Bored With Christmas.

I’m sorry, but this year, I have found Christmas to be extremely boring. Everything this year is the same as it was last year and all the previous years before it. The window displays in Manhattan’s chic department stores are boring. Bryant Park is set up the same this year as it was last year. The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall are kicking up their legs to the same dance routines that they did last year. The holiday music on the radio is the same music they played last year and the year before that.

Fox News is still doing their ‘Merry Christmas’ cat call over the ‘Happy Holiday’ routine. I’m bored to tears with Christmas advertisements on TV. Really….is this truly the December to Remember car sale? Who the heck buys someone a car for Christmas? I’m tired of hearing about the dangers of Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday deals and steals. I’m sick of the holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel. They’re all the same: boy meets girl, boy and girl fight over holiday differences, then a ghost appears in the middle of the night showing said girl what life without Father Christmas would be like, so girl wakes up on Christmas morning all bright and fresh and ready to forgive and forget, adopt a poor abandoned child while calling up her long-lost mother and asking for forgiveness. Or some other pathetic, boring, redundant Hollywood movie script like that. (that’s always filmed in the summer with oodles of very fake snow!)

Can’t anybody come up with something new and different this Christmas Season?

Then there are the news stories about the ACLU suing some public school because one of the students wanted to sing ‘Oh Holy Night’ on the school campus. Or one parent objected to the word “god’ being uttered on public property. Which opens up a public discussion and hushed town meeting debating the red line of the separation of church and state. You can watch the film at eleven on your local town news broadcast.

And let us not forget to discuss GUILT. Oh there’s a lot of guilt going around these days. As in my own daughter sending me an email AND a list of things that I better buy my one and only granddaughter. Or else. I find it almost laughable that my daughter married a self-proclaimed atheist (we can’t utter the name of ‘God’ in his presence) yet the two of them celebrate the whole nine yards of Christmas. Duh?

I don’t know about you, but I literally can not afford Christmas. It started off very subtle a few years ago. As our income dropped (going on four years now) we decided to cut back on holiday spending. First we stopped sending out Christmas cards because we couldn’t afford the stamps. Then we put up less and less holiday lights because we couldn’t afford the increase in our electricity bills. The next year we streamlined our Christmas Eve meal. Did we really need to buy and serve seven different fish dishes on Christmas Eve? Why not serve just five? Or four? Now, we’re down to three. Ditto for Christmas Day. Did we really need to eat Prime Rib? Or Filet Mignon? Or Baked ham? Or lasagna? All at once?

Four years ago it was mutually decided that since none of us could really afford to buy each other gifts, we would stop doing so. It was a gradual decline. At first we limited gifts to a $50 each price tag. Then the next year it was $25. Then $15 or a gift card. Then just to Dollar Store stocking stuffers. Now, it’s zero. Nobody buys anybody anything in my house. Yet, I still have to provide (and pay) for five days worth of meals (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) since that’s how long my kids are with me during the holidays.

I do get some sort of a break every other year. That’s when my kids alternate and go to their in-laws. And get showered with gifts from their ‘other’ family. Who still celebrate Christmas. The money my kids save by not buying DH and I gifts, they use to buy their ‘other’ family bigger and better gifts.

Every holiday season, DH and I find free things to do. There’s the Town lighting of the holiday tree (same tree, same lights), the free holiday concerts (same singers, same songs) at some of the local churches, the holiday craft fair (same knitted mittens and hats and self-decorated tree ornaments), mansion tours (same interior designs) historic sights (same free cheap cookies and stale coffee).

Well, you get the picture. I’ve done it all! Is it any wonder why I am finding Christmas to be boring?

This year I am celebrating Christmas by not celebrating it at all. I’m not going to any holiday events, holiday parties or holiday plays. I’m not going to any free holiday celebrations nor am I buying tickets to see A Christmas Carol, A White Christmas or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I not baking any cookies nor buying any holiday goodies. I’m not going to Manhattan to see any holiday decorations or the same, stupid, holiday tree at Rockefeller Center that some stupid farmer in New Hampshire decided to cut down (for a huge fee) so that tourists can look and gawk and then the tree gets thrown away two weeks later. I’m not listening to any more holiday music or boring songs of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ or ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’.

