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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, or whatever else you celebrate during this time of year. I hope the season brings you peace and joy with family, friends and loved ones and hope that leads into a fresh restart for the New Year.
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Well said.

I'm actually doing something I've wanted to do for years now, and it'll be super weird: My wife and I doing our Christmas at the end of January.

My reasoning is this:

1. December in Illinois is hardly festive weather-wise. It's always in the 50s/60s, tons of rain (and tornadoes, apparently), and generally is a bullshit month to anticipate snow. November will occasionally have a farting of snow to tease, but December is nearly utterly devoid of snow or cold festive-ish weather. By late January, my region of Illinois will probably have been shit on with a few inches of snow and it will make for a far more jolly "white Christmas" atmosphere.

2. Christmas gift shopping is a major tedium. My parents and siblings never want anything, yet the obligation to get gifts is incessant. All we do anymore is wrap up shit we want from each other's Amazon lists and it feels pointless. I'd rather just shop for my wife and puppies and try to enjoy the process.

3. Holiday travel is a major pain in the ass. Tons of people to see, tons of places to be, and a stressful amount of communication to arrange these circumstances while navigating family politics. This is in addition to the millions of other people traveling at the same time, and we're all punished by ludicrous ticket/fuel prices and an overabundance of human beings stressing industries that are short-staffed and underpaid.

4. Ever since my grandmother died a few years ago, the holidays have not been the same at all. Her house was the go-to place for family meetups, and her presence during Thanksgiving and Christmas was a pillar of all of our lives. Now that she's passed away, Christmas becomes this somber reminder of her absence and it makes seeing family during these times hard. Everybody's kind of begun doing their own thing. It's a bummer.

5. Me and my wife's jobs get pretty busy and stressful before Christmas, as a shitload of people in our company all want to get things done before checking out for a month. My wife in particular had nights where she was up until 3, 4, and 5-something AM grinding out stuff to help meet deadlines, and numerous people in my department have taken their PTO, so I'm working shorthanded. There's no time or energy to throw on a holiday movie, make a Christmas-styled dinner, or enjoy a cozy night to ourselves with peace of mind. December work leaves us drained and annoyed and our evenings tend to be mindless unwinding with an early bedtime, all because people are demanding assholes during this supposed happiest time of year.

Ultimately Christmas doesn't feel like it's mine anymore. I know this sounds selfish as fuck, but I'm tired of Christmas being about everybody else. Buying friends and family stuff feels like such a waste, and traveling all over the place to fulfill the obligatory seeing of faces is more stressful than satisfying. The weeks of Christmas in recent years have been spent hoping a liquor store is open so we can get a bit toasted while we put up with one another and race to get home so we can put away our Christmas decorations and be done with all the shit. I want a relaxing few weeks where I can throw on my Christmas music, feel the snowy holiday vibe, enjoy some Christmas movies, and only shop a tiny bit for my wife and dogs, with no travel to dread or families/friends to go see.

So this year we're making it happen, and I have no idea how it'll go, but if it's a hit, it's permanent.
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wab
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UOK wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 12:26 pm Well said.

I'm actually doing something I've wanted to do for years now, and it'll be super weird: My wife and I doing our Christmas at the end of January.

My reasoning is this:

1. December in Illinois is hardly festive weather-wise. It's always in the 50s/60s, tons of rain (and tornadoes, apparently), and generally is a bullshit month to anticipate snow. November will occasionally have a farting of snow to tease, but December is nearly utterly devoid of snow or cold festive-ish weather. By late January, my region of Illinois will probably have been shit on with a few inches of snow and it will make for a far more jolly "white Christmas" atmosphere.

2. Christmas gift shopping is a major tedium. My parents and siblings never want anything, yet the obligation to get gifts is incessant. All we do anymore is wrap up shit we want from each other's Amazon lists and it feels pointless. I'd rather just shop for my wife and puppies and try to enjoy the process.

3. Holiday travel is a major pain in the ass. Tons of people to see, tons of places to be, and a stressful amount of communication to arrange these circumstances while navigating family politics. This is in addition to the millions of other people traveling at the same time, and we're all punished by ludicrous ticket/fuel prices and an overabundance of human beings stressing industries that are short-staffed and underpaid.

