Traditions I decided to break!

Discussion in 'Christmas Magic' started by jollykelly, May 30, 2017.

  1. jollykelly

    jollykelly Active Member

    I spend a lot of time planning and preparing for Christmas. This Rudy Day I started thinking about the Christmas traditions that I decided to break, both years ago and recently. Anyone else have traditions that they have decided to break and it proved to be one of the best decisions they have ever made?

    1. Buying my cousins children a Christmas gift.
    This was a tradition that I had to break, it was not easy, but it had to be done. My finances were low and we were struggling one year. I looked over my Christmas list to see where I could cut expenses, this was one of them. You see at one time (when we were children) I was very close to my cousin. However, as often happens, we grew apart as we started "adulting". It's not that we do not love each dearly, we do, but we had grown apart, both geographically and emotionally. She moved 2 states away, I did not really even know my cousins children, nor did I see them at Christmas. We were simply mailing each other gift cards. I would send them to her 2 children, she would send one to mine child. I called her and explained the situation we were in, I wanted to level set expectations. The conversation went OK, not great but OK..... but I am glad that it happened.

    2. Traveling Christmas Day
    When we had our daughter, everyone in the both families wanted to see the baby. We would have to travel to my parents house (45 minutes one way), then to my MIL (another hour in the opposite direction), then to my FIL (30 minutes from there). All while making sure that we were at my parents house when my sister was there with her children, on time for dinner at my FIL, etc. It seemed we spent the entire Christmas day traveling, upsetting seemingly everyone (the parents and in laws for not staying long enough, not staying to eat, etc. upsetting the baby for so much in and out and time in the car, ultimately my husband and myself would end up upset with each other as well). After two years of this, something had to change and this "tradition" had to break. I decided that I would host Christmas and whoever wanted to see us that day was invited. It took a few years but now almost the entire family joins me at my house, minus the MIL who cannot even be in the same room with my FIL. I am OK with that!

    3. The Christmas Card List
    I would spend night after night filling out and addressing Christmas cards. Like 200 + cards. Every family member and friend received a card. Some that I never even heard from since last year when I sent them a card. Some sent cards in return, most didn't. This was a huge time sucker up for me, as well as expensive for the cards/labels/postage. I needed to break this tradition. I looked at the list and decided to pare it down. I now only sends cards to people that I truly love. My list is down to about 25 people. I am not sure if that says something bad about me, but I had to do it. Funny thing is, not a single person that got cut from the list ever asked about a card, if I was OK, just radio silenced.

    4. Saying "yes" to everything
    Once I started organizing my Christmas and preparing all year, it didn't take long for people to notice. The requests started to come in..."Can you organize the office Christmas party? Can you put together the Sunday School pageant" "Maybe you can host the cookie exchange" On and on it went. I had a hard time saying no, so I said yes to everything. It seemed that once I said yes one year, I was the designated person for life. I found myself overwhelmed and burnt out. I decided this had to change and I had to break this tradition. I gave myself permission to say no and practiced saying "I am honored that you thought of me, I just can't do it at this time" I now pick and choose what I can take on, and I realized that it is OK to say for no, for no other reason than I want a quiet night at home with my family.

    5. The endless assortment of Christmas Cookies
    I love baking Christmas cookies, and I would spend hours for days on end in the kitchen, baking every kind of cookie I could find a recipe for. I believe my record was 22 different kinds of cookies. After all that hard work, I found that my family really only liked about 5 kinds and I ended up throwing a lot of them way. Such a waste of time and money. I had to break that tradition. Now I bake only what everyone enjoys the most. I gave up on the magazine cover-like displays. Who cares if the tray does not have wide variety of color and sizes and shapes? My family likes the basics....sugar cookies, cut outs, peanut butter blossoms, snicker doodles, and chocolate chip. I love baking these so it is a win win for everyone, including my wallet.