I haven’t put up our same, boring, plain, fake Christmas tree with the same boring Christmas balls. There are no lights outside my door or in the windows. There are no presents to wrap. No postcards or holiday mail to open. For the truth is, if I don’t send out any holiday cards, I don’t receive any holiday cards. Except from my insurance company who wants to thank me for my annual business. I’m not hanging any holiday stocking on the bannister this year because no one wants junk from The Dollar Store anymore.

siesta key beachCome Christmas Day, DH and I will be doing what we should have been doing a month ago. We’ll be packing up our car with flip flops, shorts and straw hats and heading down to Siesta Key Beach. Why we hadn’t left sooner is beyond me. I’ll be popping the audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Jesus‘ into the audio track, and off we go! Within a few hours I’ll be sitting on the beach, sipping a Pina Colada and the thoughts of holiday jeer will be long gone out of my head. This is going to be the last year DH and I can rent the condo from my sister (as we have always done previously). My sister has permanently moved down to Florida, as has my brother (fifteen years ago). So, her condo is going up for sale since she now has bought a permanent home.

My siblings all celebrate Christmas at the Country Club. You know, where you dress up pretty and sit down to a luxurious meal that someone else has prepared. And then it is all served up to you neat and gorgeous. And then they all remove the dirty dishes away from your line of sight so that you can sip a brandy in the library room. While watching the sun set over the golf field (that of course, none of us play).

With the elimination of a rentable, affordable family condo (the prices to rent elsewhere are obscene) I know it’s time for DH and I to make a move. I’m torn between my brother & sister in Florida and my children in New York. My brother just turned 70 this past year and my sister turned 60. How many more years will we have together?  So, I am eliminating the beach house from my portfolio (I already called my broker and put it up for sale) and once I cash it in, I’ll be buying a place of my own in Florida, near my sister and brother. This boring Christmas made me realize it is time to make a change and get some excitement back in to my life. From this second on I am splitting my time between Florida and New York. Period. My family will get equal parts of me. But best of all, I won’t be living a boring lifestyle for one more second!

Merry Christmas to me! I’m giving myself the best present ever. The gift of life. A boring-free life.

And so my beat goes on.

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36 thoughts on “Bored With Christmas.

  1. It seems as though the “Christmas spirit” fades further into the distance year after year, since the Holidays are just taken over by giant shopping sprees, Relaxing only occurs after the time that should have been used for relaxing in the first place. My mom and I spent a quiet Christmas at home, as we always do. I stayed in my PJs and my mom cooked for no one other than the two of us. It was a tough year for her, so she gave me a card with a giftcard that she received from one of her residents at work. I didn’t mind, since she works so hard all the time. As you said, If you don’t call anyone, then no one calls you – that’s just how it is for my mom, as well. She used to worry herself, in past years, about getting little gifts for people and those people’s children, but not at all this year. No one is expecting anything from her, so she’s the only one worrying about others who are off doing their own thing. Sorry that your Christmas has lost meaning to expensive gifts and Macy’s windows. I hope the years to come bring you back the spirit of Christmas! I will say, however, the tree was bigger this year :]

  2. I haven’t been feeling Christmas either. My beloved father is dying and was admitted to home hospice today. My stepdaughter had a baby and has all but cut me out of her life because her mother got jealous of me, I fell at work and missed 2 days, it’s just been horrible. The only highlight is my DH, my son who is coming from out of state and hopefully will see his grandfather before he dies. My daughter, son in law and their 2 babies are the lights of my life. That’s it. I hung up my little tree and put a few decorations out for the grandkids. Well celebrate Christmas eve at home with the family unless we’re at our dads funeral. This has been the worst December ever.

    • Oh Teri, I am so, so sorry. Too many things. I wish your dad peace. May your stepdaughter have a change of heart. Safe passage for your son. Better days ahead for you and your family.
      Peace and hugs.

