Holiday blues (very long vent)

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by runsw/scissors, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Dec 27, 2012

    This is the first year I've experienced the holiday blues. It started Christmas Eve day and went the next 24+ hours. Actually things started before then, but the real avalanche was Christmas Eve Day. I wanted to bake Christmas cookies and planned to make a couple pies for the family get-togethers. Then Sweets asks me to help with the move of his office, and what I thought would be about 45 minutes turned into more than 2 hours. Then the pie recipe took longer than I planned so I didn't get it done in time. The kids were late being dropped off AND they hadn't had showers so we were rushed to get that done and make it to Mass on time. We finally get there and Mass took FOREVER (which is saying something as I am used to long Masses.) Then the orgy of greed came down. It took 4 children an hour and a half to open gifts. I had a glass of wine too many and was tired and cranky. Then the adults started exchanging gifts BUT NO ONE TOLD US WE WERE DOING THIS!!! It was supposed to be only a gift card exchange so that's what we planned for. We didn't buy gifts for all the adults in the family. And I love my future MIL2 (she is the sweetest lady) but her gifts are rarely anything I would ever use. This year I got a hideous door mat. So at this point I an feeling guilty for feeling like a thankless, ungrateful b*t*h. And to make me feel even more guilty when we open stockings she has put more than $200 dollars in gift cards and cash inside. By the end of the evening I am tired and frustrated and feeling guilty and have a splitting headache. The next day we go over to my family's for Christmas 2.0. Ours is a much more modest celebration; the gift exchange took less than 30 minutes. My parents were very kind and gave us $100 to amazon. I also got a scarf and he was given some smoked salmon. Afterward there was food set out and some siblings came by the house later so we played games. That was it. Suddenly I feel like my family looks really...I don't know what compared to the overwhelming generosity of his family.

    This is all entirely my hang up. Sweets has never said a thing against my family or there financial levels of giving or anything. In fact he was quite upset about the adults in his family "breaking the rules" and gifting outside the gift card exchange. And he agrees the door mat is ugly. He even said it first when we got home. Next we head up north to see his family there, and while I expect the gifts to be fewer and more balanced I just want this season over. Can someone please tell me when Superbowl Sunday will be so I have something else to focus on?
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 27, 2012

    I think it's been a rough holiday for many. I'm normally a Christmas junkie but lost my beloved 8-year-old cat very suddenly on Christmas Eve. We also found a family member took out a restraining order on her soon-to-be ex-husband.

    Hang in there. Kids will come back soon and we'll all have something else to focus on. Sounds like your hubby is very sweet :)
     
  4. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 28, 2012

    :hugs: my friend and I were actually texting about this on Christmas. Both of us were saying we remembered when Christmas was the best day of the year and we wished that it could still be that way. It's like Christmas has gone from a fun, magical day of good food and presents to a stressful time.

    I would have felt a little awkward about the genorosity, but reminded myself that if that's what they wanted to do, then that's on them. I wouldn't try and give extra next year because they might be giving a lot again. I think it was a bit rude of them to break the rules, but sometimes people get caught up in the "giving" spirit (I'm guilty of that this year -- I bought my boyfriend and my parents WAAAAAAY more this year than ever in the past. I got a small bonus at work, so I was excited)

    :hugs: At least it's over for now.
     
  5. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Dec 28, 2012

    We need to remember that Christmas is NOT about getting stuff! It is about Christ's Birthday and if God had not sent his One and Only Son, we would never have had Easter, a time to celebrate Christ's victory over death and our hope of eternal life.

    It's easy for Christmas to get bogged down with other things but if everyone was given no presents it doesn't really matter. My family gave very modest gifts this year. My Dad is losing his job and my parents simply couldn't afford a lot. My sister and her husband and family are also a little tight this year but those things really don't matter. We were all together, we remembered the real meaning, and we enjoyed each other.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I agree Joy, but that's not the point. His family has a tendency to change plans and not inform everyone. We will hear about a change of plans but not his brother. Or his stepmom will forget to tell anyone and no on is sure what is going on. So here it is Christmas Eve and we have planned for one course of events, but then other stuff starts happening and we are left looking Scroogey for not bringing gifts for everyone. I know this is probably all in my head, but I still felt rather grinchy for a long while.
     