4. Ever since my grandmother died a few years ago, the holidays have not been the same at all. Her house was the go-to place for family meetups, and her presence during Thanksgiving and Christmas was a pillar of all of our lives. Now that she's passed away, Christmas becomes this somber reminder of her absence and it makes seeing family during these times hard. Everybody's kind of begun doing their own thing. It's a bummer.

5. Me and my wife's jobs get pretty busy and stressful before Christmas, as a shitload of people in our company all want to get things done before checking out for a month. My wife in particular had nights where she was up until 3, 4, and 5-something AM grinding out stuff to help meet deadlines, and numerous people in my department have taken their PTO, so I'm working shorthanded. There's no time or energy to throw on a holiday movie, make a Christmas-styled dinner, or enjoy a cozy night to ourselves with peace of mind. December work leaves us drained and annoyed and our evenings tend to be mindless unwinding with an early bedtime, all because people are demanding assholes during this supposed happiest time of year.

Ultimately Christmas doesn't feel like it's mine anymore. I know this sounds selfish as fuck, but I'm tired of Christmas being about everybody else. Buying friends and family stuff feels like such a waste, and traveling all over the place to fulfill the obligatory seeing of faces is more stressful than satisfying. The weeks of Christmas in recent years have been spent hoping a liquor store is open so we can get a bit toasted while we put up with one another and race to get home so we can put away our Christmas decorations and be done with all the shit. I want a relaxing few weeks where I can throw on my Christmas music, feel the snowy holiday vibe, enjoy some Christmas movies, and only shop a tiny bit for my wife and dogs, with no travel to dread or families/friends to go see.

So this year we're making it happen, and I have no idea how it'll go, but if it's a hit, it's permanent.
You nailed a lot of my feelings on all of it.

Several years ago we made the decision to not travel during the holidays. It was hard to convince my wife because she's very close to her family whereas I'm really not - aside from my mom and dad (who are divorced, so it makes logistics a pain). My brother and I have a surface level relationship, we are polite to each other but we don't go out of our way to keep in touch, and I don't even know my sister's phone number.

So about 6 years ago we decided that we were going to start making Christmas about us and about the kids. It's not enjoyable when you make it about everyone else. At all. We only buy gifts for each other and the kids. It's so much less stressful that way, and it actually feels like it means something. I spent 35 years spending Christmas with other people. I'm spending it with my people now.

Having said all of that, this year is a bit different. My wife is flying out the day after Christmas to go see her parents and I'm driving to IL to see mine. My dad hasn't been doing well, so it's just one of those trips I kind of need to make. So this year will be weird because we will all be apart the week after...which is when we typically all just lay around and do nothing.

And lastly, even though I've been in Texas for close to a decade now, I'll never get used to it being 80 on Christmas Day.
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wab wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:06 pm You nailed a lot of my feelings on all of it.

Several years ago we made the decision to not travel during the holidays. It was hard to convince my wife because she's very close to her family whereas I'm really not - aside from my mom and dad (who are divorced, so it makes logistics a pain). My brother and I have a surface level relationship, we are polite to each other but we don't go out of our way to keep in touch, and I don't even know my sister's phone number.

So about 6 years ago we decided that we were going to start making Christmas about us and about the kids. It's not enjoyable when you make it about everyone else. At all. We only buy gifts for each other and the kids. It's so much less stressful that way, and it actually feels like it means something. I spent 35 years spending Christmas with other people. I'm spending it with my people now.

Having said all of that, this year is a bit different. My wife is flying out the day after Christmas to go see her parents and I'm driving to IL to see mine. My dad hasn't been doing well, so it's just one of those trips I kind of need to make. So this year will be weird because we will all be apart the week after...which is when we typically all just lay around and do nothing.

And lastly, even though I've been in Texas for close to a decade now, I'll never get used to it being 80 on Christmas Day.
Sounds like you're going through your own Christmas Weirdness. I don't envy you. I think for most people Christmas simply becomes a Weird Thing at some point, at which time there is something of a crossroads on how the holiday is observed.

My uncle had a similar crisis to yours where he ultimately told family and relatives that his immediate family was doing Christmas on their own and any further family holiday shit would need to be arranged around that. I imagine that's not an uncommon scenario.
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UOK that sounds awesome (celebrating when the weather is more Christmas like). I am a big Christmas guy. Watch as many Christmas movies as possible (certain ones, the classics), listen to Christmas music constantly. Put lights on the house. Like buying gifts. But this fucking IL weather is a pain in the ass. It was 70 a week ago. Going to be near 50 the next few days. I need it colder and love to have snow on Christmas. I was thinking of doing a second Christmas for my wife on the first snow (surprise her). We decided this year we were going to concentrate on events/concerts. We went to Here Come The Mummies last month. We bought Tedeschi Trucks tix for late January. I bought her Keith Urban tix for November 2022. We got tix for a couple concerts in March 2022. We decided to go for memories and not material shit.

