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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to deal with holiday anxiety? I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but when this time of year comes around I wish I could just skip the entire month of December.

When I was a kid, I used to love Christmas. We would all get together at my Grandma's house and all 19 of my cousins were there. It was a lot of confusion and I know now that my Grandma worked very hard to make Christmas so special for us all.

Now...she is gone and so are some of my cousins. So Christmas just isn't the same. I began to do my shopping for my grandchild and was really dismayed to find that the price of everything appropriate for his age group has gone to the moon. What ever happened to Christmas and when did it become necessary to have deep pockets in order to buy a gift?
 
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I think most people have anxiety about the holiday season...I used to...

What I did was simplify everything...it's hot here so its cold chicken and ham and salads and devilled eggs...a few Christmas foody things like coconut ice and rocky road but that's it ...

All my friends know it's open house at my place AFTER their anxiety filled family lunch...so we have an afternoon of very happy people coming together to just relax...lots of cups of tea and coffee (coz everyone is stuffed full already) and we just chill out

My kids know we do not do crazy overboard presents...since they were small we always focused on making people feel good by what we could 'make' and that was home made Christmas cards....these days we make up goodies baskets...filled with home made things like rocky road and white chocolate crackles... Turkish delight and chocolate coated figs...candied peel and whatever else we decide to make...even though my son is autistic he has come to understand that 'giving' and personal gifts like our baskets are a large part of Christmas...

Last year we made baskets for the four old women across the road...they live alone and the two old men that live behind us...we sneaked around very early one morning and left them all ninja-like...my son enjoyed that lol

I know we cannot change the commercialisation of Christmas but we can chose how we participate...I had very bad memories of holidays as a child...I was determined that not happen to my kids...and it feels good to know that is true :)
 
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I used to HATE Christmas, but now I am okay with it, but will probably hate it again once my kids are grown.

Thank you for bringing up this topic -- I have had anxiety attacks in malls for many years. So my first advice would be to avoid that panicked-buying anxiety vibe you pick up in malls! One year, before kids, I actually bought absolutely NOTHING. Not one gift. And discovered nobody died as a result.

My anxiety now is that my husband tries to create a Christmas for the kids, that he never got to have. He spends a fortune and we are broke. I doubt they are even impressed since they are pretty constantly spoiled anyhow ... sigh. Not just materially, but they also get loads of attention and affection all the time, LOL.

But ... it is always something with holidays.
 

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I cannot handle malls or shopping either...my son is particularly sensitive to the Christmas 'crazy' vibe....he stays home November and December...

I'm sure it's not meant to cause pain...
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
d33na ~ I enjoyed reading your account of what you do at Christmas for other people. What wonderful memories you have given your son to teach him about making other people feel good.

foxl ~ When my kids were young, I loved Christmas. Now that my OH and I have an 'empty nest' I do find myself hating Christmas. It seems that our oldest one always goes to his in-laws first and foremost. The younger one is divorced but always has to wait for his 'ex' to decide what her plans are going to be before he can make plans. We never know when they are coming, or even if they are coming.

I'm sorry that you have anxiety at this time of year. I wish there was some way we could just tone down our anxiety. Maybe if we continue giving voice to how we feel, the anxiety will lessen?
 
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John Steinbeck to Adlai Stevenson:

Adlai, do you remember two kinds of Christmases? There is one kind in a house where there is little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice. The one single package is opened with a kind of slow wonder, almost reverence. Once I gave my youngest boy, who loves all living things, a dwarf, peach-faced parrot for Christmas.He removed the paper and then retreated a little shyly and looked at the little bird for a long time. And finally he said in a whisper,“Now who would have ever thought that I would have a peach-faced parrot?” then there is the other kind of Christmas with present piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents thrown down and at the end the child says-“Is that all?” Well, it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas.Having too many THINGS they spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. . . If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick. . . And then I think of our “Daily” in Somerset, who served you lunch. She made a teddy bear with her own hands for our grandchild. Made it out of an old bath towel dyed brown and it is beautiful. She said, “Sometimes when I have a bit of rabbit fur, they come out lovelier.” Now there is a present. And that obviously male teddy bear is going to be called for all time MIZ Hicks.

