I feel like an alien from another planet - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm watching the news on TV seeing stories about black Friday and how the malls opened at midnight. They interviewed people camping out for over 24 hours ( on Thanksgiving day!) waiting for big box electronic store to open.

I just keep going to myself because I just don't understand the hype. I've never been able to subscribe to this frenzy of shopping and gifting.

I don't hate Christmas, so I'm not a scrooge. I like the decorated trees, real ones most of all, but even artificial. I like some Christmas lights on houses and buildings. White is pretty. I like fancy foods and decadent holiday desserts. Even some Christmas songs are nice in moderation. I even like giving and getting gifts. But I give them year by year. I pick up a windchime in May for my sister. I pick up DH's fav movie series the Tuesday it comes out. Not 5 months later in December.

But I guess.. I feel " eh" about Christmas. It doesn't have any meaning for me. It's not like a birthday or anniversary which is all mine and brings me some great memories.

Everyone says that it's about being with family. Well I'm with my family everyday. We work from home. Our parents and siblings live in town. We see each other every week.

People say Christmas is about religion. I'm not religious.

People say it's about the winter solstice, celebrating the days are getting longer, more light. Um. I live in California. How is this relevant to me?

People say it's a season to do for others. Why now, why in December, why not serve others in July?

People say it's a time to get out and enjoy nature. ( to go sledding? make a snowman? ) I'm in Ca, Nature is 24/7 for us here.

I want to get "in the spirit" of Christmas, but it's just not relative to me. Maybe I'm apathetic, maybe I'm just wierd, but I feel like an alien because I just don't understand the hype, and the implied meanings of this 6 week long holiday.

I feel the same about valentines, but, you know, that one is easy to ignore. If people catch wind that you are skipping Christmas, or if you act like you aren't "into" it people look at you like you have 2 heads.

Am I the only one, or is there anyone else out there that thinks that alot of the Christmas holiday is kind of fake?
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#2 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 01:29 AM
 
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I think Christmas is what you make of it. If it doesn't mean all that much to you and you go all out, then it would definitely feel fake.

I live in SoCal. My first Christmas out here felt weird because of the palm trees and warm weather, but I grew up in New Jersey, so it just didn't feel "normal". But I love Christmas, especially now that I have kids. I'm not religious, but I enjoy the baking, Christmas specials on TV, watching the joy in my son's eyes when he looks at our Christmas tree, and yes, the gifts. I've never gone shopping on Black Friday - in fact, I don't remember the last time I even left the house on BF. We have a tradition of staying home, eating leftovers, and shopping online. That's actually something DH and I look forward to.

We don't spend a small fortune. My mom usually comes to visit for Christmas (and sporadically throughout the year), which is always special. I am especially looking forward to this Christmas because it is DD's first, and I know that DS is going to love sharing it with her.

A, jammin.gif mama to a boy (2005) and a girl (2009)
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#3 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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For our non-religious family, Xmas is about tradition, and well, giving gifts and seeing our children's eyes light up on Xmas morning and Xmas eve. We love giving them stuff. It's totally materialistic, but we want them to have certain amounts of toys and books and clothes and such, so this makes it a fun way to give it to them. We also make it all about family, loving your family, spending time with them, enjoying special meals together, watching cut Rudolph and Frosty claymation videos, etc.

As for Black Friday, I know there are so many people who hate it. I have participated only the last two years, but I haven't gone crazy buying stuff that I wouldn't have bought anyway, I just saved a little money. Last year, I saved hundreds, I'd say, and some of the stuff I bought was household stuff that we needed to upgrade, some were Xmas gifts. For instance, if you are going to buy an IPOD Touch, might as well get it on that day, when you can get a $50 iTunes gift certificate along with it. If you are going to buy a laptop, it might be good to wait a month, or buy a little earlier, to save $100-200 or more. I know that last year, when I went, I stood in line a bit early and met a man who had saved all year to buy himself a nice TV and he got a fantastic price on a TV he never could have afforded otherwise, so he was very, very happy to have gotten the most he could for his money.
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#4 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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you're not an alien.

Sounds like you need to create some Christmas rituals/traditions that mean something to you.

Instead of trying to understand why you don't fit into someone else's christmas bubble, make your own!!! That's the great thing about christmas, it's easily tailored to your own beliefs, likes, family ideals etc.

Why not try this Christmas to make it unique and memorable. Whether that means a picnic (you lucky lady) in the sun, or making something special with your kids, or driving around making fun of all the people that staple fake snow to their roof, make it yours. Make it something you look forward to all year long. Then you'll get it.

