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Thread: Is that activity really necessary?

  1. #1
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    Some of you are writing to say how overwhelmed you are with holiday preparations.

    At the risk of sounding like a Grinch or a Scrooge - how many of these preparations are REALLY necessary?

    If the cookies don't get baked - will it really matter? Leftover Christmas cookies are kind of depressing in February.

    If the candy doesn't get made - will it really matter? Most of us get enough sugar in our diets as it is.

    Are you spending more money than you can afford to?

    Are you giving/exchanging gifts with people you are not particularly fond of?

    Are you neglecting your own health and well-being "trying to get everything done"?

    This is a perfect time to cut back - if you want or need to - one can always blame "the current economy" if one doesn't have the gumption to say "I don't want to any more."

    I have total admiration for those that can and do all the activities associated with the holidays.

    I'm one of those that "hanging on to sanity" during this time of the year is a major accomplishment, so I've learned that for myself - not raining on other people's parades is about as good as it's going to get.

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I agree! What decorations I put, I have to take down. Just a dusting of holiday decor is nice!:)

  3. #3
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    I think, at times, my heart was much bigger than my time management skills. We've gotten away from gift giving except for the kids that are little. We usually get the parents something they need, but won't or can't buy for themselves. This year I'm buying hay for my dad's critters. I do most of my giving off-holiday times so there's no pressure to finish them. For some of us, I think the frenzy of the holidays is part of the fun.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    I put out my table topper tree because of the 3 pups I have under 2 yrs. old. I won't be baking because there is enough junk flying around anywhere we go. Parents don't like us buying for them. DH and I will buy each other 'just a little something' for each other. X-mas day, between us three women, will cook the meal. I love calm!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Japonica's Avatar
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    At 58 and recently retired, this Christmas I decided to put up about half of my decorations. We are having about 35 people here on saturday for our annual Christmas party. I am not pulling everything out to clean, like I normally do. I will dust and vacumn. Why clean, when it all t has to be done after the holiday anyway? What gets cooked and baked will be fine. I am much calmer this year than I have ever been by not worrying about trivial things. I think it is because I started sewing two months ago and fell in love with yet another hobby!!!

  6. #6
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    Yup, I hear ya Sharon. I'm feeling pretty awesome right about now. My last "obligation" is in the post. Now I get to pack some fun stuff that's already purchased (within "the budget"...which means I bought it within another pay month, lol!)

    Got a few gifts the other day at Target for the two little kids. I got a pang of "is it ENOUGH?" while I was there, and then just had time to think. OF COURSE it was enough! A couple fun, useful, new things? Plenty.

    We might bake a batch of cookies for "family time" but it's the process that's worthwhile, not the product. I tend to try and give most of that away. February cookie thing and all.

    Funny story: MIL decided one year that we would all draw names to exchange gifts to kinda tighten things up. Which is a great idea, except I didn't "get" what the rules were, because we'd end up receiving gifts from them but they hadn't chosen us. So then we didn't HAVE any gifts to reciprocate because we were going according to "the rules" but I guess MIL was making up her own giving rules, and would give to everybody. GAH...so uncomfortable. Apparantly the pulling names thing has ended this year, so I dunno what that means...give to everybody? Give to nobody? :lol: I'm not worried, but it goes to show many people get caught up in the "need" to participate in the holiday.

  7. #7
    Super Member redkimba's Avatar
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    IMHO, too many people needlessly stress themselves over having that perfect holiday, and if it's not absolutely no-mistakes perfect then the holiday is ruined.

    Some of my favorite memories are ones of holidays where something went wrong. Example my stepmom made the red jello salad but accidentally spilled it in the fridge, which made it look like a crime scene. We're still laughing over that one.

    I just make lists so I don't accidentally forget anyone. Pick out gifts that they might like or one from their wish list. If I get decorations up, that's great. This time is being with family and friends and making that warm fuzzy feeling.

  8. #8
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    YESSSS, I agree totally with you, bearisgrey!
    I try to cut back, which means:
    Low decoration level -> homemade Advent wreath, where the whole family was involved, that's it so far. The tree we will set up on 24., holy night, will be decorated by DD.
    Cookies -> will make one baking session together with the kids cause they LOVE it
    Presents -> just for people I really like and feel the need to give a present. Kids presents I already bought earlier.
    One thing I could possibly blame myself for -> making my DH a quilt from very expensive japanese fabric, very time consuming, BUT I'm so not gonna put the blame on me for that ;-).
    We will have a huge (!) dinner for Christmas, but I LOVE this tradition and team up with my DD, who loves cooking as much as I do. With my sweet helper, even a 7 course dinner is fun.

