Christmas - does the thought of it fill you with joy or dread?

Lady - posted on 10/21/2011 ( 100 moms have responded )

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We're creeping slowely towards the holiday season so I was wondering how everyone is feeling about it - are you excited or are you dreading it?

Do you love it - all the shopping the decorations and the food and parties - or are you dreading the expense, the worry about how you are going to afford it all and the hyper kids.

Maybe you don't even celebrate Christmas and hate all the fuss going on around you when it's not something you take part in.

And of course for some this is a hard time when you wish you were able to share it with someone who is no longer around.

What are your feeling about Christmas this year?

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Charlie - posted on 10/23/2011

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I love our Aussie christmas !

Hot sunny days, beach, cold beer, seafood mmmmMMM !

As for credit cards for christmas Ive always been of the mind if youi cant afford it you shouldnt buy it ( unless its for an emergency ) credit cards are terrible things.

Jennifer - posted on 10/23/2011

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I hate Christmas and have for a VERY long time. I was raised in a Christian School and they taught us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. To me, celebrating the birth of Jesus is basically celebrating the beginning of our beloved Lord's suffering on earth. It's like celebrating the fact that we are so pathetic as a species that we couldn't avoid sin so Jesus whom we are suppose to love had to come down and be tortured and killed in our place so that we can have eternal life. It doesn't make sense to me to celebrate that.

Then as I got older I learned that no one really knows WHEN Jesus was born but the only thing we CAN know is that Jesus was NOT born in December. It is the rainy season in that part of the world and the shepherds would NOT have been out tending their flocks at night. If God had wanted us to celebrate it, wouldn't he have made it known when it was? Lets suppose that he just didn't feel like making the exact date known, why would he go to the trouble of talking about the shepherds, so we would KNOW it wasn't in December?

Then I look into the origins of that date and realize that it was originally a Pagan festival to the sun god. Didn't God demand that all idols and connections to the pagans be destroyed when the Israelis took over a city? I can imagine that God is not pleased with a celebration of his son's birth being pasted on top of a false god's day. Not to mention it is another reason why Atheists contest Christianity because our deity's birth coincides with many other deities. (Making them all look like they must be false or fabricated on top of one another)

Anyway, so then I realize that all those years in Christian school, I was lied to about the real date of Jesus Birth and then as I start reading about the birth I realize that I was lied to about the wise men showing up at the manger as well. We all see the nativity and it has 3 wise men showing up at the stable. It took months for them to travel where Jesus was and it says they showed up at the HOUSE where Jesus was... not at the stable. It also never said there were 3 of them... only 3 gifts.

So, now I see that the date is a lie, the wise men are a lie, and we ALL know that Santa Clause is a lie. I wonder how thrilled God must be that all these lies surround the supposed celebration of his Son's birth?

These would be the "Christian" reasons I hate Christmas but then I work in retail and the people are shameful at this time of year. There is no love or peace on earth. There is lots of greed and of course people throwing money in the pot for Charity out of guilt instead of just because these people need it. If people actually gave because they wanted to help those people, they would give at other times of the year. Those children are hungry in June and May. Just as hungry and poverty stricken as they are at Christmas. But to placate their own guilt at their gluttonous lives, they toss the coins into the kettle at that time of the year. It's just a really sad holiday. I wish Christmas didn't exists. At least at other times of the year if I get a gift or give a gift, it is known that it was done because of love and not out of a sense of responsibility.

Bah Humbug!

I am going to Celebrate Hanukkah.... at least we CAN know that Jesus celebrated this holiday. There is one wee passage that talks of him being in the temple during that winter festival.

Angela - posted on 10/24/2011

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St. Nicholas was real.... he was a bishop from a wealthy family who gave all his in inheritance to help the poor, not just children.
Immigrants brought him over to N. America and due to art and taste he became a fat jolly Santa...
I will find the links if you all like on this.
I am not religious at all and find Christmas and the holiday season fun and enjoyable. I love all the holidays!

Charlie - posted on 10/23/2011

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Having santa doesnt mean a free for all on gifts and it doesnt make a well raised child turn greedy it's not like you lose all parental control at xmas time...anyway my kids dont ask santa for anything santa just fills their stocking with bubbles , balloons , socks you know little cheap , useful and fun things.

As for super imaginative kids that is something I will never will away from them, there is no such thing as impossible just harder to attain ...If my boys ask for blue puffy clouds I will fill their outdoor blow up pool with blue bubble bath !

Sherri - posted on 10/23/2011

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@Gillian easy Santa does have a budget and my kids are well aware of this. They are not allowed to be greedy. They are allowed to ask for three gifts and three gifts only and Santa will pick one to purchase.

