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Making the holidays fun ?
Old 12-06-2015, 01:32 PM   #1
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Making the holidays fun ?

I don't really like all the holiday stuff and it seems mildly depressing. I notice a pick up in happiness in others early in the new year -- is that related?

Anyway, here is what we are doing this year to make it a happy time. For us it's easy as we are a very small family unit.

1) Our son is visiting with his new girl friend's family (we got Thanksgiving with them and she is a sweety). So we're sending out Amazon gifts to him. No fuss that way and he is a happy camper.

2) For each other we are just going to the stores together and buying our gifts. No wondering what DW needs. Instant happiness. Can avoid crowds, maximize selection by doing it now, avoids returns. I also ordered a few items she wanted on Amazon.

3) I'm taking DW out to some nice dinners and lunches between now and the New Year's. Probably just nice places that are not formal or very expensive. Seems to be a point of diminishing return with restaurant menu costs. We'd rather go out multiple times then splurge on high end restaurants.

4) Hoping to put off setting up and taking down the artificial Xmas tree . This depends on DW's mood. If she wants it I'll lug it down from the attic.

5) Avoiding controversy in our discussions and I'm becoming more aware of the friction I cause by being too picky or fussy i.e. redirecting my analytical skills to my own interests. Hopefully maximizes happiness.

What are you doing to avoid the holiday blues?
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:52 PM   #2
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It's a struggle this year, especially for DW. With both daughters now married, this is the first time that we won't have either one of them around on Christmas day. We thought about traveling, but have finally decided to try to take advantage of some of the holiday activities in the DC area. This won't be great for me (I abhor crowds) but should keep DW from getting too morose.
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Making the holidays fun ?
Old 12-06-2015, 02:00 PM   #3
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Making the holidays fun ?

With just 2 of us, we haven't always "done" Christmas. As with Halloween , or indeed any other holiday, if I don't make it an event, it doesn't happen.

Last Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had just moved into our new home, closer to dear FIL, and we hosted extended family on both sides. Both holidays were memorable.

This year, since FIL's passing, family ties seem to have dissolved as well (which DH expected.)

So, to date I haven't bought a tree or put up decorations, and I may just take this year off.
I think we'll just walk the dogs. My heart isn't really in it this year. I am not sure whether that's "the blues" or something else.


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Old 12-06-2015, 02:08 PM   #4
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That is so nice that you thought of your wives first. You both have wonderful ideas for the holidays. Have a great holiday!
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:32 PM   #5
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We sometimes get depressed around the holidays too, so here's what we have done to keep that from happening:

1) Gift cards instead of shopping for presents
2) No present exchanges with anyone but a few members of the immediate family;
3) Our homes are "Christmas Free Zones"; no Christmas decorating, no Christmas music, no Christmas cookies or eggnog.
4) We feel less depressed if we drive around looking at the pretty Christmas lights at least once during the holidays. We reminisce about times long gone for us meanwhile, but move on to other topics afterwards.

With no Christmas stuff at our homes, we can enjoy other peoples' decorations if/when we see them without feeling overwhelmed. We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family, but that's about it.

We are not religious, but if we were I would celebrate with some understated but religious decorations like a beautiful little crčche with hand carved figurines, and religious Christmas music. But for us that just does not apply.

We tend to be more caring and loving towards one another during the holidays. Guess it is the spirit of the season.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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I used to love the holidays. Not so much anymore. So this year I really focused on what is like, running the neighborhood at dark to see the lights, going to the coffee shop, decorating my boat and a few local events. And eating cookies of course. And stayed away from the things I don't like, decorating trees and the awful shopping, and Christmas music on the radio, and the TV shows, they just depress me. I can now buy all my presents at the book store and liquor store!
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:15 PM   #7
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I have found Christmas depressing for many years because I often had to w*rk through it. Some of my busiest days and nights and sickest patients turned up on Christmas Day, when there was only a skeleton staff on duty. At the same time, I felt guilty that I could not be with my family. Now that both w*rk and family have gone, I just avoid as much of the fuss as I can. Sometimes I host Christmas dinner for friends. Last year I spent Christmas in Mexico, which was wonderful.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:28 PM   #8
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I think we are going to round up friends that don't have family around and go for a hike or snowshoe then come back to our house for a meal. There are quite a few of us in a hiking meetup group I'm active in with no plans, so we should have a good time.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:36 PM   #9
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We need something to make the holidays fun. SIL jumped all over DW for not changing the date of our Christmas get to together so that her son and DIL could make it. So now everyone is PO'd. Way too much drama. I can't wait until it's over.


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Old 12-06-2015, 03:42 PM   #10
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Making the holidays fun ?

And here I was thinking I was one of a rare few who doesn't decorate at all or enjoy the holiday season!
Y'all really are my tribe!

Over the years, the holidays have always represented a tightrope walk between my mom and DH's mom, and we wind up spending a lot of time in the car. It doesn't bring me much joy.

The best Christmas we ever had was 2011, when we arrived at the Lima airport a little before midnight on Christmas Eve, and the guards and immigration clerks launched into song at the stroke of midnight. Really, really cool. And we stayed with folks through AirBnB who were just wonderful, and happy to welcome us into their home to celebrate with them.