  9. #9
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    i agree with you on everything except the leftover cookies. Never HAD leftover Christmas cookies so I have no idea if I'd get depressed. I honestly don't think I would, because, you see, I BAKE in January!!!! LOL

    Yes -- all the other points are well made.....I quilt with the rush, decorate a tree outside so I won't have the mess, and totally enjoy my holiday now. :)

  10. #10
    Super Member Melinda in Tulsa's Avatar
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    I guess I'm the real scrouge in the bunch. I do not enjoy Christmas, in fact I hardily dislike it. 20 years ago I suffered a devastating loss on Christmas Day. Ever since then, I just can not get into Christmas. Early Dec each year I sink into a depression that I just can not pull myself out of until after the holidays. My wonderful DH understands this and humors me and supports me thru this time.

    My children (all grown) just do not understand. I only give gifts to the grandchildren (now I have 2 of them) and I resent the time and money spent there as it is NOT appreciated. I don't decorate, or do anything extra. Sorry to be a party pooper friends. I have finally realized that this sadness will never go away, since it has been 20 years and shows no sign of abating.

    But I cheer all of you on that enjoy this time of year!
    :thumbup: Have a very Merry and enjoyable Christmas!

  11. #11
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I think with age comes a relaxation. The older I get the less the little things seem to matter. I do enjoy Christmas as I do most holidays. I used to get depressed on Mother's Day because I'd had so many miscarriages. Mom would tell me to enjoy the day for her. Now that she's gone I realize what she was saying and that's my one regret---that I'll never get those days back, that I couldn't let go of my own hurt for her sake. Melinda, please find a way to let go of the hurt if for no other reason than for your kids/grandkids. There's nothing you can do to change the past, only enjoy the future. I know, my father got killed on our wedding anniversary 7 years ago. It took a while to let go of that.

    Now, that said, Merry Christmas to all. Christmas will come and it will go whether the cookies all get baked or not, no matter if all the dusting is done. Just take time to enjoy each day of the season. Staying within ALL budgets---money, time and energy---will always make it more enjoyable.

  12. #12
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    Melinda, I'm sorry for you and I do think and hope it will get better.
    I'm put off by the commercialition of the holidays. I usually give the grandskids money so they can get what they want and then a little something under the tree. I love being together but I'm SSOOOO glad when it's over! we will celebrate on the 19th, so I'll be sewing and relaxing while the rest of you are pulling your hair out! :shock: ENJOY

  13. #13
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Ok now I'm the complete opposite. I LOVE Christmas.. I really hate dragging out the decorations- there's LOTS of them- But I love, love, love to see what Ive done when everything is all put out and lit up..We put up two trees, one 4ft in the foyer and one 7.5ft in the formal dining room.. the big one is in memory of my MIL (we lost her to cancer 2 yrs ago xmas)- we usually put all of hers and dads old ornaments they collected over the years on that one.. its neat to reminisce over them, who gave them to her and why she loved it so, and see hubbys 'first year baby ornament'... I have a lil one who still believes in Santa so for me this is a big deal to keep her believing.. So yes I'm a nut when it comes to presents too. My daughter is monetarily spoiled but doesn't behave and act like she is. I put out all my nick knack, gaudy garland, even musical string lights on the banister and railings, Yup I do it all.. Now outside, that's another story, waaaaaay to cold for me!!!!

    As for gifts for others, my family does a secret Santa (a real gift) , and a group white elephant gift exchange (gag gift) However I usually have extra homemade canned jam, potholders, coaster and such for unexpected gifts exchanges..

    I'm sorry things are so tough for some- I hope one day the heartache will heal.. What I did realized when I lost my MIL that everyday was a special day. Forgive more, Hug more, love more, laugh more with no regrets..

  14. #14
    Super Member magpie's Avatar
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    I'm like amandasgrandma, if I don't bake before Xmas, january or whenever i get to it is fine. cookies and what not all are fine any time of year. No decorating the last few years\, kids and grands all live out of state and don;t travel in winter. Also knee surgery 12/27 so won;t be time to put it all away.

  15. #15
    BMP
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    I certainly have simplified things this year, I only put 1 tree up instead of 3, only decorated in a few spots and bake if I feel like it each day.
    My kids are grown and gone so gift giving has been scaled back.
    Its been alot easier than making myself crazy trying to please everyone.
    My oldest son works a 16 hour shift on the holiday so that others that have children can be home with them.
    We will have a grand dinner Christmas Eve and exchange. Christmas day I will drop by my sisters and then spend the rest of the day with my Mother who just had a leg amputation and is in the rehab at the hospital.

