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Alternatives to traditional Christmas

(45 Posts)
grannyactivist Mon 23-Oct-17 16:24:52

I am a real traditionalist when it comes to Christmas Day; I love the candle-lit church service, the traditional meal, the family gathering etc., but on occasions we've done something alternative just to try different ways of doing things. One year we had Christmas lunch at an hotel - never again. One time we went to the beach and played games, we had turkey soup and homemade bread for lunch with mince pies and hot toddies - wonderful. One of our most memorable Christmas Days was going for a picnic out on the local moors and tramping for miles in the countryside. But the hands-down favourite was hiring a cabin in Norway, cutting our own Christmas tree, making our own decorations and enjoying a Scandinavian Christmas with delightful friends who included us in their traditional outdoor Christmas festivities. My (adult) heartwarming to see them do so.

What alternatives have you tried, or what would you like to try?

Luckygirl Mon 23-Oct-17 16:47:43

For many years we stuck to the same rituals - woe betide us if we varied one jot! - the children just wanted their traditions, valued them and loved them.

However, they have started to create their own traditions now, which is lovely - and we are included in them.

When I was a child we lived near the sea and we used to go and walk along the beach every Christmas morning. Often there was snow; more so than now.

Your trips sound lovely - especially Norway - but these things are a bit problematical for us now. We just take delight in our wonderful family. That will do for us - we count ourselves lucky to have them and that they welcome us so wholeheartedly.

Witzend Sun 26-Nov-17 10:03:51

I hosted Christmas for many years, but last year there were 4 extra from the US - 12 of us in all - so in order that nobody would have a long drive and no alcohol on the day, we rented a big house - we and my 2 siblings shared the cost. It was actually a converted pub! - near the sea in Devon.

It was a bit of a headache remembering everything we had to take - no shops anywhere near - but we divvied it all up and it worked very well - we had it for a week.

One year when dds were still students we had a week in Cuba - which was just beginning to get going tourism-wise. At the time it was relatively cheap for a long haul holiday at Christmas. Both dds were studying Spanish so they got plenty of practice, too.
We enjoyed it, but I do prefer being at home, Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve and all that...

As for Christmas dinner at a restaurant or hotel, have never done it and would never want to. SO expensive always, and no leftovers to eat up for the next few days!
I have never minded cooking Christmas dinner - I have always rather enjoyed it.

Teetime Sun 26-Nov-17 10:37:58

We are fairly tradtional here but I have always fancied going to Barbados for Christmas and enjoying a party on the plane. I think the price would be eye watering - daren't look!

downtoearth Sun 26-Nov-17 12:59:21

I have always hosted christmas ..on two ocassions meals out which whete not worth the price paid or the anticipation of the meal....this year we are going to a Russian restaurant nearby hosted and cooked by the Russian lady who owns it...we have eaten there before and love the atmosphere so we know 3rd time lucky.

Anniebach Sun 26-Nov-17 13:11:10

We use to be ten, eight family and two guests who would be alone, the numbers have dwindled sadly

ginny Sun 26-Nov-17 17:31:15

We love all our traditions. Between us we make most of our festive fare. A resturant Christmas dinner doesn’t really appeal.
I have sometimes thought it would be nice to go to a ‘country house ‘ Christmas as long as we could take all the family.

grannyactivist Sun 26-Nov-17 17:36:56

Oops! I obviously didn't proof read the opening post. I think I meant to say that it's heartwarming that our adult children have enjoyed our traditions and are now making their own.

Humbertbear Sun 26-Nov-17 18:09:53

Our DS and DiL have developed their own traditions which don’t include us so we always hire a Cottage somewhere near the sea for Christmas week and see them all when we get back. Our new tradition includes lots of champagne and little cooking. One year we spent the day watching Criminal Minds.

Day6 Sun 26-Nov-17 18:56:50

Last year we hosted the whole extended family on Christmas Day and some stayed over until Boxing Day. I felt I missed out on the best bits because OH and I were in the kitchen preparing food, cooking, serving and clearing up for much of the time and although I loved having all the family together, we both sat down exhausted when everyone had left after two days and said in unison "Never again!" It was expensive too. Everyone said afterwards how they enjoyed themselves so it was worth the effort but I can honestly say it wasn't something I'd want to do again. I like the idea of hiring a cottage, bringing a big shepherd's pie and veg with us and lots of wine, walking on Christmas morning and warming up the food later to carols, whilst imbibing and enjoying favourite DVDs after lunch.

I do like a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings though and I like to be with family as well.

maryeliza54 Sun 26-Nov-17 23:04:22

I’ve had Christmases in New Zealand, Provence and best of all Mexico. All involved staying with families who lived in those countries so we had all their traditions which was really wonderful. Now with the dgc we want to be here for a traditional Christmas

silverlining48 Mon 27-Nov-17 09:49:16

Rented a house by the sea with extended family ( in laws) for a week. It went reasonanly well for the most part but havnt Repeated since.