When I left Bruton, I checked out with Officer ‘Arris, the lone policeman who kept the peace in five villages, unarmed and on a bicycle. He had been very kind to us and I took him a bottle of Bourbon whiskey. But I felt it necessary to say-“It’s a touch of Christmas cheer, officer, and you can’t consider it a bribe because I don’t want anything and I am going away. . .” He blushed and said,“Thank you, sir, but there was no need.” To which I replied-“If there had been, I would not have brought it.”

Source
 
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Sure. I've only quoted part of the letter. You can find the whole letter here.
 

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Since the concern is copyrighted material, I changed the link to the actual book where it's published (America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction, by John Steinbeck) instead of a blog quoting the letter.

I love that letter. It was written over 50 years ago, and is as relevant today as it was the day it was written.
 

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The holidays get my pretty anxious. Juggling going to 4 sets of family events, inevitably letting down someone or "ruining Christmas", worrying about money... it really upsets me.

Last year I put a kabosh on trying to make everyone else happy. I skipped over half of the parties, insisted that I get to have a Christmas morning at my own home with my husband, and bought much fewer presents. This year I'm continuing that tradition and trying to ramp down the presents even more, focusing on "one thoughtful gift".

I also stopped taking time off around holidays. The office is empty, the workload light and it's easier to not get pulled into things if I can say "sorry I'm working". :)
 

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When my kids were little and when I was little I loved Christmas. We would always have huge Christmases or at least it seemed. Now as I get older I realise all the stress that goes with the Holidays. I think we are trying to recreate something that really wasn't there. I think our memories of Christmas past are kind of embellished with time. My suggestion is to start to cut back. My kids are all in their 20's and 30's now and really don't need a lot of presents. No grandkids yet, so I don't have to deal with toys. But when they do come I think I am going to contribute to college funds instead of buying toys. As I clean out my basement and attic I throw away thousands of dollars of toys I bought for my kids when they were young. My kids now are drawing one name of a sibling to buy for. My siblings finally went to a Yankee Swap instead of exchanging presents. As far as all the food temptaions that is another matter. I have to make sure I have some LC treats on hand at all times so I don't give in to the cookies, cakes and sweet treats.
 
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I love Christmas. But I have tricks to get through it:
  • Take shortcuts. My girls have a beautiful collection of silver bells, but they're a pain to unwrap, polish, hang, and rewrap every year, so I don't. Sometimes I hang them tarnished; sometimes I don't even hang them. One year we had Christmas at the beach and decorated with seashells and driftwood. That was fun.
  • Ask for help. I'm shameless about saying, "You will do this, you will do that, and I will do something else." It sounds so simple, but not everyone does it.
  • What d33na said: simplify. I used to send out Christmas cards to a long list of people and bake for friends and neighbors. That, plus decorating the house and tree and buying gifts and attending all the parties, was just too much. So . . . no more cards or baking. I'm happy to say I didn't lose a single friend because of it. Maybe my baking's not as good as I think it is. :p
  • Shop online. Malls are a Grinch-making moment waiting to happen.
My Mama gave me the best Christmas advice. She said there's never enough time to do all that you'd like to do, so just do what you can and when the day comes, stop and enjoy it. That's why I don't sweat it when the gifts I ordered (online) don't show up in time and I basically have to put IOUs under the tree. Thanks, Mom!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I love Christmas. But I have tricks to get through it:
  • Take shortcuts. My girls have a beautiful collection of silver bells, but they're a pain to unwrap, polish, hang, and rewrap every year, so I don't. Sometimes I hang them tarnished; sometimes I don't even hang them. One year we had Christmas at the beach and decorated with seashells and driftwood. That was fun.
  • Ask for help. I'm shameless about saying, "You will do this, you will do that, and I will do something else." It sounds so simple, but not everyone does it.
  • What d33na said: simplify. I used to send out Christmas cards to a long list of people and bake for friends and neighbors. That, plus decorating the house and tree and buying gifts and attending all the parties, was just too much. So . . . no more cards or baking. I'm happy to say I didn't lose a single friend because of it. Maybe my baking's not as good as I think it is. :p
  • Shop online. Malls are a Grinch-making moment waiting to happen.
My Mama gave me the best Christmas advice. She said there's never enough time to do all that you'd like to do, so just do what you can and when the day comes, stop and enjoy it. That's why I don't sweat it when the gifts I ordered (online) don't show up in time and I basically have to put IOUs under the tree. Thanks, Mom!
Your Mama is a smart lady. I've already started worrying whether the gift I ordered for my only grandchild will arrive on time........but I think he might be old enough for an IOU and be happy to extend his celebrating when it does come.