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I so agree with your post. People get all bent out of shape about Christmas and have huge expectations which may just not match reality. I don't know why people just can't say "We need to re-think this or make some changes to our ususal Christmas". Family and friends will survive with few gifts or no gifts if the budget just won't allow present exchanges. It's really ok to start some new traditions or dispense with some old ones. Christmas Blessings to all.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    When I had someone to celebrate Christmas with, I absolutely loved Christmas and decorated my house!!! Now, I don't do anything. I am not a grinch, I just can't seem to get into the decorating. Maybe next year... I love the happy Christmas movies on tv. I love driving down the road and seeing other peoples lights. I love the Christmas music on the radio etc...

  18. #18
    Super Member Melinda in Tulsa's Avatar
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    This topic has been a light bulb moment for me! Thank you, thank you! One of the big disappointments I have giving my DGK's presents is, nothing I do for them is *good enough* in my DD's eyes. I can't win for losing. Thanks to this thread, I have decided to buy them savings bonds. It will pay off when they get grown and need them the most. Thanks for the light bulb moment!!

  19. #19
    Super Member katyquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japonica
    At 58 and recently retired, this Christmas I decided to put up about half of my decorations. We are having about 35 people here on saturday for our annual Christmas party. I am not pulling everything out to clean, like I normally do. I will dust and vacumn. Why clean, when it all t has to be done after the holiday anyway? What gets cooked and baked will be fine. I am much calmer this year than I have ever been by not worrying about trivial things. I think it is because I started sewing two months ago and fell in love with yet another hobby!!!
    Congratulations on being able to retire at 58. Wish I could. Happy Holidays.

  20. #20
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Had gotten to the point of, not enjoying, with overload, but have stepped back, realized one year when unexpectidly had some family needed to stay over on the 25th, one of the kids got sick, before they could get home. Things were kind of pitiful without even a tree up :).
    So now decorate some, gives another good reason to dust:)
    Have always enjoyed the cooking, can try out those new recepies and get some input.
    Send out a few cards, if no other reason than to say Hi! (one year all rec'd them on New Years, LOL)
    Now have Company comes in from out of town stay over, we end up cooking and goofing around, and there always nice enough to help out with the last minute wrapping or cooking.
    Just my out look for this year, but much better than some years past :)

  21. #21
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I was so relieved when I figured out that it was ok not to do all the old traditions, and to start some new ones. We (DH) put up a small tree we have had for 34 years (!), will put the gifts under it. I am having too much fun sewing to do much else. When our daughter and granddogs come, we will relax and do a jigasw puzzle or 2 and eat and sleep. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my list yesterday and found out I need only a couple of small items and I am done shopping. Still have 13 aprons to make, but they will get there sooner or later.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ljsunflower's Avatar
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    well stated!

  23. #23
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Bearisgray, I don't think you're a Grinch or Scrooge at all. I REALLY WISH we (meaning me, not all of you) could have a Dicken's Christmas!! Actually, we just may this year b/c of a lot of stuff going on and nobody will care. My kids love to eat and be with us, it doesn't matter if we don't go all out. As long as we have great food and good times together everyone is happy. I'm the one who wants to do a million things, not them.
    Thanks for posting this great topic.

  24. #24
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    What I am really trying to say -

    Is that we truly enjoy most of the activities we choose to do and not take on "extra" things that only stress ourselves out.

    There are some activities that are in the "have to" category - and there is no getting out of or around them - and every person/family has to work that out.

    I am in favor of minimizing them as much as possible, though.

    Many of us have only so many resources available to us (financial, time, energy, emotional) - and I think it's important that we use them wisely.

    One of the ladies used "the spoon theory" to explain what it is like to have a chronic illness.

    That analogy can also be applied to the things we choose to do. If we take on things we don't want or need to do - there is less available for the things we do want and/or need to do.

    What I wish for all of us:

    Contentment - gratitude/appreciation - serenity (as in The Serenity Prayer)

    ((hugs)) to all of you that like hugs - a "high five" - which is about all the physical contact our older grandsons will tolerate now - to the rest of you.

  25. #25
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Bearisgray., I will take that HUG and give you one right back!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU :D
    You shared a lot of wisdom today and I appreciate it.

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