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#5 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 07:42 AM
 
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Maybe you should move! The Christmas cheer is in full swing here in the Midwest. We will be getting snow this week. The tree is up. (We're not religious here either, btw.) I have plenty of wood for the stove. We're enjoying the early nights and gray days. Chili and cookies and all sorts of food comfort of the season. We're doing secret santa at work and it's been fun thinking up things for my giftee. Dd has already made a list for me (but can't come up with one for herself) and has been shopping, which is surprising because she doesn't like to shop. I abhor shopping, so mine has been done online. I love this season and I'm sure the weather helps to make it more... snuggly. I hope you can find some joy in the season. Materialism isn't going to make the season bright, anyway. Having fun with friends and family can easily be the focus to enjoy the season. For me, that means that my dd is out of school and dh doesn't have to work (he's a university professor) so I get to have my family around me more. It has nothing to do with the actual holiday, but the fact that the season is REALLY changing and it's time to get things ready for cold weather. I think this makes a big difference... I would never want to live somewhere that it's warm and sunny in December. I probably wouldn't get into any holiday or seasonal cheer, either.

I agree that black Friday is alien to me as well. I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than to shop on that day. In fact, I refuse to shop on Saturday ANY time of the year. But beyond that, there's a lot to do to have fun this season whether it's in the sun or the snow. You can still serve people all year long and enjoy what others are doing now. But I understand that it could be hard to do so without any cold and snow. I doubt you'd like it here, though. It's gray, gray, gray with gray skies and gray trees and dying grass. I happen to love it, but...
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#6 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 09:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Maybe you should move! The Christmas cheer is in full swing here in the Midwest. We will be getting snow this week. The tree is up. (We're not religious here either, btw.) I have plenty of wood for the stove. We're enjoying the early nights and gray days. Chili and cookies and all sorts of food comfort of the season. We're doing secret santa at work and it's been fun thinking up things for my giftee. Dd has already made a list for me (but can't come up with one for herself) and has been shopping, which is surprising because she doesn't like to shop. I abhor shopping, so mine has been done online. I love this season and I'm sure the weather helps to make it more... snuggly. I hope you can find some joy in the season. Materialism isn't going to make the season bright, anyway. Having fun with friends and family can easily be the focus to enjoy the season. For me, that means that my dd is out of school and dh doesn't have to work (he's a university professor) so I get to have my family around me more. It has nothing to do with the actual holiday, but the fact that the season is REALLY changing and it's time to get things ready for cold weather. I think this makes a big difference... I would never want to live somewhere that it's warm and sunny in December. I probably wouldn't get into any holiday or seasonal cheer, either.

I agree that black Friday is alien to me as well. I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than to shop on that day. In fact, I refuse to shop on Saturday ANY time of the year. But beyond that, there's a lot to do to have fun this season whether it's in the sun or the snow. You can still serve people all year long and enjoy what others are doing now. But I understand that it could be hard to do so without any cold and snow. I doubt you'd like it here, though. It's gray, gray, gray with gray skies and gray trees and dying grass. I happen to love it, but...
Velochic - loved your post. So often I read one of your posts, agree with it, and then notice you're the poster

Also happy to see a pro-Christmas post after a lot of threads that are down on it.

I wonder if a lot of the black friday'ers are looking for one specific thing that they know will be marked down. I was hunting for a Nintendo DSi this year for DS, and found one on special at Best Buy - on Sat with shockingly no crowds. I also imagine those throngs of people simply love shopping or try to do all their shopping in one day. Without being organized all year as some of you do, it's probably a reasonable way to ensure that they are stretching their dollars. Who knows - I literally don't know one person who shops on black friday...and I'm no hermit! So I am under no false impression that those throngs are the majority of our population!

Katherine mother to DS 8/03 and DD1 9/06 and DD2 6/10
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#7 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 10:07 AM
 
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We don't really have a gifting, family connection, or religious reason for December Cheer, but here's the thing I kind of dig about it all:
There's a lot less light in the sky through December. It could be very depressing. But, many people put fancy lights all over, there's a warmth in every place we go, people seem, well, not affected by the probable Seasonal Affective Disorder that might be more common out there. Everyone has "something to do" be it baking or visiting or wrapping their enormous and expensive gifts. Some people do "every thing I would ever buy my child I do on Christmas but no other time of the year", some people are hard-pressed to come up with a holiday gift simply because they have addressed everyone's needs as the year goes by. I personally like the latter, but I agree, the holiday craziness seems to get worse every year. And I'm tired of people using the excuse "we have to go spend money to stimulate the economy".....as if the fact that they are saving less is doing me any favors...

SMC to dd 4/07.
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#8 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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I'm one that likes Christmas. For me, I am religious, so that plays into it, but I also like the traditions of it all. I like knowing that I'm eating the same holiday meal (more or less) that generations of my family have enjoyed. I take my boys to a local holiday ride thing that my mother went to as a child, then I went to as a girl. It's fun.

I like all that.

I love Black Friday. I don't go at 5am, and I'm not trying to get great deals. For me, it's just a fun day of looking and shopping, of having lunch out, and enjoying other people's company (this year, my mom). I enjoy it, so I continue to do it.
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#9 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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Sadly, the news media gets a hold of the day after Thanksgiving sales and presto, Black Friday and all the mayhem. After watching it for several years, my DH said the other day- "Where is Jesus in all of this?" which is the reason we celebrate Christmas or Christ Mass.

