desperately wanted to get her something nice...My daughter and several freiends and Godson also had December birthdays. The cards and stamps broke the bank! Days later, the much-loved cat became extremely ill....so I took him to the vet. I spent the last of my reserved "Christmas present money" on consultation....and discovered he'd need to stay and be treated...costing another £300. I went home and cried, but the children rallied round and paid the bill I felt so useless and so low.

    Fiancé cooked dinner and we all went to his house, but I couldn't contribute. I felt awful. I always bought crackers...and that year we ate our dinner without wearing paper hats....usually compulsory.

    On driving home from my sister's house on Boxing Day I had to stop for petrol, and when I went to the kiosk of this dark garage...deserted too apart from the woman locked inside the kiosk, I fell over the 'invisible' step immediately in front of the till. I cracked my head on the counter as I fell, yet the woman in the kiosk wasn't able to come out and help me. I was dazed, bruised and very near to tears as I lay on the garage floor.

    I took the cat for a necessary check-up the day after Boxing Day...spending Christmas money my sister had given me on fees...and as I came away and set off to drive home, I reversed my car into an elderly man's vehicle. He'd decided to stop...park, on the kerb I had, the moment before, ascertained was clear of any obstruction....As I heard and felt the crunch of metal on metal I wanted to be beamed up....I just couldn't believe what had happened.

    I felt someone was playing a nasty game with me....the troubles kept mounting up.

    I didn't get a tree that year, or get the decorations out of the loft. The Christmas feeling had completely deserted me. I sat in the cold and wept that it was all so horrible. I'd worked all my life and had always managed financially.

    That year I decided a bag of satsumas, a cheap box of shortbread, and a box of six value mince pies would be all the Christmas fayre I'd need. The pies were so foul that I couldn't eat them. Unbeknown to anyone, I also started applying for jobs....anything to boost my income. I begged my GP to pass me fit for work and he was wonderful and spoke to the hospital consultants who'd been treating me. I had to convince them I'd be able to work..I said nothing to anyone, feeling no one would intervie, never mind employ a woman in her late 50s who'd already been retired on health grounds and had spent the previous years in and out of hospital and unable to work.

    I had an interview early in January, and to my amazement and utter relief, I landed the job. Things were looking up but I felt I was well over-due some good luck! I appreciate, reading this back, that most of my problems were 'first world problems'....but it was a miserable time, all the same.

    The next Christmas was better...but I will never, ever take anything for granted again.and I do appreciate how bloody miserable life can be when money is scarce, and how that particular time of year can be such a burden, with all joy sucked out of it because of money worries.
  8. What a good post.
  9. tidal

    tidal New commenter

  10. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    My son's funeral was on 23rd december last year. My optimal christmas this year would be to do nothing and feel nothing. I'm dreading the whole month actually.
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I loathe it.
  12. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    My in-laws went on a Nile cruise a few years ago instead of xmas at home. That might suit you joli!? I know it would suit me.
  13. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Jolie how dreadful. I do hope you're not on your own though, even though you don't want to do anything. surely nobody would expect you to do much, if anything.

  14. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Sorry - don't know what happened here. I didn't want to just pass Joli2's post without saying something. I hope you're not alone Joli even though understandably you don't feel like doing anything and I am sure people will not expect you to.
  15. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Oh, joli, I'm so sorry. It's going to be very tough for you this year and I shall think of you then.

  16. 2004ajd

    2004ajd New commenter

    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!

    Great tip! I never thought of that; I love pies!
  17. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I always make that as well, ham and pea risotto is also very good. Cold turkey is nice as is turkey tagine and curry for o/h.

    My real favourite is when you have leftover gammon, pipe or spoon mashed potato around a dish, Lay slices of gammon down the middle, top with blanched leeks in cheese sauce, sprinkle cheese on top then bake till brown on top.

    Vegetarian version could use mushrooms instead of gammon.
  18. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    A very moving post AE and joli I'm sure many of your online friends will be thinking of you and sending you warm wishes at this very difficult time for you.

    I was born on Christmas Day and my mum died giving birth. Although I always missed having a mother, I have always loved Christmas and still do.

    I love it all, lights - especially in the dark nights, I change my route home so I can drive down different roads and peep into houses to see their lights. I love carols, trees, happy children, Christmas adverts, the whole kit and caboodle.

    I have been a very poor mum with 3 little children and know how hard life can be, but I still love Christmas!
  19. Quijote

    Quijote New commenter

    Thank you all. I am enjoying this thread. I'm moved by Eyebrow, Joli, and others who have posted their less than optimal experiences and associations, and have loved reading the traditions and experiences that others enjoy.
  20. £360 000 per minute spent on Visa. Its an abomination.

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