My Thoughts on Christmas

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Warning: Do not read if you are under 12 years old. And this is just a written account on my thoughts, not what others should believe.

Christmas morning 2009 Raleigh

Christmas is almost upon us and the old uncomfortable feeling returns. Although, I have happy thoughts and fond memories of Christmas past, I still can’t quite grasp Christmas as my favourite holiday and there are a number of reasons why. A lot of the time, I feel like a traitor and an outcast from society for thinking like this, but that’s just the way I am. I can’t help but question what traditions really mean and how they should be part of my life. Sometimes I feel really bad for wanting to reinvent them and trapped because I can’t.

Christmas feels like one big confusing hassle, and this is the general feeling I get from most people I speak to lately. There’s the running around to buy presents, dress the tree, hang the lights, shop for all the food, and then slave over the kitchen the day Christmas arrives. It is such a busy day with people running here there and everywhere, to catch up with people on different family sides. Most of the time I just want to sit, eat and drink and talk, but there’s too many people I want to do that with so it’s rush rush rush. Christmas doesn’t have that relaxed vibe for me and I feel lost in the consumerism and hassle of it all.

And there’s the fact that I gave up religion a long time ago, so I don’t feel all that comfortable about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, even though he scarce gets a mention anymore. It leaves me scratching my head and wondering just what all this is for? I find it hard to get behind something, if I don’t understand why I should get behind it and if I’m not really celebrating what its really meant to be about.

Now that we have Kalyra, I’m injecting more enthusiasm for her sake and sometimes I feel like such a bad mother for not baking Christmas tree cookies with her (although we did make a really cool 12 days of Christmas handprint tree together.)

And I can’t help but secretly be glad when she is too scared to go near Santa. Personally, I think she’s smart. Who wouldn’t be scared of a big strange man in a red suit, with a cotton wool beard, whose favourite word is Ho Ho Ho, and wants you to sit on his lap and divulge if you’ve been naughty or nice, and then tell him all your secret dreams and desires? I’m scared of him. And if she doesn’t want to go near him then I can pretend he doesn’t exist, like he really doesn’t.

I don’t have a great relationship with Santa. Firstly, I’m still mad at him from when I was 7 and I asked him for that special Princess Barbie I saw in the Kmart catalogue. I crossed my fingers, wrote him letters, was a good girl all year long, sat on his lap and whispered in his ear, and still on Christmas morning I got a “Doll of the World,”, or something like that. I mean, why didn’t he just tell me they sold out of them in the store and maybe I wouldn’t have spent the next twenty years of my life believing that I just wasn’t good enough, or never got what I asked for?

And secondly, a student asked me the other day, “How come some kids don’t get any presents for Christmas? Doesn’t Santa like them?” Well, Santa? Can you answer that one please, because I’m kind of struggling? I worry about the impact this might have on a young child and their feelings of self-worth. I’m torn between letting my child believe in this wrong ideal and later hating me for lying to her when she finds out the truth, or by letting her know the truth and destroying the magic of Christmas for her, not to mention me having to feel the wrath of society because of it. How do I balance this out? Are there any ideas out there?

Christmas breakfast
Breakfast Christmas 2009 Raleigh

And then there is the whole gift giving thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like giving gifts, I just hate how that becomes the focus of Christmas. Every Christmas, I spend days trying to come up with things I want to put on the Christmas list, so others can buy me (sometimes with money they don’t have), something I don’t really want or need. I just can’t handle it. No No No. Please don’t. Not for me. I don’t want anything.

And to be honest, I don’t really want to get into debt buying presents that someone has put on their list just for the sake of putting something on their list. I’d rather get into debt over birthday presents, as that is something I really believe in- the celebration of a life of someone I know and love. And I know that not everyone has financial struggles, so spending money on presents is not an issue, and perhaps I might feel differently if I had loads of money to spend. I just know so many who don’t and Christmas becomes a great big burden because of it.

Some one mentioned to me the other day, how in their family, they select two names out of a hat, and you only buy presents for each person, that way everyone gets a gift and no one has to over buy or over spend. I liked that idea. Simple, giving, not too focused on commercialism. Actually, one Christmas in London, we all had a 10 pound limit to buy a gift and then we played pass the parcel. Every one got a gift and we had so much fun handing them out and discovering what each person received.

