Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We *Don't Do* Christmas.

Once upon a time I loved Christmas. I loved decorating the tree, the house, the dog...Searching for presents was fun...Making special Christmas only food was fun.

Then something happened...It wasn't as much fun as it used to be.  Hubby's parents always gave too many presents.  Whose place do we go to.  Too much food.  People drinking too much.  Travel there, travel somewhere else, travel home late with everyone tired.  Too many expectations.  Upset people because we couldn't make it to their place.

And nowhere was there anything about what I feel is the real reason for Christmas.  His family mocked me when I spoke about it to them, my family...I don't think I tried to talk about it with them...Sorry 'bout that.
We asked the 3 kids that were still at home what Christmas meant to them and their answers cemented our decision.

His family said that it was about family getting together and having a good time.  They said that family was important.  But my eldest daughter and her family were never invited and when it was at their house I didn't feel that it was up to me to do that.  I was criticised for that.  I think that if it was about family getting together though then it would happen at other times throughout the year.

A couple of people did ask us why we didn't want to do it anymore but they didn't like our answer.
I do remember people were upset but they didn't really talk to us about it.  Some of them talked among themselves and I found out later that Hubby's family blamed me.  Most of them still do.

We did handle it wrong, we should have had a last Christmas like we planned and told everyone afterwards, not a month or so before hand.  I regret that. We did try to have both families come to a Christmas at our place one year and we were going to tell everyone then but my family couldn't come so we put it off.  A couple more years of doing it because we thought we should before we finally decided to just not do it anymore.

But you know what?  I don't think we are missed at all, by anyone. We don't get invited to lunch or tea just so the family can get together.  Not because it's Christmas but just because they like us and want to see us.  In the many years since we told them all that we weren't going to do Christmas anymore I could count on 2 fingers how many times we have been invited somewhere throughout the year for no reason.  There have been a few birthdays but no **no reason** occasions.  That used to make me sad.

Hubby gets criticised for not ringing his family and wishing them *Merry Christmas* but they don't ring him.   Why should it be up to someone that doesn't do Christmas to ring people, why can't they ring him if they want to speak to him?  And don't complain to me that you didn't speak with him on Christmas Day if you couldn't be bothered ringing him.  That made me cross, still does.

We don't send cards but I used to send out a letter to everyone, close to the end of the year, asking how their year went, telling them about ours, asking them what they had planned for the following year...We never got an answer from anyone so I have stopped that.  I remember talking to the inlaws one year just before Christmas.  I didn't say "Merry Christmas" but I did say that I hoped that they enjoyed themselves the following week when they were at the brother in laws.  The week later it was mentioned that a phonecall and Christmas wishes would have been nice.  I don't ring them anymore.

Since we stopped *doing* Christmas  we have treated the 25th December as just another day.  Usually we just stay home, mowed all the lawns one year, went out the beach and swam with a whale one year, that was pretty cool. Usually we don't even remember the date and we go about our normal day.   We don't eat Christmas food, we don't have a tree or decorations.  Sometimes I put on carols but that's because I like them and I also sometimes have them playing throughout the year so it's not a Christmas thing. 

We like the peace and the stressless day that we now have but...I think I miss it.  Not the excess food or drinking.  Not the bitching and disappointed people.  Not the presents.  But the family.  It was one time of the year that we knew we would see some of them.  Now, maybe we see someone a couple of times a year.   I have tried having family get togethers here in the weeks before Christmas but my family seem to be busy at that time of year and Hubby's family just sit around drinking so this year we won't be doing that.  I have also tried inviting people away to places throughout the year and that too doesn't seem to work out.  So this year, we will do nothing, invite no-one, organise nothing. 

This year, me and him, we will probably stay home, we may get a visit from  T and J, depends on what she is doing.  It's not expected.  We might go out the beach again. We know we will have a stressfree, happy day though and that is what is important to us.  But I will miss seeing my family.  I know that they will all be together having a lovely time, eating yummy food...My choice I know but I do sometimes think that maybe we could start again...

But no, instead, maybe next year I will have a couple of games days here for everyone.  That might be fun.  Families and friends shouldn't have to wait until Christmas and if we do then we may not get to spent time with those we love.  Maybe I could start a *Family Fun Day* tradition...Something to think about anyway.

Whatever you are doing at this time of the year, I hope you enjoy it.  I hope you are not stressed, that you have a calm and peaceful time.  Have fun with your families and be thankful that you have them around you.  Enjoy the rest of the year.


  1. I hope to one day aspire to doing this too. Even though I am a catholic by birth I am a non-beliver and am more of a pagan. Partner and I haven't married and if we did it certainly wouldn't be in a church.

    I have the perfect opportunity to re-invent Christmas with our family as I have a 2 year old and I so hope want to use this opportunity to do it "my way". It is difficult because I have to keep in mind that he will eventually become aware of all the hoo-haa surrounding this time of the year.

    We celebrate at mum's on the night of the 24th when myself, my brother and sister and our parnter and kids go and have dinner and then open the presents. I don't do anything on Christams day itself. Haven't for donkey's years so I will continue with that. Although we do give a santa sack but it is full of items that I would have to buy for our son anyway - just giving them all together seems nice - mum used to do this for us when we were litte and we thought we were lucky we were getting pens and books and pyjamas!!

  2. boy how I can relate to what you are saying Barb ...we just do our own thing my two eldest may come for lunch if not thats fine ...we will relax ...go swimming in the pool,eat and maybe take a nap Jack who is 8 is getting a wii that will keep him occupied most of the day and we might go to the beach late afternoon...last year we had breakfast/brunch on new years day at my dads was fabulous we all stayed and had dinner left at 8pm ...we have all been invited to do it again...I hope my health is improved by then ...

  3. Me too, I do not *do* Christmas. There is so much pressure out there to conform to it, and takes a bit of guts to ignore it. Part of my reasons for not doing so is you can see the commercialism in it. Now it's over, retailers want to put out the Easter's getting a little predictable. To be honest, I don't think Christ would like the way some people carry on at this time of the yr, either. I won't bore you with my other thoughts though.

    Congratulations on being free of the stress and disappointments in xmas, I hope you enjoyed your stressless day with your DH and the rest of your family, if they decided to visit.

    I, would rather concentrate on building family relations throughout the yr, not just at these designated, so called holiday times. Cherie