    6. Stocking Junk
    I love a nice full stocking hanging on the shelf on Christmas morning. As a matter of fact, the stocking is the most fun for me. It is the last thing that we open, after all of the gifts, after the French toast casserole, but before the extended family comes over. It is always a nice time. I would struggle with what to fill the stocking with for my DD. I tried to get a nice mixture of necessity stuff (body wash, lotion), candy (chocolate bars, caramels), hair and make up stuff (hair ties, nail polish) and Christmas novelty things (jingle ball pen, Christmas socks). After doing this, it would barely fill up the toe of the stocking. What was I to do? I should of bought a smaller stocking, but no I went the other way and started to buy more junk. More candy that would not get eaten, more novelty stuff (puzzles she didn't care about, blinking necklaces that she would never wear), and more, and more, and more. At last, the stocking was filled and the wallet was empty. This was a tradition that had to break. Now, the stocking is just as meaningful, and just as fun and special, but......I do not buy more just so that it is more. I get what I think is perfect and if it ends up just filling up the toe, that is OK
     
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  2. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Way to go Kelly!
     
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  3. tanya

    tanya Well-Known Member

    Great post Kelly

    Over the years I have broken a few traditions. I have also left others as being more flexible- depending on what we decide to do from year to year.

    1. Christmas At Home

    When I was little we always did Christmas at home. Mum would do a big roast meal with hot vegetables etc.which was silly because it was so hot! Everyone seemed to have a hot meal in heat wave conditions. As I got older, things changed and we went out as a family- to a fancy hotel. This suited us then. When Luke was born I did the same- it was always lovely! Until Luke started to complain 3 years ago. He decided he wanted to stay HOME. As he explained to me- Christmas Day was rushed! It was a rush to get up, open gifts, eat breakfast, get ready, get to the hotel on time, get back etc.... He wanted to stay put and relax! It took a lot of convincing from a then 9 year old to talk me into it. But he did and it was GREAT! I did what we wanted to eat- stopped worrying about if it was traditional or not. It was much more relaxed. Now we leave it open. Im not saying that we will stay home every year or go out every year. Just that we can change it up if we want to. Im not yet sure what 2017 will bring. Come August or so I will broach the subject with Luke and a decision will be made.

    2. Plum Pudding
    I always got plum pudding for dessert- even if we went out to eat, It was always here. I would serve it early evening. It was a left over tradition from when I was small. I realise now that it was my parents who really loved it. I never actually really liked it very much! Luke refused to eat it! So I had it because I felt that it was traditional! The same year, we decided to stay home. I decided that we would not eat what we don't love! So it was bye, bye to plum pudding and hello to chocolate mousse.

    3. Getting Dressed Up for NO reason
    I have ALWAYS had new clothes for Christmas. Love this tradition! Luke always had a new outfit as well. But it was always a dressy outfit that would not often be worn. I have a collection of them from over the years. Now I just get something far more relaxed and comfortable.

    There are probably more...
     
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  4. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    You ladies are definitely going in the right direction!

    Got me thinking that I should re-assess some of my Hanukkah traditions too.
     
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  5. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Kelly, It was like you and I had swapped bodies.
    I also have done the exact same thing as you. When the kids were young we would dash from one house to the next so that the ADULTS could spend time with the kids and then complain if the kids were unsettled r did not eat everything on their plates. DH and I were exhausted and full to bursting. No one should eat 3 full Christmas meals in one day!!!!!! So I broke with tradition and we made our own.

    We also cut out spending money on people we did not absolutely love. Saved us a fortune.

    I pared my Christmas card list way down and now actually send more cards to the MHH card exchange than I do to other people.

    Stocking fillers were the same. I ended up throwing out a whole heap of stuff in the middle of the year, now the kids get great stocking fillers even if their stocking is 1/2 full.

    I have cut way back on baking, I bake the families favourite and then every year we try something new. saved on money, time and waste (and the waist)!!!.

    Christmas to us is changing every year. Sometimes I feel sad because it is not the same as when our kids were younger but then I think about all the hard work that "Celebrating" was back then and I am glad that things have changed.
     