This year will be low key, and I hope drama-free with the parents.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:48 PM   #11
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Just noticed your new avatar Sarah!
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:48 PM   #12
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The "duty" of buying gifts bugs me. Exchanging gift cards bugs me (what's the point?). If I find something I think one of my family would like, I usually just buy it and give it to them right away, no need to wait 'till Christmas. So personalized giving gives me a boost, and shopping for Christmas presents, with all of the marketing hype, etc, is a drag, which is a blues booster for me.

But on to the topic of what I'm planning to keep upbeat this Christmas:

The kids are returning for Christmas, so I'm going to figure out some activities to do with them. Actually, I'm going to let them figure the activities and no matter what they say, I'm going to do it. I don't think liking those activities will be a problem. They like to bake, so that's one thing, but I'm sure there will be other things. I've bought a swarm of indoor quadcopters, and at least one of them is a pretty good pilot, so that might be fun. We had fun playing games and doing puzzles, simple things like that are great.

Since they're going to be home, I suppose we'll need to decorate (that's a drag, for me, because all I can think of is hauling all that crap back up in the attic). My BIL had his house decorated in creative ways and I picked his brain on why he was so enthusiastic about it. He said he just enjoys it. He painted coconuts bright colors and hung them from the tree in his back yard as ornaments. That project must have taken hours, and they get thrown away after the new year (paint cracks as the coconuts shrink). The good news is that he doesn't have to store them. Maybe that's the key to enjoying decorating...don't just do the same old thing...try something new.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:57 PM   #13
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DW goes all out with decorations, etc. I am more of a Bah, humbug kind of guy so I just go along with the program. Gift giving from me is usually gift cards while DW gives items people may actually need.

Her three kids and grandkids are invited here for Christmas day. Some show, some have other plans. My daughter will also be here. It's a good time; lots of food, wine, goodies, cheer.

I typically blend in but can't wait until it's over. The next over-hyped event is New Years Eve. I try to get DW to agree to stay home, but I may lose out this year as friends want us to be with them, preferably out somewhere.
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:01 PM   #14
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Forgot to mention that Christmas is not the only holiday around here. There is the Hannukah which is really a lessor holiday in the Jewish religion. Then there is Buddhism which is my son's girl friend's heritage. Can get complicated but interesting to reflect on.

Also, sometimes I escape by thinking of all the wild creatures out there (squirrels, deer, skunks, etc.) that don't have to deal with this social stuff. Then there are all those massive stars with thermonuclear processes going on and galaxies out there with no hint of our silly social ideas. No, I'm not nuts ... well maybe a little.
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:40 PM   #15
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Forgot to mention that Christmas is not the only holiday around here. There is the Hannukah which is really a lessor holiday in the Jewish religion. Then there is Buddhism which is my son's girl friend's heritage. Can get complicated but interesting to reflect on.

Also, sometimes I escape by thinking of all the wild creatures out there (squirrels, deer, skunks, etc.) that don't have to deal with this social stuff. Then there are all those massive stars with thermonuclear processes going on and galaxies out there with no hint of our silly social ideas. No, I'm not nuts ... well maybe a little.
Your avatar suggests EXACTLY what you should do to escape. Paint. Paint, paint, paint. IIRC you are the artist who created your avatar. Paint many, many blue bunnies or whatever you are inspired to paint. One nice thing about being an artist, is that nobody is going to disturb you or browbeat you for not joining in the festivities, if you are in a painting frenzy. At least, I would imagine that is the case.
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:42 PM   #16
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No decorations at my home for more than 15 years now. And we stopped buying gifts, even for our grown children, I cannot remember when.

Still, my brothers and I take turn hosting a Xmas day pot luck, and New Year too. All we need is food, booze, and family to have a good time.
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:43 PM   #17
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Forgot to mention that Christmas is not the only holiday around here. There is the Hannukah which is really a lessor holiday in the Jewish religion. Then there is Buddhism which is my son's girl friend's heritage. Can get complicated but interesting to reflect on.

Also, sometimes I escape by thinking of all the wild creatures out there (squirrels, deer, skunks, etc.) that don't have to deal with this social stuff. Then there are all those massive stars with thermonuclear processes going on and galaxies out there with no hint of our silly social ideas. No, I'm not nuts ... well maybe a little.
Hey Christmas is really big in the Buddhist countries in SE Asia that I have been to at this time of year, and in atheist China too. The malls in China where I was were decorated far more lavishly than any mall here. But then of course it is all more about Santa Clause than the about Jesus. But they do like to party and exchange gifts, more for the young adults than the kids though.

But I do remember in my old neighborhood (in the U.S.), we had an annual holiday cookie exchange party. One of the best parties we ever had was in the home of a Jew married to a Buddhist. And yes they had a great Christmas tree!
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Old 12-06-2015, 04:56 PM   #18
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I have never felt in the Christmas spirit since I moved to Florida . In my mind Christmas needs snow so I fake it . I shop online ,decorate , host a large Christmas Eve party and in doing that I recreate some of the joys of the holidays . I do it for my SO & his family and they appreciate it . I miss my family but we get together at other times & skype on Christmas .I do enjoy the tree since most of the decorations are sentimental and I love eating leftovers in my pj's.
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:05 PM   #19
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Just going with the flow here ...
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:05 PM   #20
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...I do enjoy the tree since most of the decorations are sentimental and I love eating leftovers in my pj's.
Does that mean you are eating some of the Xmas tree ornaments? Never thought of eating leftovers in my pj's but it sounds kind of cozy.
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