Greyduster Mon 27-Nov-17 10:12:01

Christmas in the Far East was always weird. Everyone wanted to do the traditional Christmas dinner, but it was sweltering so we all wanted to be sitting by the pool too! Santa arrived in a helicopter wearing the familiar outfit but with red shorts and sun glasses. Well. Why not indeed?
One year, on our Christmas Eve, we were invited to eat a traditional Christmas meal with Danish friends - pickled herring and schnapps, gorgeous meatballs and all sorts of other things I can’t remember the names of but ate with gusto. Not a slice of turkey in sight!

goose1964 Mon 27-Nov-17 10:32:21

one year we did peking duck with the pancakes it was great fun

kazziecookie Mon 27-Nov-17 10:35:51

I have a guest house I work hard all through the summer (7 days a week) I spend several weeks over Christmas in Lanzarote and have done for the past 6 years. Brilliant, I love it.
We visit our families and exchange presents before we go.

SillyNanny321 Mon 27-Nov-17 10:55:40

Our best Christmas was when my lovely DM & DD hosted Christmas dinner for 17 people. The pasting table serving as an extra dinner table kept threatening to collapse everyone had fits of gigles when DM realised that she had forgotten to set a place for herself. A really lovely time for family & close friends that we love to remember now that DM & DD are no longer with us.

Quietdragon Mon 27-Nov-17 11:16:23

I do love a traditional Christmas.My sister and I take it in turns to cook Christmas dinner for all (about 16).We did try a local pub one year but despite good reviews it was horrid!

I love grannyactivist's Christmas day idea;Going to the beach and playing games,with turkey soup, homemade bread, mince pies and hot toddies -sounds like heaven!

Farrsan2003 Mon 27-Nov-17 12:02:47

Couple of years ago we rented a beautiful old house on a cliff in West Wales for a family Christmas - sixteen of us including children and grandchildren and my two dogs. We had an amazing time with beach walks and everyone helping with the cooking. My two grandsons will remember it as being very special all their lives.

quizqueen Mon 27-Nov-17 12:19:28

We lived in America for 3 years and the first Christmas there we had no friends and no relations to visit us so we took the children to Disneyland. Although they both have always loved Disney and we have been many times to different theme parks, that has convinced them that they always want a stay at home traditional family Christmas!

lovebeigecardigans1955 Mon 27-Nov-17 12:50:54

As there was only two of us we often had something different like salmon or partridge for lunch. When we lived by the sea we actually went down to the beach on Christmas Day to watch hardier souls go in for the annual swim. Brrgh!
If you wondered what Father Christmas does after he's delivered presents all around the world he could be seen enjoying a jet-ski, still in his red and white outfit and waving to the crowd. A sight I shall never forget.
The promenade was heaving with happy souls and we queued up for an ice cream just because we could.

annifrance Mon 27-Nov-17 13:07:31

On the beach in Sri Lanka was a welcome change. I love the traditional Christmas , it was usually me that did it for many years. Loved it but exhausting. A bit lower key here in France, the last time i did the full on whole family do was 7 years ago. Two hyper 2 1/2 year olds and a six month old baby, who was ill, and 6 adults. It involved 2 cars doing the 4 hour round trip to the airport each end of the week. Despite having cooked and frozen all meals and lots of help from OH, it was non stop!! Loved it all but it took us three days to recover! I haven't rushed to repeat it. I now go to England where I do the cooking but a little less exhausting. We will probably do it again when the DGCs are a bit older.

Sheilasue Mon 27-Nov-17 13:11:22

Always the same tradition for a number of years then we went for a Christmas meal one year with my d and her partner and his parents I really enjoyed it but h wasn’t so keen. He doesn’t have to cook.
Now I go to my d and we take the turkey and a few other things and she does all the veg.
We play board games and my gd loves the fun

nipsmum Mon 27-Nov-17 14:28:37

My younger daughter has taken over doing Christmas lunch for 8. I did it until she got married and had children, then she took over the tradition. I do help out by doing starters and dessert, and helping with prep on the day. My Dil and his mum do the clearing up and loading and he dishwasher. It works well and no one ends up exhausted.

mumofmadboys Mon 27-Nov-17 14:31:47

When our five children were small we used to have our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. This worked well for us as my DH was a vicar and was busy on Christmas morning. It enabled me to play with the boys and their new toys without trying to combine cooking as well and if the kids ate chocolate all morning it didn't really matter! We all went to the morning service.We then walked in the countryside on Christmas afternoon. After 3 years of this the boys decided they would prefer the main meal on Christmas Day so we have done that since.

HannahLoisLuke Mon 27-Nov-17 14:54:45

After doing the traditional at home Christmas with all the family coming to us, we had lunch at a lovely restaurant one year which was bliss for me, no cooking, washing up etc.
Another year we went to Thailand with friends. Lovely holiday but not Christmas Another year we borrowed a large farmhouse on a fabulous estate at Stokenchurch ( no name, no pack drill) with all the family and it was one of the best Christmases ever, lasting several days.
Since then, and now separated and living in a small house, my daughters and married granddaughter have taken over and we spend it at one of theirs and it's always lovely.