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Aniesha - posted on 12/07/2011

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I love love love Christmas!! I love it even more since I've had my son:). This year I'm a little worried as I'll be 38 weeks on Christmas Day, and having some issues with my pregnancy, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to enjoy the day still. But I think it's the best time of the year:)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/26/2011

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I want to try and do a White Elephant on Christmas eve or Christmas day with my inlaws, but my husband doesn't think it'll work.

Amie - posted on 10/26/2011

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I remember playing that game in school! Before they decided brining a gift was too much for parents.



It is a fun game but we don't play it in our family. All adults in the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) get alcohol. LOL All the kids get a gift, there's no price limit just what a person can afford. It also helps though that on my husband's side of the family us and one of his cousins are the only ones with kids. Five in total so far and four of those are ours. On my side of the family myself and seven cousins have kids. There's eighteen kids on that side so far. We still have younger siblings to go yet too. =/ Of those seven though five get sent gift cards for their kids since they live out of province and don't make it back for Christmas. In fact, we rarely see them in person. I haven't seen them since our wedding 2 years ago. =(

Janice - posted on 10/25/2011

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I have heard of the game, thanks for jogging my terrible pregnant memory! That sounds like so much fun! There is 17 first cousins on my fathers side and when we were children we did secret santa but it only lasted a few years. Now we are adults and most of us have kids so we started having an X-mas party and secret santa among the next generation of cousins. Also when a baby is born everyone typically buys something for the baby's first christmas. Getting together with family is the best part of the holidays!

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/25/2011

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We keep our gifts wrapped and then each person gets to get up pick their gift then swap and maybe get their gift stolen as well. It's always funny to see something someone thought was the best gift unwrapped to find out it's crap.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/25/2011

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I guess we started out that way, a George Foreman grill repeatedly made the rounds in the early years of our White Elephant tradition, as did a board game. And someone always throws in the candles they got the year before.

But for the most part we all got so into the game that now we try to guess what is going to be the hot item (again, about $20) that everybody tries to steal. It's just more fun for us to get to go home with something cool (last year I came home with a portable grill that folds up to be just a half inch thick, but the item everyone wanted to steal was a remote control helicopter!) instead of just something someone didn't want from their house. Everyone plays differently, and I'm sure that's how it started (hence the "white elephant") but since it's the one gift we're giving to extended family (instead of having to buy personal present for everyone) we try to make the gifts something someone might actually like. It also makes it more fun for us because you secretly want your present to be the one everyone tries to steal.

Elfrieda - posted on 10/25/2011

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Isn't a key part of the white elephant game that you have to give away something that you already own (and don't want)? That's what makes it so funny!

[deleted account]

To answer the OP, if I just said "Bah Humbug!" would that explain how I feel about the Christmas holiday season adequately? LOL

I don't like it and every year I am only faking it til 12/26 for my son's sake. If it weren't for him, hubby and I would exchange a gift (or buy an "us" gift), there would be no tree and no decorations. I don't like it at all and it's always such a HUUUGE relief when it's over.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/25/2011

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Mary, in my dad's family buying the white elephant gift is optional. Most of us just give away something in our house we don't want.

We used to do secret Santa when my cousins and I were younger. But after a lot of us got older and we switched from Christmas Eve to before Christmas and my paternal grandparents both passed we just hired a Santa Clause and everyone's children got a gift.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/25/2011

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WHITE ELEPHANT GAME:
(Also goes by Yankee Swap and other names)

Everyone who is playing brings ONE wrapped gift that would be appropriate for any gender within a certain budget (we usually say $20-$25 at our house, but some people do $15, others do $30 but within a range)

Then we write a number for each person playing on a slip of paper. Everyone picks a number out of the hat and the wrapped gifts are put on a table in the middle of everyone.

Who ever has the #1 can go up and pick a gift off the table. They unwrap it and show it to everybody. Who ever has #2 can then either, chose to unwrap a second gift, OR they can STEAL the gift from #1. If they steal the gift from #1, #1 can open another present on the table. Then #3 goes, and #3 can either open a gift on the table, or steal from #2 or #3 and so on and so on. The larger number you have the better, because then you have more unwrapped gifts to chose from.

When all the presents are opened, the game is finished.

We however, usually have nearly 20 people playing, and the individual families end up making unofficial teams, like if the mom has #2 and the dad has # 15, the dad can steal the gift the mom wants. We get really into the game at our house; we've been playing it for the last 15 years! Since the game has gotten so big at our house, we've had to incorporate more rules. Like you only have 60 seconds to make up your mind (this is in honor of my Uncle John who likes to inspect every gift before choosing) and you can't steal a gift back from the same person that stole it from you. Eventually now we have to put limits on steals, like a gift can only be stolen 8 times before it's "out of the game" and permanently with who ever has it after 8 times.