Christmas 2007
Last christmas with my family 2007

I guess I can blame travel for it in some respects. I’ve learned to live a minimalist lifestyle, always focusing on what I need and not what I want. And by removing so much stuff in my life, I’ve been more able to focus on the memories created with each moment, which is why I want Christmas to be just about coming together and having a great time, not what lies beneath the Christmas wrapping that eventually fades, or breaks, or gets lost under the bed. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured, stressed out, or fatigued under the strain of the major production Christmas can be. I’d be happy to wrap everyone I love up in my sack, pop them on my sleigh and whiz to the nearest beach resort, so we can all just relax and have a magical time. Magic of our own creation.

Christmas 2007
Christmas fun in the spa with Craig's family 2007

My happiest memories of Christmas have been of the joy that came with celebrating with each other. So for this year I’m going to plan for and get excited about that kind of a day. It is our first Christmas at home in a couple of years. This Saturday, we are going to listen to the Carols in the Domain with family and Kalyra can have fun playing with her cousins singing Christmas carols. My sister will be visiting from Perth, who I have only seen once since Kalyra was born, and I can laugh with her and my older sister and her boys, who I haven’t had spent a lot of time with since we returned. And I am hoping that my brother, Stilts, will make a surprise appearance. Our last Christmas together as a complete family was in ’99 and that was one of my favourites.

Even though my questions are up in the air about Santa and the over consumerism of Christmas, I am going to put that out of my mind. My sister-in-law, Vanessa, helped me to feel a little more excited about the magic of Santa this afternoon and made me think that perhaps its not such a bad idea. I’ll help Kalyra leave a beer out for Santa and then I’ll let him fill the sacks at night until I can figure out what to do.

In reality, Christmas can be how I choose it to be. And I choose it to be a fun day spent with my family with much laughter and joy.

What are your thoughts on Christmas? Love it, hate it? Has travel changed your views on it?

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36 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Christmas”

  1. A brilliantly insightful post. While I do agree that gift giving has become too much of a focus, I like to think my family has found a really fantastic balance. We have a wonderful few days of eating, drinking, spending time together, singing, and yes, gift-giving that we still think fondly of years after the fact.

    It was highlighted for me in my recent trip home in which we had an early Christmas just because I’m leaving and won’t be around for the day proper. It brings my big family together every year and I’ve never once heard one of my siblings complain that the gift we got them wasn’t expensive enough or good enough. Mum’s always encouraged us to be grateful for anything we get, and it’s stuck.

    As for the santa thing, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a child hating their parents for lying. Generally by the time they’ve figured it out – they’ve got the maturity to understand why the story was there. My three older siblings have certainly gone that way, and it remains to be seen how my youngest brother takes the news. But he’s a bright kid – and it’s sweet that he can still enjoy that innocent magic. The world’s got precious little wonder in it these days.

    1. Great comments Chris. It does sound like you have a perfect balance and it sounds just like what Christmas should be about. I think gratitude is the key, and you can be so grateful even if you only receive a card. Presents don’t have to come attached with an expensive price tag. Price doesn’t equal love. Craig was saying the same thing to me last night about the Santa thing. He doesn’t think that a child would feel that way either. And it is a magical thing for a child. I think I’ll make my peace with Santa and let him back into Christmas, but I will make sure that I help Kalyra to see the magic that really does exist in her life and how she can help to be a creator of it. Thanks for your insightful comments back

  2. Caz,
    I agree with most of what you said. Fortunately, I do not have any kids because I don’t know how I’d handle that one! I no longer celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas, but am still very much attached to the decorating and cookie-baking, and dorky Christmas music 🙂 Like Thanksgiving, I love that it’s a time when our busy family can catch up and get together. The gift giving part I struggle with- I hate having to come up with a gift idea for the sake of buying something, and likewise. I have asked multiple people this year to specifically not buy anything for me because I don’t need anything! My mother scoffed at the idea and said, “you must have something under the tree!” Do I? My best friend and I are always sending random gifts to each other throughout the year. If I see something that I know she’d really love, I buy it and ship it to her. We don’t exchange gifts for Christmas because it doesn’t seem appropriate. We give gifts when we want to because it’s something of value to the other person. The older I get, I’m molding Christmas into what I want it to be for me and my family. I think it’s okay to mold traditions to your liking! Enjoy the holidays 🙂

