How much is christmas a 'big deal' with your family?

posted 3 years ago in Holidays
Post # 3
Member
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2000

We went to his parents’ last year for the first time (we + they + two of his four siblings live in a 20 mile radius). It was a large, homemade meal for the four of us with his nearby siblings and their families dropping in at different parts of the day. The afternoon was conversation and drinks. Quite laid back, no gift exchange.

To be honest, I’m not sure if we’ll go this year. The meal was pleasant, but having it align with a particular day just felt a bit forced. They live near enough, so we could (and do) arrange this on other weekends as well. 

I’m not from my husband’s country (where we live) and my remaining family member, with whom I’m not particularly close, does not have a passport. So there’s no ‘my family’ experience for comparison.

As for ourselves on our own, for us Christmas means extra time off to relax with eachother. Nothing else. We are not Christians and do not exchange gifts. Well, we get each other little things here and there throughout the year, but again, not tied to a date (birthdays inclusive). I know this is definitely not the way the world we live in operates in general, so I’m just glad we happened to bump into each other! No stress, no expense, no expectation. It’s not for everybody, but it’s very ‘us’!

Post # 4
Member
9226 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2018

Christmas is BIG in my family, we do a big Christmas lunch every year with extended family including second cousins, and each adult over 21 goes into the draw to pick someone’s name for ‘known secret santa’. The single present is usually more expensive than the smaller gifts those under 21 get from each person. Those under 21 get a present from everyone.

FI and I spend time with both his family and my family over the Christmas period.

Post # 5
Member
1590 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Eh. It used to be but my mom never organizes everything so were all over the place. I don’t really shop for too many people, just my parents and nieces. I don’t need family spending money they don’t have on crap I don’t want.

It’s a big deal in his family though. It’s as you described yours to be.

Post # 6
Member
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Yah, it is in our family. We still do all the same traditions as when my sister and I were kids. I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year. 

Post # 7
Member
720 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

My FI is Jewish, so he doesn’t celebrate Christmas, BUT our families have very, very different attitudes toward gift giving and celebrating holidays in general. Take birthdays, for example. His parents stopped buying him birthday presents when he was 11 or 12. If he needs something, and it happens to be around his birthday, he’ll buy it and his parents will pay him back for it. My family, on the other hand, still celebrates birthdays with a dinner out somewhere, presents and the whole family just being together. His family doesn’t really get together for any holiday other than Thanksgiving and don’t EVER give each other gifts. My parents still get me an Easter basket. My FI thought my family was weird at first..but now I think he’s realized that his family is the weird one. Now he loves celebrating Christmas and stuff with my family – he gets a lot more out of it haha.

Post # 8
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we don’t celebrate x-mas.  but for hanukah, our families do celebrate a little differently. but thats what makes it fun.

since haunkkah is 8 nights, we celebrate one night with my family, one night with DH’s mom’s side and one night with DH’s dad’s side.

 

Post # 9
Member
628 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Chrismas is very big in both of our families, I have always loved christmas. and good thing my DH does as well, His parents live for christmas like in july they say its X amount of days til we put up the tree! They spoil me rotten – like the give me so much.  Christmas eve we go to mass and then his Aunt and uncles house for a big meal and gift giving (he exchanges with all of his cousins and uncles (this is a lil out of control but i can’t get through to them…) my christmas traditions have changes a bit since my mom passed, last year was weird but this year christmas morning we’re doing a brunch at our house with my sisters family and my dad, and then pat and i will head over to my in laws for christmas dinner.

I’m already listening to christmas music (right now!) 🙂

Post # 10
Member
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@PenguinLove:  Both make a big deal. My family gets Christmas Eve. We have pizza for Christmas lunch. We always go to the bar at about 5PM (which is small in a town of 150 so at best there are 30 people crammed in there lol) and have some finger food. Then we go back to the house and open gifts. Everyone gets each other stuff, even the adults.

My inlaws get Christmas Day. They go pretty big too. There we have the traditional Christmas meal, everyone gets each other gifts, and his grandma always has a HUGE stocking (like door sized) for everyone filled with candy. It’s a little different opening gifts at their place though because while we give gifts one at a time and watch each other, the in laws hand out all the gifts and then everyone opens them at the same time. It’s something I am still not used to, but oh well.

Post # 11
Member
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My family never really had a lot of money to really celebrate the gift exchange or travel for that matter. So we spent our holidays just my mom, sister, and me. We usually got chinese food and went to the movies. I was informed at a young age that Santa doesn’t exist and not to listen to the kids at school who talked about how much stuff they got.

Now SO’s family goes all out, dinner at one, everyone gets loaded down with presents. His mom is one of four children and everyone lives within a twenty mile radius of one another, so for them they don’t have to travel the long distances. When we first started dating I thought it was a little crazy how they went all out for Christmas. 

Personally I’d like to spend all major holidays with my family, because they all lives in different states, so it’s not like I can call them up and go to lunch. His family is always together on the weekend and durning the week for that matter. So it’s not really special it’s just another day. 