This way if you have a really big family, you only have to buy one gift, and everybody leaves with something.

Also, we do Secret Santa for the cousins under 18. We have a really big family so that way the kids only have to buy one gift for one cousin, and the adults only have to buy one gift for one adult. And then usually god parents will maybe give you a card with a $20 in it or something. But it really cuts down on cost and it ups the fun factor when opening gifts.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/24/2011

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@Meggy, we do the white elephant game with my dad's side on Christmas Eve too and it is so crazy and the most fun I have with his family all year! All the "families" kind of try to scheme together to figure out how to get the best gifts and it gets so competitive, of corse, in a totally good natured laugh until you pee your pants kind of way, because most of the time the gifts are candles or a george foreman grill : )

My grandpa defied the odds too, he was a P.O.W. during WWII in the Bataan Death March and came home from the war about 96 pounds and told he'd never have kids. He had 5, and those 5 all had 2-3 kids each, and now me and my cousins all have spouses, or kids, or are expecting.

We do secret santa for the kids under 18 and white elephant for those over 18. And then maybe people bring an extra gift or card for their god-children or god-parents. It does take the stress out from being obligated to get a gift for EVERYBODY.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/24/2011

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I used to get fun things for Christmas now I just get some really cool socks and money from my moms' family. I get clothes and acessories from my parents.



My dads' family is quite large (I had a traditional Irish Catholic grandma who despite 2 bouts of rhuematic fever defied her doctor's odds and had 7 children) I have 18 FIRST cousins who are either married or at least have one child along with being married. So we do an ornament and a white elephant gift. That in my opinion is the best part of the Donnelly Family Christmas and I wish I could be a part of that. The reason it's the best part is what people do to try and get what they think might be the best gift. Everything is wrapped, and you have a number on your ornament. Last year one of my uncle's thought he got a great gift, it ended up being a table decoration of 3 trees made from beads on cones that my mom was given by her mom because her mom didn't want it!



Laurelai, your parents sound a lot like mine. We don't do too much during the year, but around Christmas and birthdays the stuff comes out. It's the same with my DH's mom, when she can afford it.



I like that with kids you don't have to go all out. One year my older daughter's big gift was a baby doll that came with a stroller, crib and high chair that the doll interacted with. She still plays with it 3 years later and it was on sale for 30$! 2 years ago her big gift was a portable DVD player. Last year I didn't have as much money, but she got a used Barbie house (12$) and my mom bought her a lot of paper and some water colours. shoot one year a friend of mine down in Oregon sent me bubble wrap for Christmas.

Merry - posted on 10/24/2011

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I agree with Sherri, that's what my mom did, well she did over do birthdays too but it was the special times she did buy us stuff. Throughout the year we didn't get gifts much! We didn't do big vacations, we lived in a small house and drove reasonable cars etc, she wanted to give us amazing Christmases and birthdays so she saved and planned and made sure we had the money for it. She didn't use credit. I think it's up to the parents how they choose to give gifts to their kids, either small random gifts throughout the year or save it all up for a big Christmas! Either way I don't think it matters, kids don't need gifts anyways but being moms we love giving them!

Sherri - posted on 10/24/2011

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My kids have saved a lot of their own money and have done just that for a lot of the things they want Teresa. The only time of the year we buy them anything they want and don't need is Christmas. We don't even buy birthday gifts. For us their parties are their gifts.

So at Christmas I try and buy them the one thing they have been pining for all year. Especially since it is the one and only time all year, we do it for them.

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Doesn't matter age or gender, Sherri. If they want that stuff they can figure out a way to pay for it themselves. My girls have been asking for an iPod for 4 years..... Of course, they have over $300 between the 2 of them and haven't spent it to GET an iPod or anything else..... ;)

Christina - posted on 10/24/2011

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Christmas -- just like any other day is what you make of it!! You get out of it what you put into it! If you coose to get out of bed everyday with a good additude then your attempting to start your day off right. Its the same way with Christmas...if your going into it with dread and dispear then more than likely thats what your CHristmas is going to be like! Christmas is about Christ (what ever your relgion) Its also about the children!! Nothing inspires me more each year than the excitment in my childrens faces & additudes the entire week not just "the day of"! Baking cookies, decorating, makeing gifts, wrapping them, we also attend a local shelter so my children understand the consept of just how lucky we are even with so little ...I embrace the chaos as part of the journey (the bigger picture) its not going to be perfect with a 2yr old running around, but my 2yr old in MY face saying santa's coming, santa's coming more than fills my heart with joy. My oldest (13) just figure the whole Santa thing out 2 yrs ago -- but we still say "if you bealive" we celebrate the "SPIRIT" of christmas -- which sounds like a few of you have lost or never had. So much negativity about such trivial nonsence!! My family was terrible at Christmas growing up -- always arguing & fighting! I chose with my family to be different, to turn that around. It is sad that the holidays have become more and more comercialized every year...but I dont allowing that stuff in my world! We know what our expectations are, we stick to our budget (that some ppl have to have -- because not all of us are wealthy) and we enjoy every part of it, the good and the bad. I am brought to tears every year (maybe Im just emotional) but I LOVE the feeling of family (and trust that not everyon in my family gets along) but the joy of just being able to have that opprotunity & be here (healthy) in the same room with the chaos is enough for me! I hope everyone has a wondeful holiday with what ever you choose to do!!