My parents have been gone for quite some time and my wife only has her father (90). No travel for us. My FIL will be in and he will go with us to my sisters Christmas night for some games and alcohol.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!!!!!
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UOK wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 12:26 pm Well said.

I'm actually doing something I've wanted to do for years now, and it'll be super weird: My wife and I doing our Christmas at the end of January.

My reasoning is this:

1. December in Illinois is hardly festive weather-wise. It's always in the 50s/60s, tons of rain (and tornadoes, apparently), and generally is a bullshit month to anticipate snow. November will occasionally have a farting of snow to tease, but December is nearly utterly devoid of snow or cold festive-ish weather. By late January, my region of Illinois will probably have been shit on with a few inches of snow and it will make for a far more jolly "white Christmas" atmosphere.

2. Christmas gift shopping is a major tedium. My parents and siblings never want anything, yet the obligation to get gifts is incessant. All we do anymore is wrap up shit we want from each other's Amazon lists and it feels pointless. I'd rather just shop for my wife and puppies and try to enjoy the process.

3. Holiday travel is a major pain in the ass. Tons of people to see, tons of places to be, and a stressful amount of communication to arrange these circumstances while navigating family politics. This is in addition to the millions of other people traveling at the same time, and we're all punished by ludicrous ticket/fuel prices and an overabundance of human beings stressing industries that are short-staffed and underpaid.

4. Ever since my grandmother died a few years ago, the holidays have not been the same at all. Her house was the go-to place for family meetups, and her presence during Thanksgiving and Christmas was a pillar of all of our lives. Now that she's passed away, Christmas becomes this somber reminder of her absence and it makes seeing family during these times hard. Everybody's kind of begun doing their own thing. It's a bummer.

5. Me and my wife's jobs get pretty busy and stressful before Christmas, as a shitload of people in our company all want to get things done before checking out for a month. My wife in particular had nights where she was up until 3, 4, and 5-something AM grinding out stuff to help meet deadlines, and numerous people in my department have taken their PTO, so I'm working shorthanded. There's no time or energy to throw on a holiday movie, make a Christmas-styled dinner, or enjoy a cozy night to ourselves with peace of mind. December work leaves us drained and annoyed and our evenings tend to be mindless unwinding with an early bedtime, all because people are demanding assholes during this supposed happiest time of year.

Ultimately Christmas doesn't feel like it's mine anymore. I know this sounds selfish as fuck, but I'm tired of Christmas being about everybody else. Buying friends and family stuff feels like such a waste, and traveling all over the place to fulfill the obligatory seeing of faces is more stressful than satisfying. The weeks of Christmas in recent years have been spent hoping a liquor store is open so we can get a bit toasted while we put up with one another and race to get home so we can put away our Christmas decorations and be done with all the shit. I want a relaxing few weeks where I can throw on my Christmas music, feel the snowy holiday vibe, enjoy some Christmas movies, and only shop a tiny bit for my wife and dogs, with no travel to dread or families/friends to go see.

So this year we're making it happen, and I have no idea how it'll go, but if it's a hit, it's permanent.
Awesome.

You know what man?

If you ain't gonna make you happy. Nobody is gonna make you happy.

Do what feels good and go for it.

My kid is no longer In The Club with Santa anymore so I just go through the list starting in October (cause Covid and supply chains suck) and just start ordering stuff. She asks me what I want so she can buy it with her money. I tell her it's cool. Since my wife and I give her an allowance it's technically my money anyway. I pick something out for myself, I don't charge her anything, and say thanks.

The Mrs. and I technically exchange gifts but we technically don't. We give each other an equal budget and just buy our own shit. We don't want the other picking things for the other because it just leads to frustration and returning things.

Regarding your grandmother. I'm sorry for your loss. My paternal grandmother was the favorite relative. I visit her at the cemetary a few times a year and pickup food things from her favorite stores and make dinner from them each time I visit her. A solid grandparent is an amazing human being as I'm sure your's was.
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UOK
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The Marshall Plan wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 3:01 pm
Awesome.

