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30 December 2016


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Kate Cousino

"Every year we leave town, leave our lovely parish where my sons serve and my daughter sings in the choir, and I find myself at Christmas Day mass at a strange parish with unfamiliar music set to unfamiliar drums"

My mother is very insistent that Christmas and Easter are holidays that are best spent with the people you travelled through Advent and Lent with. She set the precedent of an at-home Christmas with her inlaws and family, and made it easy for us kids to escape the weight of holiday obligation. I'm truly grateful for this--as an introvert and an easily overwhelmed ADHD-type, a holiday spent travelling and being on display in other people's parishes and homes sounds pretty miserable to me!

Melanie B

So much of this resonates in different ways. I don't think I saw your previous post and that hit home too. I'm definitely not a gift-giving kind of person. I do not not not like giving gifts to people I don't know well enough to get the perfect gift for.

And also my introversion kicks in and Christmas visiting makes me so stressed. I spent all of boxing day hiding in my room binge watching netflix and making the kids fend for themselves while I recharged and recovered from the stress.

I loved Christmas as a child because we didn't have relatives to go visit. It was just our family and presents from Santa. The only part I dreaded was going to back school and all the other kids would have long lists of all the cool things they got and, well, our family did Epiphany so I got all my cool presents long after everyone else had stopped thinking about Christmas.

We don't have an obligation to travel long distance, since my in-laws are all local, but we do have to make an appearance at the family thing every year and that stresses me out and I hate it. Our first two years of marriage we went to Texas because I couldn't deal with Christmas anywhere but my childhood home and Midnight Mass at my childhood parish. (We actually had our first argument about it as I'd assumed we'd go to Texas and Dom hadn't and I was pregnant and the thought of not being there was just more than I could take.) Eventually we had too many kids to make going to Texas at Christmas really feasible; but by then I was ok with staying here because the logistics were stressful.

I really wish we didn't have to go do the social thing on Christmas Day, though. I'd prefer to stay home and put on my pajamas and read a book with Christmas carols playing in the background. Or maybe play a game with the kids or watch a movie. I dread dressing up and packing all the tired kids into the car to be overwhelmed by Big Fat Italian Family Fun. So many many people. And so many presents.

I opted out of giving obligatory presents after our first Christmas as a couple, though. Dom had lost his job right after Bella was born and we had barely enough money to get a tiny tree and give something little to Bella and a token gift to each other. I think I got him gloves that he needed. So none of the inlaws complained and I felt free to never go back to obligatory social gift giving. While they may think nasty thoughts about my non-gift-giving, I guess I can live with that. We don't give gifts to extended family and I try really hard not to roll my eyes when I get gifts that I think are useless and silly wastes of space and money.

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