Neat Idea Emma...I like that!!

Bernie - posted on 10/24/2011

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We have a traditional Kiwi Christmas, bbq, kiwi pavlova etc, kids out side playing in the pool etc. Like Australia, New Zealand has a Summer Christmas

I enjoy the look on peoples faces when they receive gifts.

We are having our two children make their Santa stockings this year by using a pillow case and decorating it with fabric paint. Santa will put a present in it (makeup for my step daughter, a learning computer we got 2nd hand for our son who has autism) followed by some lollies- which we are buying family pack of lollies and wrapping them up in cellophane).
Then they will get a few gifts each. We got most our kids gifts from those little coin saves stores, dressup clothes, nail polishes.
I used to work in a souvenir store in Chch and found that helpful whenever we did training as companies often gave us freebies- or staff incentives (gift vouchers) were gifted to family.
We are hoping to stay in our house for Christmas unless the land assessment comes back as red stickered from the earthquakes.

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Gahhh - I fill with dread about the whole thing but having read some of your responses I'm going to make an effort and change my attitude!

This year I'll have my parents coming over to stay from the West Coast, but they're insisting on bringing their 12 and 14 yr old God children too so it'll be quite crowded in our small house. I'm annoyed that they're bringing those kids too because their interest levels in my kids is low enough the rest of the year, so when they come here I'd like them to give them some attention, not be thinking more about some other kids. Grrrr.

Anyway - I'm going to try to get over this and look forward to making each other happy, and not being in a foul mood!

PS but I vibe with your comment Emma "where's the holiday with kids in your face?"

Amie - posted on 10/23/2011

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I'll never understand people who don't like Christmas.



Yes it can be consumer driven but it doesn't need to be. Our oldest likes to make her gifts for everyone, so she does. We buy all our gifts because we can afford too. We don't use credit. Our credit cards are mostly just there for online purchases. We have no use for them other than that.



Yes it can be stressful but it doesn't need to be. We host Christmas for my side of the family. Everyone comes here on Christmas eve. It's been this way for years, going back to when I was a child and it was my dad's side of the family doing this. Christmas day is for us. My in laws do a free for all. Basically it means no one knows how to plan in advance so they pick a day when the most can show up and go with it. It drives me nuts because we would like to be there but if we can't, we won't.



It does not need to be a negative holiday, unless a person wants it to be. I was raised that it's a fun holiday. I spent Christmas's in the snow with my cousins while our parents were inside visiting and cooking. We would all go down and help serve (and play with!) the less fortunate families who could not afford their own christmas's. I remember Christmas music playing the entire season through. I remember decorating with my parents. I remember going out into the bush to pick the perfect tree. I remember baking with my mom. I remember going sledding with the entire family. I remember the snow ball fights and the fire and hot chocolate after wards. I remember the cheesy cartoons and the anxious waiting - trying to stay up all night to see Santa! Mostly I remember how much love there was that flitted all around. Everyone was always hugging, smiling and happy.



I want that for my kids and it is what they get. I understand others use other holidays for this (hannukah was mentioned in this thread) but that doesn't mean you need to dump on Christmas! No one's dumping on your holidays! =P

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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Emma, my parents did it and their parents did it. I guess it's just part of tradition.



Christmas is probably not big on my DH's list, last year he stayed back at his place in Kelowna instead of driving up to see his mom then his dad's side of the family so he could work. DH is also a Santa killer. He got mad at his mom once after she decided not to take him and his brothers down to the coast to visit their dad so he told his youngest brother that Santa wasn't real and he started crying. His youngest brother was about 5.



Last year one of my cousin in laws started a Christmas countdown in July!! I wanted to beat her up by October!



Mary, that's a nice way to explain the Christmas story as well.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/23/2011

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@ Jennifer M, that is such a Bah Humbug view of Christmas! I always viewed the Christmas story as being more symbolic than anything else, it doesn't matter that it's not the ACTUAL day. To me, regardless of what you believe, it's a timeless story and a really great one. I think, as mothers, we can all relate to Mary, and that's what the holiday means to me.



