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Anyone Want to Rant or Rave About the Holidays?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Our canadian thanksgiving is long over and done with, but with American Thanksgiving on the way, the season is in full swing. I imagine there are some feelings stirring in the rant/ rave department among many of us.

Christmas pretty much fizzled out to nothing when my family of origin broke up. I do remember it as a source of merriment beyond just consumerism in my childhood. It had feeling and celebration, and I miss that.

Now that I have my own little family, I am reviving a new kind of ritual in the Yule/ Secular Christmas tradition, focused on food, decoration and a celebration of peace and gratitude. No money for presents, so none of the related hassles, but a certain little longing to gather up shiny quality things
like bright wool, jingle bells...but no budget for it. I am ranting against all the illusions of abundance that make me feel lacking and longing for things I do not have!

But I am raving about the revival of a spirit of the season for me, and looking forward to what we create this year. I think I will start a Holiday planner/ scrapbook too, and that's super fun for me.

Anyone else have a holiday season rant/ rave?
Edited by bruna - 11/27/13 at 2:50pm
post #2 of 22

I am having a hard time with the expectations and allowing the moods of others' effect me more then it should. So I am taking a break, here, on mothering before I get back to it.

post #3 of 22
We don't do Thanksgiving at all. We run off to the woods and soak in the natural hot springs.

I invented our big winter party called Soup and Solstice, held on the solstice evening. Big crock pots of soup, loads of yummy bread and as many friends and neighbors as the house holds. We have a few solstice traditions we do and there's a tabletop tree decorated with sun ornaments.
post #4 of 22

Having just finished Thanksgiving.....


UGH, I am so tired of washing dishes all those dishes that won't fit into the dishwasher.  I deserve a manicure next week.

post #5 of 22

I hate how the holidays can bring up the worst family situations. My mom and I have always had a very difficult relationship. Last Easter we had a big blow up. She was being very insensitive about my dad's recent passing. Mom and Dad had been divorced for years, really hated each other. She was going on about how she was glad the world was better now that he was gone. I had healed my wounds with my dad and we had a good relationship the last several years, and I had just had the trauma of seeing him on life support for a couple of days, brain dead, and then donated his organs. I am their only surviving child together. So after the big Easter blow up, and mom still talking bad about dad even now (she says it's her right to talk about what she wants to, even though it hurts me), I boycotted Thanksgiving at their house. It's uncomfortable and sad but I can't be around unhealthy situations. 


And, mom has been twice remarried since her divorce from my dad. So Thanksgiving includes stepfather (nice guy but no real bonding there), my half sibs who I almost never see, and stepfather's family. There are no shared memories and I don't know many of them at all.


So I had a lovely Thanksgiving with dad's family. :-) All went well. I was able to borrow a slide projector and we saw a bunch of long-forgotten slides including several of my dad as a child.


Now Mom's wanting to do something for Christmas. I hate being the child of parents who divorced so badly. It has ruined my weddings plans, made awkward the piano recitals of my kids, and I've always had to have two sets of holidays growing up, and was unable / forbidden to talk about one set of family with the other set. You'd think at almost 40 years old this would resolve with time but it has not.

post #6 of 22

USAmma - that sounds really awful....holidays bring up lots of yuck for me as well - but not due to divorce.  this year my family of origin is too far apart too busy and too broke to get together - we all saw each other in August for a family wedding - so that will have to hold us until next year!  Which is really fine - i do enjoy spending this time home with my own family - my DH works long hours but hes a teacher - so great vaca time and im looking forward to spending some time with him!

For me this year its my in laws side....my MIL has been colder and colder to me lately - i dont really know what it is.....even my FIL feels more distant.....my BIL is an active alcoholic - living at home with no job sort of thing....and GIL is turning 90 soon and needs LOTS of help - so i do understand that my MIL is stressed and pulled in many directions - i also understand that she and i dont need to be best friends....we had Thanksgiving over there - i brought dessert - she packed it all up - every scrap that didnt get eaten....we got NO other leftovers - and sent us packing...we didnt even discuss Christmas - typically i host Christmas (and she hosts everything else)   often we celebrate on different days because of our travel plans  - i didnt even get to bring up the fact that we have NO travel plans this year.....feeling quite silenced and shamed by this woman ....sorry to vent here - i feel like venting everywhere because i dont dare vent to my DH!  He is quite scared of her and easily intimidated - i think he tells his mother everything i say - which could be the reason she is so distant and cold now!   i just dont want to admit to him that i feel uncomfortable in her home - and make him upset....

*sigh*  it will be fun to spend the holiday at the post office mailing presents to my own family!!   

post #7 of 22
Originally Posted by motherhendoula View Post

USAmma - that sounds really awful....holidays bring up lots of yuck for me as well - but not due to divorce.  

 Ugh, sounds like you were on eggshells the whole time. Who needs that? Your dh sounds like he's just trying to cope. Thank goodness you can enjoy some good time together. Time is so valuable!

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Baby comes out to the living room in the morning and points up at the strand of christmas lights stretched across the window. He wants them turned on first thing in the morning upon waking :stillheart . That sweet boy o'mine. 