We do not exchange gifts anymore with people because several years ago, I decided to do flylady and decluttered. Of the 10 boxes for good will, 90% of the stuff was "gifted" to us one way or another. Which made me realize, the gifts I also gave out are now stuffed into various cartons, boxes, closets so I decided that year, we are done exchanging and didnt want gifts as well. Most were fine and agreed w exception to SIL who loves things and shopping. We are fortunate we can provide very well for our family and we also donate to charites all year. We usually spend the money we would have spent on gifts for others on a family in need in our town. That is the spirit of Christmas for us.

Another thing, we enjoy a few traditions in our area that we do year after year. Xmas Eve mass, quiet time at home, the advent candle wreath and a few others. For us, that is the holiday.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#10 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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I like it for the seasonal qualities as well. I grew up in the Midwest and sadly am down in SC so I miss the snow. Oh well, it's still gray and a cold. My dh works from home and I'm a SAHM as well. For me it is that it is about Christ's birth and what that means. Each year it is celebrating the future of the year, that we will be saved by our Lord. It is a time to remind us that we should be GIVING ALL YEAR, not just in December. Christ doesn't just give in December! I like to see my kid's on Christmas morning b/c it's festive and special with sweet treats and fun new things. I keep gifts to a minimum and dh and I don't do gifts or stockings for ourselves. We don't make a huge deal with lots of presents, but we sing carols and just have a nice quiet day. Hope you find some way to enjoy the season

Birth Photographer mom to four blessings
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#11 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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OP, I could've written your post. I hear ya, sister. Christmas isn't important for me, either. I didn't celebrate it for 10 years, then I married a man with a child, and holidays were no longer optional.

I love trees and lights and cards... they are objects of beauty. But the season still lacks value for me, in large part because of what I view of the hypocrisy of conflating service, peace and joy with materialism. It's all so bound together in our culture that I don't think we'll ever be able to sort it out and separate the spiritual/emotional side from the buybuybuy side.

I did all the exercises in Unplug the Christmas Machine a few years ago, and while that was a tremendous help, I still don't get the meaning out of it that I feel I "supposed" to get. Even with the family traditions- that I chose!- and the reasonable gift giving, I still rather just go to the movies and out for Chinese food like I used to do.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#12 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 01:45 PM
 
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I love Christmas. Not the crass materialism but the traditions and meaning behind it whether religious or not. I've come at Christmas from both sides; I used to be "religious" but now consider myself "spiritual" and don't necessarily ascribe much religious meaning to the holiday anymore, personally. Anyway, it's what you make of it, of course. I love the pretty trees, the lights, the ornaments, candles, brightly wrapped gifts, special treats made only once a year and the festive atmosphere. In my family growing up my mother loved Christmas and decorated the house beautifully. She made special German cookies and cakes from her childhood in Germany. We listened to mostly beautiful and orchestrated German Christmas music. We were never allowed to make wish lists so the emphasis wasn't on what we as children "most" wanted or "had" to have, the carefully decorated gifts were just part of the beauty and anticipation of the holiday. As is the German custom, we celebrated on Christmas Eve with candles glowing, fire ablaze in the fireplace, music in the air and treats on the coffee table and all of us in our best clothes. These memories are special to me and I tried to do the same with my own daughter.

Dh, on the other hand, personifies what I dislike about this time of year. He has five kids, the two oldest are now young adults but the youngest give us gift lists each year and he is determined to fulfill each one. He says he hates Christmas but its because he puts the pressure on himself. We run around trying to buy everything on the lists then bring them home where he wraps them in cheap paper, no bows or ribbons, and marks their names on each one with a black marker. These children know of Christmas in this manner: how much of everything I've ever wanted can I get out of as many of the adults in my family as I can! There are no other traditions in their family. Tree, food, presents. That's it. I try to do more when they are with us. We drive around to see the lights, I have a nice little party with treats and Christmas music playing. I hate their version of Christmas.
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#13 of 14 Old 12-02-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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I don't get Black Friday, either. It's insane, if you ask me. I shop online and rarely trek out in the afternoon to see if there are any good deals for things I *need* like blankets.

I used to be a bit of a Grinch and my dh I swear is a cross between Scrooge and the Grinch. It was only around the time I had a Christmas Eve baby that I got in the Christmas spirit. Not religiously, but spiritually in the spirit of giving and hope.

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#14 of 14 Old 12-03-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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I enjoy Christmas, but feel kind of "eh" about Thanksgiving. I think it's because for the last 12 Thanksgivings, I have hosted a meal (mostly for my IL's who live out of town...and they are not my fav people). It's a lot of work, and while traditional Thanksgiving food is ok, I don't love it the way some people do. This year, we did not entertain and I liked it a lot more.
I'm hoping to reshape my Thanksgiving into something I personally enjoy. Celebrating it without houseguests and annoying ILs is a start. So anyway, I kind of know what you mean, even though my "eh" feeling is about a different holiday.

My ideal Thanksgiving would be going away somewhere fun with my DH and kids for the long weekend. Right now finances don't allow it, but in the future, I hope to do this. I think most people would not like the idea of this sort of Thanksgiving, but it sounds great to me. I do think that it's hard to avoid the "hype" around any holiday, though.
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