    1. Thanks Laura. It makes it difficult when you have kids because you have to think about it more, and worry about the effect your choices have on your child. I think I could understand gift giving at Thanksgiving more than at Christmas because you are saying thanks for something important. I just look at the absolute buying frenzy that is centered around Christmas, and I just think “Why? What is all this for?” if it wasn’t such mayhem and people didn’t get over their heads financially because of it, then I think I would feel much better about it. But despite all this, I do love a celebration. And Christmas means lots of eating and drinking, and so that is something I can really relate to and enjoy! 🙂

  3. eat-laugh-love-anon

    I’m struggling to come to terms with my Christmas feelings this year too, Caz.
    Singapore has Christmas lights everywhere and I’m sure the malls are filled with crazed shoppers. I don’t go near the shops here anyway, cos it’s crazy enough when it’s not Christmas. (Husband does the grocery shopping – lucky me!)
    I decided we couldn’t have a tree this year because it’s a waste of money and the baby would just demolish it. My husband is a Buddhist from Vietnam so he really doesn’t “get” the kind of Christmas you talk about. We’ll give the baby a few gifts, things we would have bought her anyway.
    We are hosting a Christmas barbecue at our place for a few people who are far from their families and I really hope we have a lovely day. But the decorations will consist of 12 (count them) baubles and the table setting will be plastic and paper all the way. We don’t intend to settle in Singapore so buying stuff just seems like a waste. We want to save our money to travel!
    But I will really miss my family, sitting around and talking and laughing while kids and dogs and drunk uncles run around the back yard. Hopefully we can create something approaching that with our new Singapore friends and a few Skype calls.
    Anyway… Merry Christmas to you. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    1. It always seems as if Christmas is the holiday most people struggle with. Craig and I never bought much either when we were living overseas. It felt weird this year to get a big tree and some decorations. We were always used to a 3 foot one. I’m sure you’ll have a great christmas in Singapore. It will be different and more relaxing for you.

  4. Always enjoy reading about your personal perspectives on many different topics. I love Christmas even though it could never completely live up to the great expectations I have every year. Although not very religious (in the organized religion sense), I like to attend services and hear choirs this time of year. I like the good intentions people have about gift giving and spending time with family. I also very much like the holiday baking that others (not so much myself) do that I get to enjoy. About Santa — I’ll never forget the day my 4th grade teacher (yes, I still believed in Santa then) who joked in front of our class that “I’m sure none of you believe in Santa Claus anymore, do you?” Oh man! That was a hard way to find out about Santa!

    Travel is very much a part of Christmas for me with pre-holiday trips to great places, and traveling to visit family in Chicago and Wisconsin. Basically, people should just put into Christmas whatever they are wanting to take out of it. It’s different for us all.

    1. I certainly like the baking that others do!! That is a horrible way to find out about Santa. I can’t believe your teacher said that! Even with sixth grade kids I divert the answer to “if you believe then it’s real!” I remember a friend told me and I felt like hitting her for telling such a great big lie! I really like travelling at Christmas. Craig and I have done that a lot and I guess that feels like it is more of a Christmas that suits us. It makes it feel like a special occasion and that we are creating our own tradition in doing it. I think I’m really struggling with it this year, because my daughter is now at that age and I’m trying to work out the best way to create a special experience for her.

  5. These are some great thoughts and I totally agree with every point you made. I guess at the end of the day though, I love tradition, so I make a big deal out of Christmas.

    1. Thanks Andi! You are always so positive and supportive. I need to find a way to create some of my own traditions I think for Christmas, I guess it will mean a little more to me then, and I could embrace it with more passion.

  6. We’ve decided to postpone Christmas this year. I love putting the tree up and listening to all the awful Christmas music while doing that so that’s already done. As for the day itself – like you said, busy, dashing around, cooking, ad that’s after lots of pre-Christmas spending.

    I like it that we’re in Turkey and it’s not officially celebrated here. We can go to the shop on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to buy any treats we might want. No closed shops, no horrendous queues, no ridiculous spending on stuff we don’t need.

    So, Christmas Day is going to be me and Barry doing whatever we like – not thought about it yet! 🙂 We’ve got friends and family flying over for New Year so that’s going to be the celebration time. That’s Christmas for us and I feel like we can spend it as we wish because we’re in a country that isn’t pushing it down our throats, telling us what Christmas should be!

