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How do I simplify Christmas without looking like Scrooge to the children? - Page 3

post #41 of 49
This will be my older DD's second Christmas and my younger DD's first. We live in Japan and our familes live in the states so we don't have the ability to have Christmas together. There were times I wish I could complain about my MIL/SILs giving my daughters junk gifts or too much but we are so far away that we stick to letters and e-mails with the occasional call. If I could have one thing for Christmas this year it would be to be with my extended family since its been 4 years since Ive been at home with mine and 6 for my husband. I guess being so far away really reminds you about whats important over the holidays and its not the gifts its the people.

Sometimes people need to be reminded of that, especially young people. Im lucky my children are young but I want them to grow up knowing that the importance of things lies with the ones you love not what they buy you.

As for gifts this year we are doing:
Christmas Eve-
A holiday outfit (my MILs best friend is sewing the girls matching dresses)
Nightgowns (Needed anyway since both are short on them)
An ordament (tradition in my family)
Christmas Day
One gift for the two of them to share
Two small gifts each
One gift and a stocking for me and DH to exchange

We are having a small get together with friends on Christmas eve and Christmas day will be just for the four of us.
post #42 of 49
One good thing is that we are strictly doing home-made gifts for the holidays. which is forcing me to sit down with dd and work on crafts - something I never much did before but I realise is "not that bad:
We aren't only giving crafts, we are actually mostly giving baked goods, which dd and I love to make anyway. Some of them have creative wrapping, and look quite fancy.
post #43 of 49
I love the idea of doing volunteer work for xmas.

I understand not wanting to hold back on giving gifts if you have really waited all year for things, but I see kids getting stuff all year anyway - not just at birthdays or special visits from grandparents, literally getting something "fun" every month. New clothes arent even a big deal for kids anymore.

In my imagination I would love it if we could all agree on being together and going around the circle telling each other how special each one is to us. Stuff we actually DONT say all year because we take it for granted or feel shy or itis just never the right moment ... that woul dbe a Christmas to celebrate. Well it was nice imagining it because I dont see it happening ... maybe I will figure out a way to introduce the theme for next year. And we could also agree in advance to do no STUFF gifts (or maybe homemade only) and make this the real highlight.
post #44 of 49
Originally Posted by love2all View Post
We are doing a no cheap plastic crap gift giving-
this year each kid is getting things like-
magazine subscriptions
family passes to nature center, kids museums, aquariums etc...
clothing that is needed- underwear, bras, socks
homemade whatever is always acceptable-
dh is a glass blower so we are gifting to all familiy members something homemade...
there is sooooo much plastic stuff here that noone touches- I hate it
Those are FANTASTIC ideas. I will do that next year. This year is done and paid for. I managed to keep it small. As long as I can resist going out from now until christmas that.
Materialsim is not what I want fo rour family values either. Its a hard fight though, not because of dd, but because the rest of the family is into present/santa extravaganza.

I don't do santa either, and I have been accused of killing the magic in dds life
She gets a stocking for fun, but she knows its from 'santa'
post #45 of 49
The problem with older kids is they start wanting expensive things.

I don't think there's anything wrong with expensive gifts as long as the family can afford it and doesn't feel obligated to buy it.

I think the problem with consumerism is when people find themselves buying things just to buy them or only because it's the "gotta have it" item of the year. A computer for a family gift sounds like a wonderful idea. A laptop for a hs grad going to college also sounds like a very thoughtful gift that will be well used and appreciated.

My sister and I received tons and tons of gifts for Christmas growing up, and still do as adults. I think my parents are starting to feel the economy crunch so this year is going to be "scaled back". We'll see if that happens. Honestly, as great as I thought it was as a kid, I just don't find it that great now. I'm just more meh, yeah my parents were pretty well off and we received lots of gifts. But we only occasionally looked at Christmas gifts, never baked cookies as a family, and got to listen to my parents bitch about what a PITA traveling and extended family is for Christmas.

It honestly would have meant much more to receive higher quality, well thought out items and less of it as well as focusing on activities. I would have loved to go as a family sledding (mom has never went with us) or baked cookies together (dad rarely did that).
post #46 of 49
My suggestion....get a smaller tree. Then the pile of gifts under it won't look so small. (I'm serious! We have a small tree.)
post #47 of 49
My suggestion....get a smaller tree. Then the pile of gifts under it won't look so small. (I'm serious! We have a small tree.)
It sounds strange, but it's true!! We had a HUGE tree and that was great when there was a huge pile of presents under it, but less presents really does look like a meager pile because the area under the tree is so vast.
post #48 of 49
If you have a real tree, just not trimming the lower branches up so high can make a difference in how big your "pile" looks. It can make watering difficult though.
post #49 of 49
To be fair, we're semi-Quakers and we don't keep Christmas at all, we celebrate the solstice instead, but we've finally gone the NO Christmas gifts route. None at all. I adore gift giving, I really do, but I'm a spontaneous giver, I like to give little things all the time, and every year I begin to feel depressed as Christmas appears on the horizon. Suddenly, I feel the need to save up all my giving for a day in the future. I don't like it at all. Of course, our daughter is too young to know the holidays any other way, and my husband has never been into holidays at all, so I get the double whammy of having to organize all giving and special occasions, while feeling unappreciated when I do it.

For the holidays, we forego the gifts, absolutely refuse to travel, do without a Christmas tree, and simplify the meals. Instead we make a few evergreen swags, put electric candles in the windows, and string lots of white twinkle lights. If we weren't in an apartment, we'd have a fire going in a fireplace. Instead, we'll have a Yule log cake. Not the same, but nice. We also do stockings and an advent calendar, though the stockings are typically filled with things like stationary, fruit, tea, and chocolate rather than trinkets. Instead of all the shopping and merry-go-round of parties, we take advantage of main street programs like free carriage rides in parks, stroll through neighborhoods to see the decorations, borrow past years' issues of holiday magazines from the library (I like the hype, not the actual work), play carols podcasts, nibble baklava and drink eggnog... That sort of thing.
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