SO and I are looking foreward to moving out from his parents, and being able to have the type of Christmas we want. Lights around the windows, a nice fluffy tree, the banisters wrapped in ribbon and a whicked awesome dinner. 

Post # 12
Member
10489 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

Yes, it is to both our families, but Christmas Eve was more important to my Mom.  It’s celebratory, but it’s also a religious holiday.  We didn’t go to church for it, but there were some sombre aspects.  If my uncle was around he read from the bible before we got to open presents Christmas morning (horrible when you’re 6!)  It’s a fine china kinda celebration, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with two different traditional dinners.  Jan 6th was also noted, but it wasn’t a big holiday as there was school/work etc. most of the time.  My extended family lives further away, so now it’s just celebrated with 6 of us (parents, sister & BIL, and DH and I).

With DH’s family Christmas is also a big deal.  All his mom’s family gets together on Christmas Eve and most come over to his parent’s Christmas Day too, although some have their in-laws to see some years.  It’s a big party.  No dinner on Christmas Eve, just appetizers.  Christmas day is paper plates and plastic cutlery.  The alcohol is free flowing both days.  It’s more about family and less about a religious holiday for them, although they are Catholic.

Post # 13
Member
1849 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

  It is, and it isn’t. My parents are divorced (but get along really well) and his are still married. We have a lot of places to go to, but the focus isn’t always on gift giving.

  We will go to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve around 2pm. We’ll have Christmas movies on in the background and make a bunch of appetizers. We’ll exchange presents. We normally don’t spend more than $100 or so since we are older. This one is more about traditions. One of them is that we always get Christmas lottery scratch-offs, and it’s fun to see who ends up making the most money. After we open our gifts, family friends will come by. We’ll have appetizers, although last year was a sit-down meal. We’ll play games afterwards for fun, or it might be for small amounts of money.

  Then, we’ll go to DH’s dad’s side of the family. There isn’t a ton of gift giving there, because his youngest cousin is in college. There are now a few great-grandchildren, but I think those gifts are taken care of by their individual grandparents. We’ll play a Rob Your Neighbor type of game, but it’s nothing big (one year, the rules were you had to re-gift something, and the next year was you brought your favorite snack). It’s honestly gotten to be somewhat of a pain.

  On Christmas Day, we go to church, and then relax a bit at our own home. In the afternoon, we’ll go to my mom’s house to open presents with immediate family. Then, we’ll end up having Christmas Day with that side of the family. Some of my aunts and uncles exchange gifts, but not everyone. We then head over to his mom’s side of the family, where we will play Rob Your Neighbor (usually with a $25 limit), and then we’ll play Bingo for wrapped presents.

  Usually, a day or two after Christmas, we’ll celebrate with DH’s immediate family and exchange gifts. His family isn’t all that big into Christmas, but they are big into getting all of us together. We end up spending a good chunk of time with just them, and that’s what they’re really all about. It works out well for everyone…it’s one less thing to cram into the days, yet we still see each other on the holidays, and we get to spend more time together (which sometimes can be a good thing :-)).

  Next year, we’re adding a kid into the mix, and DH’s brother and sister in law will also have had a second child. I feel like things are going to change again, so we’ll see.

Post # 14
Member
1218 posts
Bumble bee

We have opted out of christmas for the most part this year. So we are not getting gifts for anyone but our neice who is 9, and we don’t want gifts from anyone. I am an only child so my family christmas’s aren’t very exciting and my parents are not big christmas people at all anymore and usually just involve my mom asking what I want for xmas. We usually do christmas eve dinner with my parents and christmas day dinner with the inlaws.

My In-laws are the most awkward people to spend time with (think sitting around the living room with family guy on tv while everyone plays on their phones/ipads….. yeah boring as heck), and they are horrible gift givers, I have gotten bath products and candles for my birthday and christmas every year for the last 9 years from them, and my hubbies gifts from them are always just as bad. They have little money so we would preferr they just dont buy us anything.

I absolutely love christmas and am happy with the way hubby and I celebrate it in our own home. We don’t generally do gifts but we decorate, play in the snow, listen to christmas music, watch Rudolf and The Grinch, The Christmas Story and Home Alone, bake yummy treats and really just enjoy each others company. I can’t wait to share it with kids of my own one day, but it wont be with a ton of gifts.

 

 

 

Post # 15
Hostess
11469 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@PenguinLove:  Oh goodness you read my mind! DH and I switch every year as well and his family does very little for Christmas. It is most frustrating!

My family gets together very early in the day and we spend all day together eating, playing games and enjoying the time together. We get each other gifts and have a big exchange. DH’s family only gets together in the evening (say 5ish) and has dinner with a quick gift swap. Sometimes I think it is a “waste” to do Christmas with them considering most of the day we are alone anyway. *sigh*

Post # 16
Member
795 posts
Busy bee

We both don’t really care that much. We believe it’s way too commercialized. Plus, a close family member tried to commit suicide Christmas Eve of 1997, so yeah, finding someone you love in a puddle of their own blood can make you have negative thoughts about the Holliday sadly. :-/

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