  7. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Dec 28, 2012

    It was just one bad thing after another. You'll feel better in a bit. Maybe you can start feeling better by buying yourself something with all that dough! ;)
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2012

    :hugs: rws. I'm sorry that you're feeling this way. I have been feeling the same way. Nothing really happened, just feeling blah. I'm sorry that his family did that. I hate when plans change and no one tells anyone. Hopefully the new year will lift your spirits!
     
  9. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Dec 28, 2012

    This.
    In the :soapbox: materialistic society we have created, it's all about the gift, and not the thought or reason for giving. We feel obligated to put financial strain on ourselves, to buy gifts for our loved ones. Someone gets you an amazon gift card, and another gives you a hand-made scarf, and more of us would value the gift card (i.e. monetary value).

    This year, I went with a no-more-than-$20 gift stipulation. I think it makes you think more about the person (i.e. put more thought into the gift), and that more exemplifies the spirit of Christmas than buying our love or approval. I've actually found that there are A LOT of cool gifts one can get for <$20.

    You also don't have to go into too much debt at the start of every year.
     
  10. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Dec 28, 2012

    My point is that people often even unintentionally get caught up with "fluff" of Christmas. If his family changed plans on you, you certainly cannot know what they are thinking and you should give yourself a break! I often think that the people who give less are thinking more on the true meaning anyway.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Then my SIL must have the biggest heart in the world. :rolleyes:She has given nothing to anyone for several years...she shows up at my in laws' holiday celebration, collects her gifts and gives nothing...she came to son's wedding in September with 3 of her kids...no gift...no card. We continue to buy small gifts for her daughters. We'll take something small and lovely to her daughter's wedding in July....it's not about the gifts, but her thoughtlessness and selfishness come through all year, and not just in lack of gift giving.
    Vent over...for now, we're headed to the family party tomorrow. A big glass of wine helps.:D
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I sympathize runs! With 2 college kids at home, money is tight and the holiday just isn't the same kind of ripping through wrapping frenzy! I was actually thinking about skipping church since we hadn't been there recently but DH and the boys insisted. That turned me around big time!
    We are struggling through an inevitable job change in the next few weeks and DH is downplaying it to his family, but majorly stressing at home. Fun.
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I was feeling very Grinch-y this Christmas. I christened it "The One Where People Lie About Why They Aren't Coming For Christmas."

    Long eve and day. Lots of wine was needed.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Wine is good. My SIL lies about most things...including that her daughter just had a head cold when she came to my house when it was actually swine flu that my husband then got...oh and the time she swindled money for experimental drugs for cancer which she did not have. Vile. There's not enough wine. On the planet.
     
  15. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Wow cza! Thanks. I feel better about my potentially racist, ultra conservative family who make tasteless jokes.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Glad. To elevate your holiday cheer. I'm gearing up for 24 hours of the in law experience. Pray for me.
     
  17. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I read somewhere that Christmas just adds another job for women. Now that doesn't mean that it should be grinchy or anything like that, but it just adds one more thing for us to do. :dizzy: And, for me, even though I've been married many years, it always comes down to me finding out when we are having Christmas, making the food, making sure everyone knows when it is, etc. I just wish that someone would just tell me when I was to be there and NOT have to make any food!! I always feel grinchy every year and I know it is my problem.
     
  18. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Imo, holidays are usually not holidays for women. We do the majority of the shopping, wrapping, cleaning, planning, cooking, etc. so the "holiday" actually means more work and stress making other people happy. Hopefully, we learn to manage it so we enjoy it, as well, but that is a learned skill that some of us never learn.
     
  19. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Dec 28, 2012

    There is a big difference between giving less and giving nothing! I'm just thinking that on the years when my family decided to give less, we actually had more time to think about the true meaning and enjoy each other more.

    I have had more "extended" relatives who never gave any of us gifts. My Dad's side of our family NEVER sent gifts. We always went to my Mom's side for Christmas when we were younger and they gave gifts but I never, ever received a Christmas present, Birthday present, or even a card from those Grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Since I grew up with it being like that, I never expected it either. When I got older, I thought about how strange it was!
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Oh, I know the difference.

    SIL has more than enough time to think about no one but herself.:eek:hmy:
     
  21. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Dec 28, 2012

    Merry CHRISTmas, everyone.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I bought three gifts this year and made two (which was a couple more than last year!). I avoid one side of my family who really are horrible people. I am able truly enjoy my Christmas and break. It is what you make it. :)
     
  23. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Since we have had high expenses this year, I set a limit of $10, and stuck to it. I found great gifts that fit their personalities.