I'm realizing that much of the genuine pleasure of the holidays for me is sensual in nature. The sparkle and quiet of the snow, the crisp cold, the strong scents and flavours. On an On. 


It's a sensual holiday for me. If it doesn't feel good, it's not invited (Easier said than done, I know).

post #9 of 22

I'm totally with the other posters that say how holidays tend to bring up family issues :( MIL has problems, and never really had a great relationship with my family (they live far away) and pretty much non existent relationship with my sister. I always feel bad for my DD when I see all my friends and how involved their families are with their little ones. I was talking to my parents about possibly doing Christmas at my house and they said they were going to talk it over and get back to me. Next thing I know they email their flight reservations, (without talking to me at all again) tell me they need me to pick them up at an airport over an hour away that I have never been to, and the kicker was that there returning flight is over 3 weeks later.  They said oh well we will stay here for a little bit and visit some friends in the next state over where they used to live (and I mean visit they're not close enough with anyone to stay at their house which means they'll probably be quickly back at mine if they do), but it seems more like well if stuff goes south here we can use that as an excuse to get away from you. Also my relationship with my family has started to get strained since I first made the invite and I even told my Dad that I don't think I want to do Christmas at my house anymore. Then they made the flight reservations afterwards. I wish I hadn't invited them and just did Christmas by ourselves like last year,  laid back, stress free, and enjoyable. Family isn't even here and already I'm super stressed!


Part of strain too was I got roped into buying a table saw for my Dad with my sister, she told my Dad and Mom that she and I would get it for him (without even talking to me, its a theme lol) and at first there was a really expensive model they were talking about ( I was trying to figure out how to say I can't afford that and still have some dignity). Then they ended up going and buying one on Black Friday that was cheaper, but still double what I was planning on spending for both of their presents together. Still haven't made up my mind what to do. Money has been tight lately, both our old cars broke down this week, and I wasn't expecting to host my parents for three weeks (they've previously said they would never stay more then a week at someone's house,) and my sister apparently wants to stay for a week too.


On another note as I unpacked Christmas decorations today watching my DD run around with a Santa hat, holding a little plastic snow globe that belts out Christmas songs, and singing Jingle Bells over and over again was absolutely priceless. Those precious moments are the ones I'll hold onto forever.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Lined up twice for the Christmas hamper at our charity service organization, and both times had to leave because I didn't bring the right identification. Too late now to try again.
A little disappointed we will miss out on the grocery gift certificates, but I think my heart wasn't really in it as I am usually so diligent about paperwork and doing things right.
Oh well, life's like that. We had a fun, low key bus ride across the city anyways, and the cold, sunny weather made both baby and I feel invigorated.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Did our regular neighbourhood rounds today, and stumbled upon a potted christmas tree sale! We bought ourselves a dwarf baby blue spruce.

I am going to craft up some paper solstice decorations and tomorrow find some mini-mini lights.

A potted christmas tree was our family tradition when I was a young child and we lived in sailboat. It just feels right.

I am pleased it was just ten dollars and a two block walk home with sweet thing.
post #12 of 22

We avoid extended family at Christmas because, as others have mentioned, the holidays bring out all the issues.  So our actual celebrations are low-key and nice.  However, leaving the house in December and early January is generally perilous in this city.  People get into the "Christmas Spirit" and stop watching where they're pointing their cars, and the buses stop running on schedule too (possibly because of all the detours around car crashes).  The number of pedestrians getting hit in crosswalks has skyrocketed this month.   It's like Death Race 2000.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post

We avoid extended family at Christmas because, as others have mentioned, the holidays bring out all the issues.  So our actual celebrations are low-key and nice.  However, leaving the house in December and early January is generally perilous in this city.  People get into the "Christmas Spirit" and stop watching where they're pointing their cars, and the buses stop running on schedule too (possibly because of all the detours around car crashes).  The number of pedestrians getting hit in crosswalks has skyrocketed this month.   It's like Death Race 2000.

I hear you rachelsmama. I told the tree man yesterday that it was my luck that he was 2 blocks from my apartment, beacause this time of year I only go three blocks in either direction from home smile.gif. Good thing I live in a commercial village, and that the modest income still out number the big incomes around here. We have things like a real butcher and family owned stores to walk to. I know I am lucky to be living here.
First snow today.
Edited by bruna - 12/9/13 at 11:24am
post #14 of 22

Rachelsmama that's funny about the death race 2000, but yet so true. I think I'm resolving myself to keeping Christmas to ourselves from now on. Do you get grief from family members about not extending an invite/or traveling to spend holidays with them? Every Thanksgiving to Easter the relatives start asking why not spend it with us, or waiting for us to invite them.


Also one relative is an alcoholic and lives with another relative that's elderly and we went over to see them this past weekend to exchange gifts because we won't be able to see them closer to Christmas. It's a tough situation, every time I see this person they are drunk, and I don't really want my daughter around that, but at the same time I want to be able to see the elderly relative who has been in bad health. Anyone else have a similar situation? How do you deal with it?