  3. Ugh! Is there a ‘OMG I TOTALLY AGREE. AMEN. UH HUH’ button on WordPress? Cause yes, Christmas IS boring and becomes so much about expensive presents. You’re so lucky you get to go away on that holiday instead of having looks thrown at you when you say you don’t really want to celebrate. No, I’m not bitter. Just, don’t want to hand my soul over to PlayStation. For a few years now, we’re trying things a bit differently – doing things as a family that doesn’t cost anything. Like playing a board game or Twister or going out for a picnic. This year we’re going to set up our laptops in the living room and sit in a circle and play – Going on a virtual adventure seems time better spent than killing people off in Grand Theft Auto or watching some TV. This is until we can afford to get away like you! Merry Christmas! Have a great holiday!

    • HI Allyson. You don’t have to go someplace else in order to escape Christmas. You can ignore it right wherever you’re at. Last I looked Christmas was about the birth of baby Jesus. And it was the 3 Wise Men who brought (and bought) baby Jesus presents. Not the other way around. Have a happy & safe holiday.
      Thanks for your comment.

  4. How lucky your family is to have you buying sensible and usable gifts. Keep trying to teach them in that quiet nice way. Your daughter sounds so unwise. Maybe maturity will teach her. Your good example will help, I’m sure. So much can be said by just doing or not doing.
    Enjoy your holiday. You missed out earlier when your husband was ill. Christmas is to be with family and you will be with family down there. This winter may be a tough one.
    We make things as easy as possible here. We have snow, but the sun is out and we have lots of eagles fishing our river. Northern Illinois is not Florida, but it is still a beautiful time.

    • Thanks Sue, Yup, DH and I are looking forward to making up some lost time. My daughter will eventually come around, but if history is correct, sometimes people wake up after people have passed on. Let’s not hope it gets to that point. LOL! :)

  5. My Dad retired to Florida. He moved North again for a few years, but he is packing up and moving to Florida right after Christmas. I think it sounds brilliant.

    Boring Christmas? Expensive Christmas? Fake tree (better than the alternative)? Advertisements? Cards? Etc…You hit them all. I have tried to limit the gift stuff, but with grandchildren it is a challenge. I am offering up one afternoon a week to babysit (for as long as I can manage it in my schedule and keep my sanity in check), so my daughter can go out to the ranch to work in exchange for riding lessons.

  6. I think you are going to need some really big suitcases because I am sure there are quite a few of us that would like to stow away in them :-) I too am just not feeling it this year (lost quite a few of my family within the last couple of years, my parents included) Im letting my kids take the reigns of hosting and starting some of their own traditions and im just going with the flow. Thanksgiving turned out well by doing so.
    I hope that you have a very merry, warm and relaxing Christmas!

    • Thanks, Deb. Sorry for the loss of your family members. Christmas is a very tough time of year. I wish my own kids would take the reigns. Despite them being in their mid-thirties, somehow when they get here, there resort back to little children expecting me to do everything.
      Merry Christmas to you also! Have a good holiday.

  7. Love this post. We are dialing back Christmas majorly here as you know. We have three masses Christmas Eve since the kids are singing or serving at all three. Dinner will be simple Christmas Eve and then they are having a few friends over and i am going to bed. Christmas Day we are having roast beef(purchased marked down and sitting in my freezer) and Lasagna so everyone has their favorite meal. Plus lots of “comfort” side dishes.

    I have a hard time with people telling me what I “have” to buy. My brothers first wife tried that once with me. My nephew then got what I picked out and could afford and that was that. She tried to raise a fuss that I was “neglecting him” by not buying him the ride on toy she wanted him to have. I had purchased those hard book(probably the same kind you did) and a truck that I had picked up at a yard sale. This year I did find marked down footie pjs’s for all the little ones after Christmas last year, they are each getting a book, and I crocheted a few toys or balls for them. Simple is the way this year. They will be coming over on the 28th for a quiet night and then my sister will be staying for a week.

    Love the Family guy clip. Might have to play that for everyone when they are here

    • Judy, That ‘Family Guy’ clip was the bomb! Thee best! You’re lucky your kids are still young. Once they marry, it’s a whole new ballgame.
      Your holiday schedule sounds perfect.
      Peace and many, many hugs!