First of all, you have this woman, who is actually a young girl (Mary was only a teenager when Jesus was born). This thing has happened to her that has the possibility of being the worse thing ever. She's pregnant and she's not married. Will anyone believe that it's the son of god? Will her fiance marry her now!? And it's her first kid, she doesn't know what labor is going to feel like or how hard it is to breastfeed. Like any first time mom, I imagine that she was scared, maybe even a little terrified. No Gabriel or God or vision in a dream telling her it's all part of a plan is going to stop her from being HUMAN and being a little scared. Isn't that the whole point? That everything that happened was so human, suffering included?



But then her fiance will still marry her, bless his heart, and so she's going through the pregnancy thing and then HOLY CRAP they're doing this census thing to count everybody and she has to go back to the city of origin of her husband and she has to travel on a DONKEY when she's 9 MONTHS PREGNANT! Can you imagine!? Day and night of traveling. I couldn't even spend 30 minutes in a car with a soft seat with out having to stop to pee or move my feet when I was 9 months pregnant.



Not to mention, the Romans are after her and trying to kill her baby! Well, all the male Hebrew babies, because they know this guy is coming that is supposed to free them or elevate them or whatever.



And then they finally stop at an inn and you have to imagine that if she gave birth that night, that she probably was having contractions when they stopped. And there's no room at the inn. God, what must that have felt like? She's about to have a baby and there isn't even a room for her to give birth in. I can just see her and Joseph looking at each other like



"....Uh... what.... do we do now? Any ideas? Are you serious, inn keeper? Do you see this belly?" Like what if her water broke right then and there? And everyone is like "Oh crap" and she doesn't know what is going to happen, she's never had a baby before.



And so they go in a stable of all places, with horse and straw but at least she has something to lean on, somewhere to sit down. And it's just her and Joseph and these animals delivering this baby, their first son, and they're first time parents, and they're probably excited and scared, just like me or you and all first time parents.



And then he's here! And at that point, I think the whole "Son of God" thing is not the first thing in their minds, they're probably thinking "How are we going to cut the umbilical cord?" and Mary is just looking at the baby like "Oh my god, this is my baby, he's so beautiful! I can't believe he was just inside me and now he's not."



And then, the part that always gets me, is that here is this mom, looking down at her newborn baby, and she already knows that he isn't really hers anymore, he belongs to the world, and one day he will grow up and be a man and he won't be her baby anymore. But tonight, he's her baby, and she can hold him and love him and gaze at him and smile in all of her exhausted glory.



And really, all mothers have to go through that, knowing that one day their children will be grown, they will be their own people and belong to the world, not us. But on Christmas, they are ours, and so it's a time for loving our children, our mothers, our whole family, and appreciating each other.



I guess I should mention that I'm not exactly Christian. I was raised originally catholic, and then protestant and then baptist after my parent's divorce. But I myself am more of a humanist than anything else.



I just think the story is a beautiful story worth appreciating. It's about birth and family and how occasionally our lifetimes are sprinkled with beautiful moments that take your breath away, just like that night.



It's just a fun time for magic and appreciation. There are 360 some odd "normal" days a year. La di da, day to day, go to work, go to school, make dinner, whatever. Nobody is planning to get you anything, no one is going through the trouble to wrap a gift in paper just so you can rip it right off! Any reason to be happy and celebrate life is great, no matter if it's REALLY his birthday.



And I don't think we need to be SO cynical that we criticize people for giving charity during the holidays, either. Any little bit helps, even if it coincides with the winter holiday.





As for gaming systems... CRAIGSLIST and HAND-ME-DOWNS! I would never ever buy a new system or game ever. People *finish* or defeat the games or whatever and then they want to sell them so they can get money for new ones. We had a Super Nintendo growing up and all our games came from cousins and my parent's friends who didn't want them anymore, but it didn't make them less fun.



Or if they insist on the brand new one that all their friends want... explain to them that it's really expensive and they can either have five used games, or one new game (has anyone see that Katt Williams routine?)

Sherri - posted on 10/23/2011

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The big gift we get is from Santa and always the one thing they want and then usually I buy 2 or 3 tiny things that are from Santa plus their stockings.

The joy Santa brings them and the magic in their eyes is like no other. I would never want to do Christmas without it.

Stifler's - posted on 10/23/2011

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I just don't get the concept. my parents never did it, we just go presents from them.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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I do santa presents because it's fun. I don't buy anything on credit though. My DH and I are waiting for our child tax credit back pay and the student loan money so we can buy gifts and hopefully go up to Revelstoke before the weather gets too crappy in the Kooteneys.