    Hope you get the Christmas you want! We love it. 🙂

    1. That’s why Craig and I always enjoyed Christmas when we were overseas. There was none of the hype and ridiculous spending. It was always a day spent doing what we wanted which made it really special and so memorable. Christmas in New York skating around Central Park, and Christmas lunch at Vic Falls- so magical and peaceful. I think that is what I’m struggling with here is that I can’t make it what I want, I have to slip back into tradition and I am not good with tradition- always trying to form my own path.

  7. Great post! There is so much pressure to feel this strange thing called ‘The Christmas Sprit’. For me, it’s always been about getting together with people I love, relaxing and eating way too much – little else. I’m spending this one in Vientiane and though we’ve found a pub doing a turkey on the 25th, we’re really happy to just kick back and enjoy the day – something we would be doing anyway.

    Your little girl is in good company. Here are the results of a Google image search for pictures of kids crying with Santa. He’s a scary dude!

    1. Isn’t life funny? A pub, in Vientiane, having Christmas turkey. The world will never cease to enthrall or entertain me. Now that is a story to tell right there, and you are going to have a great Christmas.
      Those Santa pictures freaked me out. What about the boy who has his arms held out pleading to save me! What are we doing to our children?? I never push the idea that Kalyra has to sit on Santa’s knee for a photos. She tells me she’s scared. I say “Right on girl.”

  8. I love this post so very much! I couldn’t agree with you more about everything. I liked Christmas when I was a kid, as most kids do, but once I grew up, I started becoming less and less fond of it and all the accompanying craziness and consumerism. It’s become a stressful obligation more than anything. For now, I’ve opted out of Christmas altogether. I take the week to travel.

    I especially love this:

    “And secondly, a student asked me the other day, “How come some kids don’t get any presents for Christmas? Doesn’t Santa like them?” Well, Santa? Can you answer that one please, because I’m kind of struggling? I worry about the impact this might have on a young child and their feelings of self-worth.”

    EXACTLY. How the heck do you explain that to a kid?

    1. It is the worst question to be asked by a child. I don’t even know how I answer. I somehow bumble my way through and talk about how we all need to help one another out. Really, I want to say because Santa is not real and those parents can’t afford to buy their children a lot , which breaks their hearts just as much as the children who wake up of a morning to see a sack half empty. 🙁 But i can’t, because then I’d be lynched.
      Now, taking the week off to travel sounds like the perfect Christmas to me. I hope you have a wonderful time. Where are you going this year?

  9. Caz, I have so much to say about this, I don’t know where to start. However, I think you already know how I feel. In this blog post, you were honest and blunt about your feelings. In my link below, I actually tried to put a positive spin with my negative feelings about Christmas.

    Honest truth here – my wife actually calls me Scrooge because of my attitude at Christmas. It’s not that I walk away with a scowl on my face saying “Bah! Humbug!” but I just see so much negativity with Christmas. I think too many people run around, shopping, spending money on gifts and I hate it. I had this same discussion last night with my wife about buying gifts for our kids. Again, it was with that motivation that I wrote about teaching your kids about the true meaning of Christmas.

    For me, Jesus still means something at Christmas. And while you aren’t religious, it is about something you do like – celebrating a birthday, a life. A few weeks back, I wrote on my blog why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s about spending time with family and friends with no expectations or things to do. Like you, I have fond memories of Christmas growing up. However, there are some things about the holiday that just give me an uneasy feeling this time of year.

    I don’t hate Christmas but I am against all the things it has become. Like you, travel has helped change my life when it comes to looking at Christmas as well. Like you said before, we are a lot alike in our lives and attitudes. This is just one more thing we are in agreement on.

    1. I call myself “The Grinch” because I feel like that is what I am. I grumble about Christmas constantly and would love to can it, or maybe just change it a little. Craig and I really liked experiencing Thanksgiving and we both said how we wish Christmas was as relaxed and about spending time with those you loved. It’s just about eating and drinking and laughing. Who couldn’t get excited about that? (I must add in football there too, as that is one of Craig’s highlights to it.)

      I used to really love Christmas, but then I started to travel and had so many Christmases overseas that was just about coming together, eating and drinking, that now I feel really uncomfortable about doing it any other way.
      Maybe I should focus more on the Jesus side of things, because I do really like him and the message that he did have- be kind to others. Maybe if we all brought that back in- the true meaning, I might be okay with it. And that is kindness without the price tag attached 🙂

      1. There is no Christmas without ‘Christ’! 🙂 I know so many people get caught up in the religion thing but Jesus isn’t about religion. That’s for another discussion though.