  8. I think I’ve felt every sentiment in your post at least once this season. As I type this, my son and I are watching the movie “Skipping Christmas, or Christmas with the Kranks”. It makes me smile. Christmas has gotten WAY out of hand. Each year I’m downsizing just a wee bit more, till eventually I can finally enjoy the season without all the noise and consumerism. We will go to Christmas Eve mass, have ONE fish dish w/ pasta and hang out. I’ll insist that my daughters make the holiday cookies, while I relax. I’m tired of “doing” Christmas. In fact one of my favorite “Family Guy” episodes is when Lois goes crazy over no more paper towels after trying to keep it together for Christmas. You can see it here:

    Anyway, I think purchasing a place for the winter months is an awesome idea! Good for you!!

    By the way, out of curiosity, what did your daughter want you to buy for your granddaughter? :)!

    • Sharon, she gave me a list of a baby books that I HAD to buy from Amazon. (I spent $30) Then a list of toys which I HAD to buy from some specialty shop (I spent $0). Then she gave me links to baby clothes I HAD to buy from Old Navy. Gap Baby and some other specialty store (I spent $0). The books I agreed to because the baby is teething and likes to chew on the books we get her, so new was the way to go! I already bought baby toys at Odd Lot for her (is there something wrong with closeouts?) and I told my daughter, “You know where I get clothes from!” and proceeded to get these adorable, wool sweaters for granddaughter from my fav consignment store. Their apartment is cold and I was just there on Friday. Baby was sneezing a lot (they’re ALL sick) and my daughter really didn’t have anything decent to put on the kid to keep warm. I also brought everyone wool socks (which none of them have) to keep their feet warm. Odd Lot had 100% merino wool socks for only $3 bucks. Retail, the same socks cost $25.
      Silly me. When I was 32 I was buying a summer home in the Hamptons, in addition to my city home in NY. My daughter is 32 and still rents BUT is fashionably dressed. What was important to me obviously isn’t important to them (I always wanted to own my own home and have my kids grow up with a back yard to play in. I really don’t think my granddaughter will care much she wore designer duds when she was 6 months old. I think she would love to grow up in her own home with her own room and a back yard to play in. My daughter and SIL says they can’t afford to buy a home.
      But hey? What do I know?
      (sorry for ranting, but you did ask)

  9. I hope it’ll be nice — you have your DH. You’ll have the beach. You’ll have warmth! And Pina Coladas.

    And that Country Club dinner sounds like the worst possible way to actually enjoy a meal. Well, maybe a Country Club dinner with in-laws would be worse….

  10. I agree that it’s completely appropriate to tune out the noise of the holiday season. I do. Very few gifts exchanged. Some treats shared at work. A humorous newsletter for family and friends. (Ex: The story about my daughter yelling, “Dobby is FREE!” when DH handed her a pair of decorated socks.)

    You know what is the same every year, but still isn’t boring? Midnight Mass.

    We’ll be having the same priest who came last year – from Africa. He visits our parish occasionally. And, although he’s upbeat, there’s a timbre to his stories that remind us of how very blessed we are. And, of course, we get the message that Christmas isn’t about material items.

    At church, we have been reciting the Advent prayer, “Loving God, we seek you in the light and the darkness, the silence and the sounds of this Advent season…”

    That’s one of the things that I love about my faith — traditions that repeat every year.

    But, like you, we have our family differences. I don’t like surprises; DH looks forward to Christmas like a 10-year old. I believe in simplicity, while DH is enthralled by the trappings of Christmas. For example, he put up Christmas lights within an hour of buying gutter clips — even though it was 25 degrees out and dark!

    So, we work toward the balance that satisfies most of the time. And, as long as it suits us, we don’t worry about anyone else’s expectations.

    • Slughorn, I’m the only one who still goes to church. My children have been caught up in liberal progressivism thanks to college. My daughter won’t even baptize our first grand child. And if I speak up, they threaten to never see me again.
      Maybe you can have a nice Christmas, but I’m done.

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