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  6. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I've cut way back too. And no one complained. Same with the cards. Families do not seem to send cards anymore. I think the internet has changed it since people are in contact more often now. My MHH cards are dearly loved and everyone comments on them when they visit.

    Food wise I am down to just a few items and a few sweets. Chocolate covered cherries and pecan pie mainly. Once every few years I'll make a cranberry pudding. But I'm the one who eats a few pieces and toss out the rest.

    Gifts we cut down too. I decided I do not have to be fair. I send to one niece because she keeps in contact with us. The rest do not get anything but a card if I get one from them.
     
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  7. jollykelly

    jollykelly Active Member

    Katrina - Just goes to show that that though oceans may divide us, we really are all alike!
     
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  8. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    We are indeed my friend!!
     
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  9. MinnieCo

    MinnieCo Well-Known Member

    It has to be done at times. I've let go as my daughter has gotten older, but added as well. Black Friday shopping for example. I could never do this my entire life because that was the busiest day of the year for my business. Once I was no longer in that position we went out. In my house we call days like that "Hallmark Days". We're not super serious black friday shoppers...I don't hunt down the deal really, but we just spend the day together and get a head start on our shopping, drink some hot chocolate, maybe get dinner and always make a memory. We've done 12 days of Christmas, we've done a complete month of advent gifts and that's stopped the last few years. HOWEVER, I feel the urge to do it again since my daughter will even have less time at home with a real big girl job now and limited time home. No more winter break from college so I want to make sure during December she fells loved and has a little fun from home. The last three years I've realized no one ever eats dessert Christmas night after we open gifts and eat dinner. Just not enough time to want dessert, so next year I'm saving the dessert for our Christmas Eve gathering and doing cookies or finger treats for Christmas night. Something to nibble on if they like, but something I can do ahead of time and not stress over on Christmas. Maybe even save me a few bucks. I was definitely a person who bought ALOT of gifts before, I'm now a quality, not quantity person. That has made a huge difference in my time shopping and wrapping. I've also talked about my anger at spending quality time making packages look beautiful and then the teenagers just making fun of them. So last year...no fancy wrapping for them. Definitely none of my fancy bows that take time and money to make. I use to make sure each person on my list got one package with a fancy bow, but not now. My daughter things I'm being silly, but it hurt my feelings and after a couple years of them not appreciating them I opted not to do them. I think it was fair...at least in my mind it was rationalized.

    Stockings are my daughter favorite part of Christmas morning. I don't do junk..but I do spend good time and money all year long to find things that will make her smile. As long as she appreciates it, then I'll keep doing it.

    Okay...I guess my list is longer than I was expecting for this post..lol

    I also stopped dressing up. I was raised in a family where we dressed up. My husbands family...Definitely not. Since I don't spend Christmas with my family, I gave that tradition up after a few years of spending it with the in-laws. One year I was so exhausted from responsibilities in life, I opted to have a low key Christmas with a nice soup and we stayed in our PJ's all day. although it was needed that year and I loved it, I wouldn't do it any time soon unless I felt prompted...But the flexibility to adjust traditions is key to happiness I think. Don't get stuck in a rut just because you feel obligated.
     
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  10. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    The dressing up part definitely has been dropped here too.. used to buy new clothes every Christmas for the whole family. Now I try to use what I have.
    Seems we are not going to mass anymore... that part I kind of miss but I'm the only one who wants to go so... it's just that it was fun when you came back and the party started. Now on Christmas Eve (always at my mom's), party starts at 6:30 instead of 10... so it ends early. But we are getting older and going to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning just gets us real tired for the upcoming days. New tradition the last few years is breakfast brunch at my sister's... casual dress and we now open gifts there (as on Christmas Eve too many of the extended family and we were the only ones exchanging gifts), so now it is relaxed.

    NY's Eve is my traditional party. Not many changes there... I do get the meat pie done by dh's aunt instead of making everything myself. Have cut down on the different buffet dishes (too many were not eaten), have kept only the ones that work well. As I've been saying for years once MIL is gone I will not receive dh's family for NY's Eve dinner, just for the evening. Can't do that while MIL is there as the 31st is her bday.