Stifler's - posted on 10/23/2011

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I totally don't do Santa presents either or buy tonnes of stuff on credit. We don't actually have a credit card yet, we've had no need for one.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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True Feen, but if my kids wanted an ice rink in grandma's front yard they could get it. I definitely wouldn't like an Aussie Christmas, I had Christmad in Texas before and since there wasn't snow it just didn't feel right. I don't know how you or my friend in Arizona deal with it (she's originally from PA )

Jennifer, I never said you couldn't celebrate it. But the entire story is more about miracles than salvation. I believe the early Christians had the right idea about trying to convert people.

For me Christmas is more for family to get together. When I was growing up we did go to church and there are all the other ideas. But I really liked just spending time with my family.

Solstice celebrations are also fun. The one I went to they exchanged gifts having to do with light and did a mock battle between the Holly and the Ivy.

Jennifer - posted on 10/23/2011

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@Meggy- Basically that's what I am saying. When the Jews were sent into take over a town in the old testament, they were instructed by God to destroy everything pagan related. The Catholic Church decided to incorporate pagan traditions into the Church in order to tempt the pagans into Catholicism, which if you look at how God felt about Idol worship, it's pretty telling that He would not be happy about it. The Maji aren't made up....yes, wise men (we don't know how many) went to a HOUSE where Jesus was. Showing three of them at the manger is perpetuating a lie.

As for Hanukkah not being a major celebration for the Jews... I am already aware of that but I also know that Jesus did at least celebrate it along with many of the other Jewish holidays including passover. Just because it's a minor holiday doesn't mean it can't be celebrated. I think for a Christian is good to celebrate it and look at how God was so wise as to place the story of salvation into Hanukkah. (oh and most Jews don't celebrate that part of it which could be why it's not that big of a holiday for them- I mean it's not like they believe that Jesus is the savior)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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Jennifer, the story about the maji isn't made up, but the date has been moved around and debated. Mostly because the star that was over Bethlehem was only in that part of the hemisphere in the spring.



Christmas traditions are closely related to those of Saturnella and Yule. Early Christians when attempting to convert Pagans just moved Christmas back to December so it was close enough to the Solstice celebrations.



Hannuakah (I worked at a Jewish assisted living community and I CAN'T spell it!) is a rather minor Jewish holiday. Passover and the High Holy Days (which started at the beginning of this month) are much more important. We had inservices for those holidays but never for Chaunukah.



Edit to add: The myth of Santa Clause is based on St. Nicholas. An 8th century man who went around giving gifts to the poor.

Sherri - posted on 10/23/2011

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We do many of those same things other than the 7 nights of gifts. But 90% of our Christmas has nothing to do with presents but about what the holiday is too us and that is celebrating Jesus's birth.

We have nativities and attend church and do so many family activities together revolving around the season. From the the religious aspects, to the tree lights, to driving around for hours looking at all the lights and festive scenes people place, to celebrating time with our families, to the advent wreath.

All gifts for the season are only given to the children. The adults don't exchange gifts. We do the season for all the kids and right now there are 9 of them and 1 on the way. This includes my 3 and my siblings children and my 1 niece from my brother in law.

Jennifer - posted on 10/23/2011

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@Sherri- Actually it's not bad around here. Hanukkah is AWESOME! It's 8 nights of no Television and family dinners together by candle light. It's 7 little gifts and one big one on the last night. It's playing games together as a family and remembering how Awesome God is.

Not only do we celebrate that God spared the Jews from annihilation, which is pretty important since our salvation came through the Jewish bloodline... but God in His wisdom placed the story of salvation inside the Menorah without Jews even realizing it.

There are 9 candles on the Hanukkah Menorah and the center candle is called the "Shamish" or Servant candle. According to the Bible, Jesus came to serve and not be served. Also, the Shamish is the only candle that is able to light the other candles. Jesus has also been known as the light of the world. The Shamish candle is also typically elevated above the others. The Bible says that Jesus was "lifted up" (AKA crucified) for our sins. There are 4 candles before the elevated shamish candle and 4 candles afterward. To me, the first 4 represent the Jewish nation as they are the first to be offered salvation through Jesus and the last 4 represent the Gentiles who were given the good news after the Jews.

Hanukkah is actually much more family oriented and peaceful than Christmas. The gifts that are given, are typically for the kids. This is because we obviously don't want our kids to feel left out but it's a MUCH smaller part of Hanukkah than Christmas. The biggest part is being able to spend time with our family uninterrupted for 8 whole nights with a nice dinner.

What I find quite telling, is when this question was asked, the majority of posts don't really answer the feelings about Christmas but more focus on the Money surrounding Christmas. Is it even possible to talk Christmas without automatically thinking money?