        A few months before my first son was born, i wrote a list of things I wanted to do with my son. One of the things I listed was to have a birthday cake at Christmas as a reminder it was about celebrating Jesus. It puts the focus back on what it is about rather than the presents. I wrote down MANY other ideas like this so I should see if I can find that list (have no idea where it is!)

        My point is that you can make Christmas your own and you don’t have to make it what the rest of the culture makes it out to be.

        1. I grew up in a Catholic home and my parents would get really upset if I ever wrote Xmas on a card. They would always remind me that you can’t take the Christ out of Christmas as that is what it is all about. Actually, do they do the Xmas in America? Not sure if I ever saw it over there, come to think of it.

  10. One more thing to add to the disillusionment of Christmas – why do we spend years lying to kids about presents on Christmas morning for them to one day find out that we have been deceiving them all along? And this is supposed to be good parenting? I remember when I found out when I was kid – I was crushed. It’s just another horrible element to this holiday.



    1. Jeremy, it’s nice to hear someone think the same way as me on this. I understand the whole magic of it, but I can’t help but recognize the whole deception part as well. I think this is a big issue. Craig and I were talking about it and he didn’t think children would worry about that their parents had lied to them. My response was “How do you know?” how do you know that subconsciously this deception has made them feel that their parents are untrustworthy? I don’t remember so i can’t say if it affected my feelings towards my parents but I know I was shattered. And I remember finding out from a friend, and then going into super sleuth mode with my parents and I distinctly remember saying to myself well if this happens then I know my parents are really Santa and haven’t told me the truth.
      And I know that a lot of people may say I am just reading too much into it and let kids enjoy the magic, but I see my job as parenting for the future not for today, which is why I battle with what to do with things like this.
      Besides, I love questioning traditions to make sure we are doing them because they are right and make sense, instead of just doing it because people years ago did without ever understanding why.
      The Grinch

  11. Hi Guys. I stumbled across the blog yesterday and love it!!! It is exactly the inspiration I have been looking for, so thankyou.

    As far as christmas goes this is my first christmas without any family as they are all over in Western Australia and I’m about to move from QLD to Tassie so I don’t have the money to fly over. It is a little sad but my current partner and I have decided to make this year different and go hiking on Fraser Island instead. I’m really looking forward to it as I know that I will most likely be overseas travelling in the years to come so I am just learning to get used to it now.

    I also really look forward to having my own children eventually and when I do I will not be lying and telling them that santa gives them gifts. As a child christmas was always special because my family just all spent time together and yes we also got some exciting presents. However I could never remember if they were from santa or mum and I used to always ask her “Mum was this from you or santa?”

    I think that I would rather have my children look at christmas as a special magical time with family and yummy food. I would also rather have my children be grateful for a gift that I took the time to get them instead of some fat, happy man in a red suit. So I think that your thoughts are spot on!

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hey Debbie! I’m so glad you found us. Your new move sounds exciting. I’ve heard Tassie is beautiful. You are going to have quite the weather change though aren’t you?
      I like how you said you’d rather have your children be grateful for a gift you took the time to get them. I agree. I think that is far more magical and real, and would teach them so much more about giving and receiving. Kalyra is scared of Santa so it doesn’t make sense for her to be receiving gifts from someone who terrifies her, rather mummy and daddy who love her.

  12. I loved reading this. 🙂

    I am a massive, massive Christmas fan but it’s entirely because it is on my own terms. I made a commitment to myself one particularly nasty Christmas that I would ‘take it back’ and love it again, so I kept a journal and tried to take a few minutes each day to reflect on what really made Christmas important to me – identifying which traditions made me happy, which things were fine to reinvent or stop entirely and remembering which things made the holidays special. It really, really worked for me, and so every year I keep a book and start with a Christmas manifesto where I write down what I want to focus on that Christmas. (You can see my manifesto from this year here, if that helps:

    Anyway, I really just wanted to comment to say don’t feel trapped by tradition. All the traditions in every family were started by someone. There is nothing wrong with starting something new and phasing things out that don’t produce happiness (or cause stress, etc). The biggest lesson I’ve learned from taking back Christmas is that much of the world is happy to be commercial, competitive and so forth about the holidays, but not all. I can’t change them. I can change me, and that worked out pretty well. 🙂

    (And also I love the small world factor of the commenter before me spending Christmas in Vientiane! We are leaving Vientiane just a few days before Christmas – I think we will be in Vietnam on the 25th.)