    I also went on strike about cooking. I am diabetic, so don't want sweets around. When DD1 came, I asked her to make two pies, and I make sure they were gone by the time everyone left the house.
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Christmas shouldn't be about getting, it should be about giving, but I think it's going out of control. I remember growing up we would get one present and we were so happy with it, or it was a few smaller presents.
    I never forget when I was 7 years old, my father got me a watch. I regular old fashioned watch. (which was the only type of watch at the time). When he put it on my wrist, I was in Heaven. If I remember correctly, that was the only gift I got for Christmas that year, and I felt so honored.
     
  25. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Dec 29, 2012

    This is one reason we did the Salvation Army Angel this year. The commercialization of Christmas bugs me. We did go a bit overboard, but I got an enormous amount of satisfaction buying clothes and toys for a baby who otherwise wouldn't have gotten anything. BF did say he thought he would get more satisfaction out of it - he thinks if he had been able to see the child receive the presents, he might have felt better. Oh well. Maybe next year we'll adopt a family from my school and buy presents and Christmas dinner for them.
     
  26. TeacherNY

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    Dec 29, 2012

    I know how you feel about holiday guilt. I had told my sister about a mont ago that I was just getting small presents this year for the family and she should not go nuts this year...she always buys tons of gifts. When we went to her house on christmas day she gave me a whole bag of gifts plus a gift card for my hubby. I only got her one thing she asked for plus a something else she already had (non returnable). I felt bad although I told her not to give us so much. I know she really likes shopping and giving presents though. I have to make it up some how...I am planning to take her and my mom to brunch and also maybe getting another gift to replace the duplicate one she already had. I know you can't predict how much someone will spend on you but I really like it to be fairly equal.next year I am hoping to get the family to agree to a secret santa with a spending limit!
     
  27. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 3, 2013

    Well, I hope everyone's holidays ended on a relaxing note. We got back into town today. The New Year vacation was a great way to decompress. I helped his mom make dinner for New Years Day, and we had a good time. I am sad to say that I am glad the season is over and we can move on to other things.
     
  28. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jan 3, 2013

    rws, I'm glad your New Year's was better! I had a pretty good break & have 4 days left of it.
     
  29. MsG

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    Jan 3, 2013

    We did something different this year and it was great. My family (parents, brother, and I) went on a cruise for Christmas. No cooking, worrying about anything, gifts, etc. and it was fabulous. We're planning on doing it from now on. No more drama, stress, shopping, or anything! I did get them a few little gifts to open on Christmas Day, but we spent the day on the beach in Mexico, drink in hand. Best idea ever!!!
     
  30. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2013

    I normally have a good Holiday Season, and this one looked to be the same. Boy was I wrong! Buried my two best friends between Christmas and New Years. Human the Saturday after Christmas, and my Golden Retriever on New Year's Day. :( The human's passing was expected (not that it's any easier), the doggie got deathly ill and had to be put down with a condition that came, literally, out of the blue. I'm not sure which makes me feel worse.

    On the upside, youngest daughter announced her engagement (really nice guy she wants to marry), and my wife talked me into going to the Humane Society Wednesday "just to look." Well, we found... 1 1/2 yr old Black Lab, potty trained, knows voice and hand commands, 68 lbs (and still growing) of happiness lying at my feet as I type this.

    Funny how things work out sometimes.
     
  31. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 6, 2013

    My condolences. That really stinks. Glad to hear you found another canine friend to help you through. What name did you choose (or did it already have one?)
     
  32. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I can totally relate to the in-law thing in the original post. My family doesn't do too much for gifts. I usually get my dad and step-mom a gift card to a restaurant, and my mom a gift card to a quilting shop. I spend maybe $150 total on everyone in my family. I don't exchange gifts will any friends.

    My fiance's family spends a lot...His parents buy me more than my parents do. They still spend a lot on each child. Opening gifts with my family takes maybe 15 minutes. With his family it takes a good hour, where everyone takes turns opening one at a time.

    It's nice, but just different. When I have children, I really want to keep the gifts to a minimum. I never want to be stressed at Christmas time.
     
  33. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jan 7, 2013

    I hope everyone who went through the holiday blues are getting back to their old selves as we return to work! :)
     
  34. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2013

    Name's Mackie. We didn't pick it, but he already answered to it so... why fix what isn't broken?
     

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