Sherri - posted on 10/23/2011

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@Teresa your kids are younger than mine also. Plus your two oldest are girls makes a big difference. Girls and boys are into such different things.

Your views may change a bit when your son is older because I bet he will want such different things then your girls want.

Even if they don't have video games. My oldest last year got a nook, my middle one an IPod Touch these things are no less expensive.

Now I will be saving since my oldest is now in High School and my middle will be next year for lap tops because they will be needing them for school and for college.

@Jennifer your view on Christmas is sooo sad to me. I can only imagine how your view impacts your children during that time of the year. It seems that your house would be sooo sad and miserable.

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$50 for one video game would be one of the several reasons we will never own any gaming system. That is (IMO) crazy!

I can get away w/ 2 kids birthdays and 3 kids Christmas for about $350 total! At least that's about what was spent last year.... ;)

Merry - posted on 10/23/2011

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Yeah Sherri I'm so glad that he's likely going to be as happy as possible over the $8 angry bird stuffed toy :) or the $12 we spent on a set of wonder pets beanie babies.

Rosie - posted on 10/23/2011

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christmas gives me mixed feelings. i love being with family, i love seeing my boys faces on christmas morning when they are tearing through the presents, and i love the food, the music, the feeling of christmas.
i do not like how consumer driven christmas is, but i don't know how to get around it without getting rid of gifts-which isn't going to happen. i also hate buying for my dad, he has everything, and never specifically wants anything so it's hard to buy for him. plus my family hasn't been all together for the last 5 years, my sister and my family have a big rift between them and my sister is never involved in any family thing. it breaks my heart.
money is usually not a problem, i put $700 in an account that i can't touch until november at the beginning of the year with my tax return. it is tremendous help.

Sherri - posted on 10/23/2011

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@Laura that is the thing it does get much harder when they are older because a $2 truck isn't what they want. One video game usually is $50. So ya the gifts get smaller but oh so much more expensive.

Merry - posted on 10/23/2011

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My mom always had a $200 budget each kid each Christmas and each birthday. My birthday is dec 18 so in the span of one week I'd get up to $400 worth of new stuff!
Honestly I think she overcompensated since her parents crapped out on her childhood. She ended up raising her siblings and her parents drank and smoked away all their money.
But honestly I have no interest in spending that much on our kids for gifts.
They get their new clothes second hand, or on Clarence at the end of seasons so that's cheap. And all our decorations are from our parents, or just gifts we've gotten over the years. Only thing we would buy is a tree but as I said before its not allowed here. So far on Eric I've spent $14 and I only have in mind one other gift which is $8 so we will see but I highly doubt it will go over $50 even if I go a bit crazy :) but then again he's 2 and has no requests and while his toys can be expensive, it's not like he's asking for video games or computer stuff or music, media, etc type stuff.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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As a child I just thought Santa took suggestions. So I kept suggesting he get me a horse. Nevermind that until I was 12 years old I had no idea how to ride one.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/23/2011

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Funny reading this stuff about Santa having a budget. As a child, I always understood this, but my younger sister never did. I would always ask for a book I wanted to read, or a movie. Or a Limited Two gift card when I was a preteen. My sister would ask for things like a Dog of a Laptop! When she was 8 years old! I told her she was crazy.



Then Christmas day she would always expect these things and not get them and I always kind of resented the akwardness of someone asking for something they shouldn't ask for, but even when I was very very young (as young as 5 I would say) I understood that Santa's gift would be within my family's lifestyle. And when I was younger than 5, nothing I wanted was ever that expensive. My parents always talk about the year they gave me a Cherry Merry Muffin toy, a Strawberry Shortcake Figurine, and a Barbie Doll pretend hair dryer. I walked around for weeks telling everyone "I GOT EVERYTHING I WANTED! I CAN"T BELIEVE IT!" It seems like children shouldn't be that difficult (or expensive) to please... but then again some of them are probably like my sister.



Christmas is definitely not something worth going into serious debt over. I specifically remember times after my parents divorced that my mom would sit us down and say "Girls, money is a little tight this year so Christmas isn't going to be as big as other years have been in the past." I understood, and I appreciated anything I did get even more.



What I do with my daughter is refrain from buying her anything "extra" if it isn't Christmas or Birthday. If she sees something in the store she likes, or I see something that is perfect for her, I write it down on a list so that when Christmas or Birthday rolls around, I can give it to her then and have enough time to save money for it before hand. It helps that her birthday is in May though, so that the gift-giving is spaced apart.

Lady - posted on 10/23/2011

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Why use credit card to pay for christmas????

