Holiday traditions

sammy zone 7 TulsaDecember 4, 2006

All of the family is together. We open our presents, watch TV, prepare a traditional dinner, visit, do all of the exciting things that we have been brought up doing. At the end of the day, we enjoy each other, and have many days of extended family togetherness or even comfortable days without extended family.

Now our lives have changed, and I am looking for ways to create new traditions that will fit our life today. All I can think of doing is declaring that I don't want to cook for two days. I want to have a simple dinner, and do something else. But I would like to create new traditions to take us into our next stage of life.

We are not wealthy, and travel is out of the question. But just as I don't want to cook, I want to do something. In my zone gardening is not an option that I can look forward to.

Do any of you have clever interesting things you do during the holidays now that things are not the same as they were when the children were young? Even if they are able to come home, I don't want to relive our old traditions. I want change.

My sister said that many couples are in that situation even if they have grandchildren because often the grandchildren go to the other family's home for the holidays. She enjoys her church where they can get together. They also went to a movie on Thanksgiving Day, and said the early movie was very comfortable.

Maybe I would like to take a hike. Maybe I would like to decorate my house with special gardening ornaments, and have some rosarians visit.

What do you do? I want change. I do not want to live in the past every holiday.

Sammy

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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

We have "church family" that we visit with...one couple hosts a New Year's DAY potluck. That's always a good time.

Antoher fun thing--pile into the car and drive around looking at/for cool Christmas decorations.

Tree decorating parties are fun...we have one of those some years...

As to dinner--I get really yummy sides from Whole Foods...then all I have to do is cook the beef tenderloin. Easy peezy!

melanie

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:24PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Christmas light viewing becomes even MORE enjoyable if one wears special glasses. Link below!

Here is a link that might be useful: Holographic glasses

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:29PM
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rose_nutty(z4b)

Maybe spend the day volunteering at a shelter or children's hospital or veteran's hospital/home? That's something I've always kinda wanted to do, but holidays for me are family times, first and foremost. 'Course my kids are all still at home. Maybe when they are gone, I'll have time to do such things, too. For those days when they ARE with us, though, I can't imagine doing anything different than the old familiar routine. I think it brings comfort to us all - I know I enjoy the old routines when I go home for the holidays with my family.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:45AM
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tandaina(WA (8))

We're a multi religious household so we do things a bit differently than most.

We do our big fancy meal at our house for Solstice. We do it up really, really fancy. ;) That's my sister's big holiday.

Then on Christmas day we go up to my parent's house to celebrate their/my holiday. Since we've already gotten the fancy meal out of the way we just reheat pasties that we'd made earlier and frozen and spend the day playing with gifts. ;) Its fun and relaxing and much nicer now that we're all grown.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 12:51PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Since Mom died we've had to change some traditions. Actually, my sis and I cook more, as you can imagine.

We've enjoyed a fruit and cheese plate - a HUGE one - with different takes on everyone's favorite [vodka chedder, etc] and 4 kinds of pears, etc. That's fun to us 'cos we're all about the food, lol.

My brother is such a movie hound that new movies are always on the agenda now.

Don't know if you'd enjoy it but we always hike our land in the country to collect running cedar and shoot down mistletoe, followed by target shooting. I swear you could do it all day once you try it! The winter wildlife and tracks, dens etc are always exciting to see another year, too.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:11PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

We are older than many of you, and our parents are gone now. I teach school, and it absorbs much of my life since besides teaching we become involved in the problems of the school and the students.

I learned years ago that "I matter". I need to take care of myself, and my pleasures. Gardening is great in most seasons, but these holidays leave me feeling empty. I think that when I retire I might want to volunteer, but since I work with people, and people (kids) who have major needs and problems, my fulfillment needs to be some tradition that is serving me.

I think that a second Christmas Tree might me nice. One that would be decorated with a gardening or rose theme. I wonder what kind of crafts I could make that would look pretty on such a tree.

I need new traditions to look forward to. I think I need to wrap some empty boxes to put under the tree so it will look more festive.

My true answer is to entertain, but after our school parties, I sometimes don't want to be around that many people for awhile.

Just maybe what I want does not exist.

I am fortunate that I do have family, but they live far away, and cannot come home that often. They cannot be the source of my fulfillment anymore. I created a great ambience for us when they were young. Now we need change.

I appreciate your suggestions. Feel free to add others, no telling what it is that I am looking for.

Sammy

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:25PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Every year at this time I want to rant about holidays. It just dosen't make sense to me that we have allowed "them" to turn something so beautiful into another source of stress. I agree with Sammy that this should be a time to be good to one's self.

I try to get together with family members and friends prior to the holiday. Everything should be informal and easy. I don't buy any gifts except for DW. She refuses my suggestion that we stop buying for each other. She buys gifts for 40 people and turns herself into a complete raving maniac each year. She admits it, but feels she must. Christmas shopping should be banned.