    1. Hey Shimelle! Great name by the way
      I really like your approach to Christmas. You have really taken the time to think about what it means and construct your ideal Christmas around that. That is certainly the right way to do it, and I get so frustrated because so many people never take the time to think about what it really means. What do you do though when you want to change it, but those around you in your family don’t? That is when I feel trapped. When Craig and I were travelling, we always had a day that was a meaningful creation by us. It was never a huge day, but it was peaceful and enjoyable and just focused on spending time together. It’s hard to find that balance when you have to consider others who have totally different views on things.
      You should have a wonderful Christmas in Vietnam

  13. Hey guys, great post. I’ve had a variety of Christmasses around the world, probably about half in the Northern hemisphere where it’s been cold and wet (occasionally when I’ve been awfully lucky, snowy), and about half in the Southern Hemisphere where it’s been hot and sunny, and usually involves a trip to the beach.

    Personally I love Christmas, but for me it only really works properly when it’s cold, dark and miserable outside. The Christmas lights that light up the streets, the giant christmas trees in city squares, the German markets that appear all over the place – it all works as a wonderful distraction from the fact that it’s dark by 4pm and the weather is seriously miserable. So for that reason, I do love Christmas, as a festive event, rather than some religious thing, but mostly when it’s cold.

    The other thing I love about Christmas, which works wherever I am in the world, is the family aspect. It’s tricky when travelling to keep in touch with loved ones, but I’ll usually make the effort to find a phone and get in touch with my parents from wherever I am. They will also find some way to send me something, even if it’s money, with specific instructions for what it should be spent on. Often, sparkling wine so I can drink it and think of them. This year they were even more cunning, and managed to send me walking socks from the UK to New Zealand. A really handy present for someone who loves to walk. So yeah, I love Christmas for the family and friends side of it too 🙂

    1. I like your mum’s idea and I loved picture of you opening the champagne on Amanda’s fan page. A really neat idea, and it helps bring your mum to you in her absence. Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere does seem to have a much more homely and warmer atmosphere. I love summer christmases but I also like the indoor ones sometimes too.
      Enjoy walking around in those new socks 🙂

  14. I think you have voiced what so many of us feel –
    Christmas like everything is changing and I’d like to think having reached this ridiculous level of having the retail end of Christmas pushed into our faces for 20% of the year, when we experience it for just a day, that (fingers crossed) that part of the bubble will burst!
    As 50% (I believe it is now) don’t believe in the origination of this festival I agree with you, its a day that should develop into a day of our own making 🙂
    Have a great day – However you choose to spend it!

    1. You too Linda. 20% that is a terrible statistic. I went to the shopping centre today to do some Christmas shopping, and I cursed the whole time and left feeling sick in my stomach. I couldn’t get over the amount of Christmas stuff that was being shoved in peoples’ faces everywhere. It took me twenty minutes to find a car park and people were frantically rushing around to buy what was on the list. I overhead so many people talking about the list “I’ve got to get this… it’s on the list” “She didn’t get me a list… so i’ll have to get whatever..” This will do, come on, just get something.” I was just happy I was with my beautiful daughter who is oblivious to it all and says things that make me smile and is so sweet. Teh best thing of the day was after she had looked at all the toys, I asked her what she finally decided on to get from Santa. “I just want some ponies. That is all mummy. I don’t need to get a lot.” My beautiful 3 year old gets it.

  15. I love Christmas and it will be hard to be away from my family this year. As we have a larger extended family Christmas and a few years ago we decided to draw for names and put a limit on spending. We still have a wonderful time together and no one is broke when January rolls around.

  16. We’ve done Christmas in Kenya, pre-Christmas in Finland, my son’s done Christmas in Australia with his dad, and we’ve done a bunch of Christmases in England.

    I must confess, though, that Christmas in Australia is less of a big deal than in England. So, while the minimalist part of me would rant and rave against consumerism and glitz when I was there, rather than travelling, part of me’s longing for deep snow, carol singers and snowball fights…

    Have you done your shopping yet? We’re on five bucks maximum for the adults and largely portable trinkets for the kids (though Z is getting a new computer)…

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