Because I don't have a spare £2000 in my back poket and honestly can't see a way of doing christmas for less :
£200 per child - that's one big present and a few little ones
+tree+decorations+drink for parties+wrapping paper+food+fuel to get to see everyone+plus new clothes for kids+I'm sure there are loads of other things I can't think or right now - and I know I sound like a total Baa Humbug and I really don't mean to cause my kids love christmas and I try and be excited for them but it does make me worried and I wish I could see a way of doing it differently without making them feel like they have missed out in comparision to all their friends!! Hubby and I had that out whole lives and don't want to do that to our kids. At the moment they do feel it a little although they understand that as theres a lot of them compared to other families they can't always have the same - I just don't feel I can take any more away from them.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 10/23/2011

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I have mixed feelings about Christmas this year. It's my first one in BC away from my family. My dad's family is so big that we have to have that side get together a week or two before and we have everything buffet style and someone hires Santa Clause to hand out early gifts to the younger kids. Last year one of my dad's older sisters (he has 3 older sisters, a younger brother and 2 younger sisters) and her husband had their kids along with their kids' spouses take turns sitting on Santa's lap.



Christmas eve and Christmas day are both spent with my mom's family. On Christmas eve everyone comes over my parents' house and they give out the gifts to my mom's sisters, the one cousin on that side and my grandparents from us. Now that my brother is moved out and married we also give him his stuff on Christmas eve. Christmas day my parents go to Church then we went to my grandparents' house.



This year Abby gets done with school on the 18th of December. But we aren't going up to Lee's mom's until the 23rd. My MIL may come down early just to bring Abby up and she said she'd teach me how to make Nanaimo bars. It's a regional bar dessert made with chocolate, coconut and custard (I think the white stuff is custard) that's usually made around Christmas time in British Columbia.



We'll probably stay the weekend at Lee's moms (call my family Christmas eve and Christmas day.



As for Christmas myself, some of it can get stressful. Thankfully my mom is on my checking account back in New York because I've had the same account at the same bank since I was in high school so she can buy things from me for people and I won't have to worry too much about shipping. Sometimes people get really crazy around Christmas too.



My 7 year old will probably go ask Santa for stuff (My husband and I did try to explain he isn't real, but she's convinced that she saw him at my parents' house one Christmas eve) and she seems to understand it's just for fun. She won't get everything she asks for, mommy just stands to the side to overhear what she asks for.



Feen, I don't think an outdoor pool would work too well up here in BC, the water would freeze before I could pour anything in there :)



Angela. Christmas sounds really fun over in the Netherlands.

Merry - posted on 10/23/2011

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Feen, I was thinking about the glee episode where Brittany asked Santa to make Artie be able to walk :) I know Santa doesn't make kids greedy, just that its one reason I don't like the idea. :)

Brittany - posted on 10/23/2011

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Credit cards used for X-Mas buying is a BAD idea. Why would you want to pay all year long for X-mas and then spend it all again the next?

Maybe I feel this way because, I do not, have never and will never have a credit card. I don't even use a bank, I use a Credit Union.

Christina - posted on 10/23/2011

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Im sorry for the.confusion...my kids don't ask Santa for.their gift. The big gift they ask for is from us...the lil.what nots and stocking is from Santa

Christina - posted on 10/23/2011

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Yeah I agree with you Sherri...you cant let it control your finances where your charging & paying intrest on it all yr. My kids are aware what the value of 1.00 is because they have to take their own money to the store when they want something & they see how quickly it goes! They have one big gift to ask for (max of $50.00) & they get a bunch of lil what-nots & stocking (from Santa) -- approx: $100-150/per kid THATS IT!! They get so much from family!! I save $500 throughout the yr back just for xmas spending & I seem to get it done. The family is mostly handmade gifts, bake goods, recipes, DIY crafts from the kids & phots's so we save alot there! Christmas should be about quality time not seeing how much you can rack up in debt! That takes the fun out of the holidays for me! I ask for GC & money lol -- and what I get there goes into the xmas fund for next yr -- so to be honest it almost pays for its-self...I know I should spend that on me...but I dont need anything & I enjoy the rush of recycling the savings :)

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Totally a NO Santa household here too. My kids know I get the gifts and they know I'm broke. They're happy w/ anything and always have been. ;)

Minnie - posted on 10/23/2011

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We're looking forward to it, but Thanksgiving first!

I enjoy the family togetherness, putting up decorations -the tree!- and playing holiday music.

We don't worry about affording it because for as long as we've been married we stick to just a couple of presents for the kids.

I think we're getting Evelyn a microscope kit. (I super excited about that, me, the biology geek!)

Ooh and cooking.

Merry - posted on 10/23/2011

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Oh and that's one reason we don't do Santa, we can't afford greedy kids wanting expensive stuff or super imaginitive kids asking for impossible things!

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