    Tradition that was changed UNFORTUNATELY, is the horse-drawn carriage ride on the 31st... there are no more horses for that in our village :(
     
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  11. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Great thoughts on trimming things back to save sanity!!! Our traditions has morphed over the years, changes in family situations etc.

    Christmas Cards: I've definitely cut back on these, and probably could do with giving the list another trim. But I did cut back on sending cards to absolutely everyone - i think I send out around 30 now. Which is totally manageable - I usually write them out and address in the summer then slip in a photo closer to December!

    Useless Doo Hickeys: I always struggle with what to get DH, especially when it comes to his stocking.
    As it sounds like many others have the same “stocking stress” I am glad to know I’m not alone! I’ve been focusing on the less is more approach – getting only things I really KNOW will be used or appreciated, even if the stocking is less full.


    Workplace Food/Baking: In recent years I dialed way back on how much food I brought into my own workplace, it just wasn’t getting eaten – which was disappointing. Not sure what changed but I gave myself permission to just bring in a plate of cookies and leave it at that! With starting a new job this week I have no idea yet how I’ll handle it this year, so we’ll see! But I do still send in several trays of cookies to DH’s work and they are consistently GONE by mid-morning of the day he brings them in. Co-workers that know me will make a special trip from another building once DH sends out the email that my cookies have arrived, lol!

    Our Own Holiday Menus: In recent years I’ve moved away from having to serve “traditional” menus and instead try to think about what we would enjoy, period. I also do always feel like we have to have a dessert and that has gotten wasted in the past, or at least partly. Last year I just made one dessert and relied on cookies from the freezer if needed and it worked great. Will plan to continue that approach!
     
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  12. Lana

    Lana Well-Known Member

    We also do not dress up anymore.

    I need to look at the card list but I do still send to several that doesn't.

    The stockings I have cut back on and I do think what I get is useful.

    We give several trays at Christmas but I have cut back and just make the stuff that I know goes.

    As far as the traveling goes we go nowhere. I have Christmas Eve and the family all comes and brings a dish and then Christmas Day I do the turkey meal and who comes comes . I always do a big turkey and the sides and then send leftovers with my great aunt and people.

    I do need to scale back with Teigan.
     
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  13. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I am also getting to that point of the quality of the gift vs the quantity. Our budget is tighter now plus the kids are out of the toys stage (well the oldest is and the youngest is on the border) so the stuff they like is more expensive.

    Over the years I have cut back on the type of cookies I bake and have it scaled back to the ones everyone likes but I do bake a lot of those LOL.

    Over the last several years we have decorated big outsides with all kinds of lights, inflatables, light up figures, etc ... but this year I am not sure I want to do that. I want more lights, more garland, more bows and I want to get the electric candles for the windows. The inflatables do not seem to last as long anymore and I am getting tired of spending money on new ones for them only to last a couple of years. We shall see what happens this year but I do see changes on that tradition coming down the road.
     
  14. MinnieCo

    MinnieCo Well-Known Member

    You are right about the inflatables.They are made so poorly now. Drives me crazy buying them and with one good storm here in Colorado they blow the motor.
     
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  15. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    We have not decorated outside for many years.
    It can to a stage where DD and I just did not have the time to do it, plus the kids did not seem to mind whether we did it or not.
    We used to drive around the neighbourhood and look at all the houses but we have not done that for a while. Both the kids work full time and we just can't seem to find the time to do it.
     
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  16. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    Oh, I understand this! Some people appreciate it and some don't. I've cut back too. I've figured out that the ones who seem to appreciate it are the ones that I will do the extra bow and ribbon on the package.

    I like to give out "appreciation" gifts at Christmas to some of the service people in our daily life - school bus drivers, teachers, church volunteers, etc. I go a bit fancier on wrapping the nice chocolate bar or the jar of preserves. If I use a lunch bag for the gifts, I like to hole punch the bag and put some nice ribbon through it and maybe add on some nice 3D stickers or nice gift tag to the bag. The feedback is always one of surprise.
     
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