Bruna it must be nice to have shops within walking distance, and to get out and get some fresh air. We discovered some walking trails by our house this summer and I definitely want to get out there more. I always feel so refreshed and invigorated after a nice walk outside.

post #15 of 22

We also try and keep Xmas to ourselves.  we decided a few years ago that no family would be allowed to spend the night.  Xmas morning is just us and the kids.  That is OUR time.

post #16 of 22

we try to keep Christmas to ourselves too- at least until 4 pm.  However MIL still likes to come out on Christmas Eve and then tell us she is too tired to drive home and then camp out on our couch.....snoring obnoxiously while we proceed with our lives right over her.... It is kind of funny in reality because I figure it is our house and we didn't invite her to sleep there and fall asleep at like 7:30 when we have things we like to do....


I try to keep things low-key and have finally realized I am just not at that place in my life to let other's expectations of me concern me.  I can't handle doing cards like ever- so I don't bother and life still goes on.  10 years ago I took almost everyone in 2 townships plates of Christmas treats- not anymore :)  I am kind of one to go overboard but I am definitely getting a grip due to having a lot of little kids....  Christmas family pictures are also out the window.  I just can't handle anything other than the minimum and I am FINE with that finally.

post #17 of 22

I've been trying to dial my 83 y.o. mother back from her work ethic this season.  She moved in with us at the beginning of fall when she got out of a multi-week hospitalization / rehab gig.  Her house is on the market and, luckily, only about fifteen minutes away.  This made her move here easy.  Come Christmastime, though, it's like she grows a second head.  Well, no, she always has it, just sometimes it comes out.  She obsesses about what to bake which neighbors, when to give it to them, should she use napkins or cling wrap to tuck them in the box, did the muffins rise enough, etc.  Worst part is she groans about what hard work it is -- I wouldn't mind if she went on and on about it but enjoyed herself, or did something easier, but she pushes herself through this vision and crabs about what she's doing.  And she talks about it daily for weeks before she actually needs to do any of it.


On the other hand, Yours Truly is modeling a happy slacker holiday.  Our adult sons give us ideas of what they want -- or not -- DH and I give each other catalogs with things circled or point, drooling, at things in store windows, and we get what we can pay for out of current funds.  We don't have a lot of decorations, but they're very pretty and we enjoy them.  Our family is small and laid-back.  I pace myself and genuinely enjoy the decorating, shopping, and food prep, so I'm having fun . . . and the people around me get the idea that this is a happy time of year.  Except for my mom.  :eyesroll

post #18 of 22

My little family is embracing the idea of celebrating on the 12th day of Christmas:-) It's really helping my usual scroogey mood knowing I'll have all that extra time to do all the little things I want to do for my family... And maybe I'll be able to pick up a couple of things at the post Christmas sales!


We'll have guests for the 25th, coming Christmas Eve and leaving early afternoon on Christmas Day. The extra work of cleaning for guests, making beds, plus the rush of doing everything Christmasy before the guests are scheduled to be at their next event on Christmas Day, makes it really difficult for me to enjoy myself. In addition, I need to take my mom on all of her errands and help her with any guest prep that is her priority. I enjoy driving her around but she is a foody and I'll need to take her on a 5 hour multi grocery store run to get all the right ingredients for the things she wants to cook.


It's nice knowing that I don't have to get everything done for ds and dh by the 25th. I might even manage to knit stockings, this year. I've been wanting to replace the clashing ones from my and dh's childhood that we've been using and make ds a special one while he is still a child. I made him a tiny one when he was a toddler but never got around to a full size one. 

post #19 of 22

Well, now the bulk of the relatives have gone and changed their plans and decided to visit the weekend after Christmas though we'll have one person come on the 23rd, leave on the 24th, and return on the afternoon of the 25th. I think we'll stick to the 12th Day for a celebration because I had put gifts for ds and dh on the back burner and will still need to have the house company ready by the 23rd...

post #20 of 22

ARRGH. Our kitchen timer died months ago, so I use a website (e.ggtimer.com). DH didn't like the song on my Pandora playlist and instead of hitting pause on Pandora, muted the volume on my computer. So naturally I couldn't hear the timer go off, and I just burned a pan of tartlet shells. Not. Happy.


In other news: mostly finished wrapping presents. Discovered a long-ago-purchased present for FIL, but DH had already bought him an umbrella, so I'll give it to Dad instead. It's a book about counterfeiters and fakers and hoaxes and stuff; Dad'll like it just as much as FIL would have. So that's a good thing. Also found a few more presents for DS and DH than I thought I had.


Halfway through making a strawberry cream cheese ganache pie. Halfway through making a can of dulce de leche for DH's stocking. Autolysing flour for ciabatta. Still need to make fudge or something for BIL's parents. Started cutting out DD's Wonder Woman costume. Haven't started yet on sewing DH's apron, or the GF/DF dessert for SIL's kids (sorbet, probably). Need to make more pastry for tartlets (again, GRRR.) Ooh, and bread rolls. Right. Back to doing stuff.

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