It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

I’ve been slowly liking Christmas less and less since I was a kid.

Perhaps my biggest frustration isn’t listening to Christmas music (the same 5 songs sung by every signer you’ve never heard of and some you have) but that it has become the titian consumer holiday. Move over Valentine’s Day, your title of a corporate holiday has been lost.

My kids are a bit young to comprehend a lot of the bigger concepts in life (compound interest, sarcasm). Mini Donut is almost 3, so we haven’t gone through the whole holiday thing in general much less the specifics of each one. We just tell him the name of the day, that it is a holiday and that it means we get to see grandpas and grandmas.

Don’t Think Just Buy

That hasn’t stopped our families from pushing their meaning of Christmas on him and us…buy lots of crap you don’t need. I’ve already lost count of the number of people I’ve told no to about stuff they want to buy the kids. (Wasn’t that the point of the stupid list you made me make and send by freaking Halloween?)

My mom told us that no matter what we said she is getting MD a toy car of some sort.

Which flipped us around to say, ”then whatever people get that isn’t on the lists are getting returned or donated.” We will throw the money into the kids’ savings for when they need or want something.

Even before we became minimalists our Christmas lists “sucked” (that’s what my mom says every year about them). Partially the problem is we don’t like cheap, tchotchke things and generally have more expensive items on our personal want lists (i.e Nintendo Switch, nicer headphones, etc). It is also hard to have a list for a kid when he inherited all of my and Ms. Blue Ribbon’s toys that our parents hoarded since our childhood. It also makes matters worse when the family buys him stuff we didn’t ask for, all year round.

On the flip side, we try to give family meaningful gifts like something Mini Donut had made or the good old gift of money. That way the money can be saved, put in a college fund, or spent by the recipient. Making the holidays less stressful on ourselves making sure we got the right gift or not.

One Can Hope

I love my family. My parents visit frequently to see their grandkids but I don’t see my sisters all that often. I live about 50 minutes from my parents and one sister, while my other sister lives another 50 minutes east of them. I wish I got to spend more time with them (harder still when there was a falling out between my sisters).

What I really want is for our family holidays to be just that, family focused. Keep your turkey, save your money, I just want to spend time with family. Maybe my mom wouldn’t be crazy overstressed from all the meal planning and could actually enjoy the holiday for once.

Both Ms. Blue Ribbon and my families have slowly de-traditionalized some of the holidays. One Easter we made our Chicken and Wild Rice soup with Oven Mozzarella Grilled Cheese sandwiches. We got some rude comments from one family member but that was the catalyst that helped the rest realize we just need to be with each other during these times. It isn’t about a meal, decorations, or junk no one really needs; it’s about hanging out with each other.

Slowly But Surely

Don't Call Me Shirley

All good things come with time (hopefully). Who knows, maybe my sisters found this blog and don’t even know it’s me but are thinking maybe seeing each other is more important! (doubtful) We have seen more success with Ms. Blue Ribbon’s family but mine can be stubborn at times (insert comment from Ms. Blue Ribbon 😉).

Once my side gets on board, maybe the BoaS household can start doing things like want, need, wear, read. This structures the kid’s lists so they understand what is a need and what is a want. It would also limit their expectations, something I didn’t get as a kid. (I had a list 10+ long by flipping through the Sears catalog).

All we can do is chip away at their thinking.


Do you do more non-traditional holiday celebrations? How much-unwanted stuff do you expect this Christmas, Hanukkah, etc?

10 thoughts on “It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year

  1. Can you only do gifts for the kids and not have a Christmas list for the adults? It might be hard to implement this year but you could discuss it for next year.

    We just do a grab bag for the adults. We each buy a gift 25 or under. We make a hilarious game out of it, with stealing, prank gifts etc.

    You can also decide that in lieu of gifts you’re all going to donate together to a charity. Pick a dollar amount for each adult or family to chip in. Pool your money, and contribute it to a charity. Take turns on who picks the charity.

    For both of the above all you really need to say is these ideas came to you as you were watching the 1,000th holiday car commercial (or radio commercial if you’ve cut the cable) and you’d like to get more into the true Christmas spirit.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Just Because Someone Has More Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Have Enough

    1. Thankfully we stopped gifting to adults a few years ago. My parents are the only ones to gift every one and we only gift nieces and nephews.

      We do the gift games at my relatives and friends Christmas but only ever get junk 😕. The games are fun though. I do like the idea of doing a donation instead. I thought about doing something like http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-white-envelope/

      So I should expect a Lexus with a red bow? Sweet! I can’t wait to return that one 🤑😜

  2. We used to get random (not the best quality toys) for our son from others. He didn’t play with them much and we felt bad because our parents went to the trouble of buying these things. But they slowly learned what he liked and disliked. Still, I prefer they don’t buy him anything and we recently said to him that there shouldn’t be an expectation that he will get a toy whenever we goto the store. He is growing up and we’d like him to realize that things aren’t automatic in life. 🙂
    SMM recently posted…A Customized Budget Is A Good Thing

    1. My son and I always do the grocery shopping at Target so he is very used to going to the store just to get what we need. He does like to look at the toys whenever we are there…what kid can resist? 😜

  3. TOTALLY.

    I’ve gotten to the point now where I seriously inform my family NOT to get me anything.

    It’s not that I don’t desire things, but I’m a bit burnt-out on the gift giving (especially the stuff I didn’t specifically ask for).

    Totally with you on the money thing to. It seems lame to gift givers, but still.

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