You know what man?

If you ain't gonna make you happy. Nobody is gonna make you happy.

Do what feels good and go for it.

My kid is no longer In The Club with Santa anymore so I just go through the list starting in October (cause Covid and supply chains suck) and just start ordering stuff. She asks me what I want so she can buy it with her money. I tell her it's cool. Since my wife and I give her an allowance it's technically my money anyway. I pick something out for myself, I don't charge her anything, and say thanks.

The Mrs. and I technically exchange gifts but we technically don't. We give each other an equal budget and just buy our own shit. We don't want the other picking things for the other because it just leads to frustration and returning things.
I'm definitely looking at it in a "be the change you want to see the in the world" type situation. We're in our mid-30s and have no reason to accept being unhappy, or at least making the best of things that we have control over.

The Christmas present budget idea is always great, but an even better idea is a small-budget gag gift exchange. That way it's entertaining for everyone when you open presents and nobody blew a lot of money. My mother, however, refuses this idea, because she wants to shower everyone with gifts and there's nobody that will stop her. It's kind of like a more well-meaning version of The Office Yankee Swap situation.


The Marshall Plan wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 3:01 pm Regarding your grandmother. I'm sorry for your loss. My paternal grandmother was the favorite relative. I visit her at the cemetary a few times a year and pickup food things from her favorite stores and make dinner from them each time I visit her. A solid grandparent is an amazing human being as I'm sure your's was.
Thanks. This was 5-odd years ago so it's not so fresh, but the holidays are very much like a trip to her grave.

I actually wrote a Christmas kids book a couple years ago about the experience of losing her to cancer and what it meant for the holidays. Just got a test printing done recently, which is pretty cool. Not selling physical copies yet.

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Otis Day wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 2:14 pm UOK that sounds awesome (celebrating when the weather is more Christmas like). I am a big Christmas guy. Watch as many Christmas movies as possible (certain ones, the classics), listen to Christmas music constantly. Put lights on the house. Like buying gifts. But this fucking IL weather is a pain in the ass. It was 70 a week ago. Going to be near 50 the next few days. I need it colder and love to have snow on Christmas. I was thinking of doing a second Christmas for my wife on the first snow (surprise her). We decided this year we were going to concentrate on events/concerts. We went to Here Come The Mummies last month. We bought Tedeschi Trucks tix for late January. I bought her Keith Urban tix for November 2022. We got tix for a couple concerts in March 2022. We decided to go for memories and not material shit.

My parents have been gone for quite some time and my wife only has her father (90). No travel for us. My FIL will be in and he will go with us to my sisters Christmas night for some games and alcohol.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!!!!!
Illinois weather is awesome in October and November, April, May, and June. July-September is insufferably hot and humid, December-March is full of snow, "wintry mix," and cold rain, all of which is timed as much as possible to ruin Christmas and the start of baseball season.

The "memories not materials" idea is great. Pre-covid I bought my mom tickets to see a local play or musical with me every year.

My other recommendation to anyone who will listen is to get food/drink/perishable gifts if you're struggling to think of ideas. If you know somebody who likes beer, grab them a pick-a-six from a local spirits house or a bomber of one of their favorite brews. If you know a meat dork, if there's a local butcher shop or deli with good stuff, grab a gift certificate and support a local business in the process. Chocolate covered peanuts, beef jerky, all that kind of stuff. Aim for the stomach. That way you're not burdening people who may not have wanted gifts with stuff that will only take up space so long as they're not consuming it, which if you guessed right won't be long. Plus that stuff is generally far more inexpensive than getting some electronics or other such garbage (unless you get them a 10 pound hunk of wagyu beef or something).
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We do gift cards quite a bit. This year we bought my son some grilling/smoking accessories. I asked for Menards gift cards from my kids as I need a new sliding mitre saw.
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Otis Day wrote: Wed Dec 22, 2021 5:41 pm We do gift cards quite a bit. This year we bought my son some grilling/smoking accessories. I asked for Menards gift cards from my kids as I need a new sliding mitre saw.
Menards is awesome. My father-in-law thinks of going to Menards the same way as somebody going to visit Disneyland.

I need to find out when the next bag sale is.
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Hell, they have everything there, from tools to paint to doors to pet food and groceries for humans.
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