Trying to find old friends with whom I have lost contact is my tradition. Every now and then I find some old high school friends and arrange a simple date for a drink. Its fun and easy. Completely stress free since I have reached an age where no one expects me to be any more than the @$$#*!% I always was.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 8:01AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

"I have reached an age where no one expects me to be any more than the @$$#*!% I always was."
Harry, that's me all year round, not only Christmas.
We always try to go to Tanglewood, a huge light and silouette display. Other than that, get together with families. It would be nice to find something that inspired me. Maybe volunteering at the soup kitchen.
Something I've thought of, driving through a black neighborhood and handing out toys. Sadly, these days I might get shot! I do know two little boys who are black/white and I'm going to get them some toys.

Carla

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:43AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

There is a street near us that goes overboard with the lights, decorations, and scenes, so we always make a point of driving down that street at least once around Christmas. It's best late at night, maybe after seeing a movie or a play, when the crowd is gone.

It's also fun to go downtown just about 4:30 and see the tall Christmas trees in the lobbies of all the big office buildings. Follow up with a quick dinner or browse a bookstore and grab a cup of coffee, linger at a table just yakking.

Is there live theater in your area? Symphony or other concerts? It's always a treat to me to get out to see live entertainment. There are several seasonal shows to choose from here, The Grinch, The Nutcracker ballet, usually a rendition of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and a chorale performance of The Messiah. Plus lots of other plays and concerts to choose from.

In 2005, for Thanksgiving we drove to the Grand Canyon and hiked to the bottom and back out again as a day hike. I have to say it was one of the nicest Thanksgivings ever, such wonderful atmosphere at the national parks during the holidays.

If you do your second tree specially decorated, you'll have to show it off -- why not an open house, just for your neighbors? Light hors d'oeuvres and some punch or hot cider are all you need provide, the conversation and conviviality is the main attraction, and it's a nice way to get to know those folks better who you just wave at as you come and go.

A friend of mine never cooks on Christmas. She makes the turkey or whatever the day before, then everyone comes over with a dish and they set up a buffet mid-day. No fuss, no muss, no formality. You can really get off the hook if you buy one of those pre-sliced hams: Unwrap, serve. Ta da!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 1:28PM
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labrea_gw

THERE is a family get together at a restaurant this Sunday 30 people usually my basic family with cousins different cousins invited every year. No clean up, no gifts exchanged, no stress just show up eat go home. Sounds bloodless in the long run we are all adults no young children too ooh adn ahh with so what else does there have to be except somthing to eat and a few laughs.
I like to go to the train show each year at the Botanical Gardens and Edds a Quaker they don't do anything special for Christams!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 7:10PM
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cecily(7 VA)

We enjoy attending the NC Symphony holiday pops concert - there is a Christmas carol sing-along. Singing carols makes me happy. We also hike on New Year's Day, hiking in the silent woods is an antidote to holiday bustle. In some areas the Audubon Society does a bird count, that would be another good outdoor activity. It wouldn't feel like Christmas without cookies, you could bake a batch and freeze some or mail them to your kids (if you dare brave the post office).

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 8:44AM
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sylviatexas1

Last year my relatives were all sick or mad at each other, & my friends, although a couple generously invited me, have their own traditions:

I felt like I would have been constrained & uncomfortable, & they probably would have been, too.

So I got a couple of books & a couple of movies, played with the dogs, played in the garden, & ate a traditional Christmas dinner (2 eggs over easy, crispy hash browns, 2 slices of bacon, toast) at a nearby Waffle House, the only place open in my part of town.

I got lucky.

#1: It was the most peaceful, enjoyable Christmas I can remember.

#2: During a lull, one of the waitresses stuck a quarter in the jukebox, handed out coffee re-fills, & sang & danced with Aretha, "Natural Woman", inviting diners to sing along...& some of them did!

(Generous tips are appreciated at any time, but people who serve me when everybody else has the day off deserve a little more, I think.)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 12:53PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

You have all had very good ideas. I think my solution is to spend very little time in the kitchen, and to plan some activities that we can look forward to.

I need to pursue the garden theme tree, and consider having some friends in at different times to enjoy the holidays with me.

My husband is very content, and doesn't need to change anything. He watches ball games and I act like a maid and cook. This Christmas he will prepare a rib roast dinner, and I will do something satisfying --out of the kitchen almost anything can be satisfying.

I need to get outside at least an hour a day regardless of how cold it is. I love the outside, and hate winter. I need to walk, wander, sit in the cold and dream -- just do something.

I need to make some decorations. I need to make some rose garlands to use all over the house.

My yard could benefit with even a half hour of work a day, and that could make me feel better. Rose garlands?? Hmmm.

Sammy

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 9:43PM
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