Those of you who have younger children (around 11 yrs or so) what DVD titles do your children enjoy? My grandson already understands how to operate the DVD player (which is more than I can say for myself) and he loves to watch the movies. I would like to get a few for the times when he visits or perhaps several for his gifts. Over Thanksgiving he watched a kids movie on TV that he just loved.......but sigh.....I can't remember the name of it. It had to do with Ice Age critters and Christmas???
 

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Hello Strawberry,

You gotta fight them Christmas Blues. As for gift giving get the Betty Crocker out and fire up the oven.Made with love cookies and small breads are great gifts. I know we are diabetic but you know what I mean.

Also kids are out of the house so its time for some new traditions to be started for you and your husband..

You need to seek out two concerts Make each a weekend. Make Christmas for you two . Keep it simple and loving. The concerts will be the gift for you both. Maybe a nice dinner, ????

;););) Hubba Hubba ;););)

#1 See the Tran Siberian Orchestra. It's amusic fusion of orchestra and rock and roll, a great experience. Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Official website

#2 Manhiem Steamroller Christmas Manhiem Steamroller

Check out you tube videos of their work.

Also, when was the last time you and hubby attended a Story of the Nativity, or a Midnight Mass.
 

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Strawberry,

See if you can firnd this DVD for your Grandson...

Emmit Otters Jug-Band Christmas

It's with JIm Hensons Muppets. Absolutrely a great Christmas message DVD


Here's a clip.. It maybe a bit juvenile for him age wise.
 

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Those of you who have younger children (around 11 yrs or so) what DVD titles do your children enjoy? My grandson already understands how to operate the DVD player (which is more than I can say for myself) and he loves to watch the movies. I would like to get a few for the times when he visits or perhaps several for his gifts. Over Thanksgiving he watched a kids movie on TV that he just loved.......but sigh.....I can't remember the name of it. It had to do with Ice Age critters and Christmas???
ICE AGE ... there are several of that title. Despicable Me. The Star Wars series ... Anything by Hayao Miyazaki (look him up and read all the movie descriptions). I hate the Disney movies but we have tons ... Shrek, Puss in Boots (not out on DVD yet); UP ; Shawn the Sheep (claymation); Wallace and Gromit (also a series).

Those are the ones that get watched overandoveragain. I have actually bought TWO copies of a couple Miyazakis, they are that good ...
 

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Japaanese Anime form Miyazak -san is very good (studio gibli connected with Disney)

They can be pricey. Shop the, E-Bay, consider streaming /dvd service Amazon, Netflix et.al.

Some Good Ones Are
Spirited Away
Howels Moving Castle
KiKi's Delivery Service
Steam Boy (great DVD more along the lines of Steam Punk genre)
Castles in the sky

There is plenty more out there stick with studio Gibli stuff. Anime can be really violent in imagery and depiction.
 
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Steam Boy is not Miyazaki, but also a favorite (of MINE!).

Princess Mononoke
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Whisper of the Heart (replaced this one!)
Ponyo and Totoro (may be "younger," but we still watch them!!!
The Cat Returns (replaced that one!)

And yeah anime gets weirdly sexual and violent -- use caution!
 
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