Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Only available from a supermarket

Hello. Have you got over it yet? I think what this Christmas has shown is that I am an oddball in my family, I am different, not the same as them. I live my life differently to them. The real meaning of Christmas is long gone, and now it's only available from a supermarket.

Most people are not interested in saving the planet, of reducing their waste, and thinking about what will be left for future generations. The destruction of the earth is tragic, it's unfolding every day of our lives, right in front of us, and people can't see it.

My eating and drinking habits are moderate, everything in moderation. I don't like crowds and loud noise, I like space around me, and interesting conversations with people I can hear. Any noisy place is very unpleasant for me,  all I can think about is escaping. I can stand it for so long then something snaps, I have to go.

My family was kind enough to invite me. I had long forgotten what a family Christmas was like, now I am reminded that it is noisy, so I shall go back to staying at home. I like my home, it's peaceful.


I listened to the whole three hours of the gentle music I posted yesterday, it's lovely and soothing. Here I am listening to it again. I think I shall be having more of this type of music on in the background in future.

I've been watching some Rick Parfitt videos, wasn't he a genius guitarist ? Been reading about George Michael. Such tragedies that they have gone too soon. If only they hadn't done the drink and drugs. If only.

I'll get off now. This week is in no mans land, one big day gone and another in a few days. I like New Year better than Christmas. Love a new start, a brand spanking fresh new year with lots to look forward to.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

PS. This post has been edited by the Administrator at 23.40 on 28th December.

93 comments:

  1. Both my children live in the UK my son had Christmas with his wife's family 20 of them including children , daughter spent it with her in-laws after all some one had to cook the lunch . I miss seeing my children and my grandchildren but the thought of spending the day with a house full of screaming children and adults eating and drinking too much fills me with horror . Hubby and I had a nice meal watched a bit of tv we had a quiet day which suited us .
    Happy New year

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  2. "The real meaning of Christmas is long gone"--how true for most people. Now it's all about gifts and food. Sad. DM

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  3. Thankfully our friend's kids are older and quieter. We had a nice lunch and came home. I think Mom wishes we would do more but the holidays are so commercial and without good will. It is after all just another day, week and month out of the year. Ana USA

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  4. Well said, Ilona. Those of us who treasure peacefulness and calmness find it very difficult to be in the midst of crowds, noise and chaos. You do well to choose exactly how you want to live your life, every day of the year, including Christmas. Patricia, Montreal.

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  5. Snap! I cannot bear the excesses of Christmas either. a quiet one for me with my 2 cats. I never tell anyone I'm going to be alone as when I do I get 'The Look'. Sort of a mixture of pity and envy and shall we invite her to ours!

    At least you weren't at this idiot woman's house

    http://www.channel5.com/show/xmas-excess-parents-splash-the-cash

    This is the woman who last year posted a pic of her tree dwarfed by presents, she's done the same this year! I also get annoyed with the Pope wittering on about the true meaning of Christmas and humility etc. Great advice from a man who is head of the richest state in Europe.

    I love New Year as well - a fresh start for me too. More animals, domestic and wild to save and cherish and no doubt more poor homeless people who just need a leg up.

    I wish you and your brood a very happy "Amazing" New Year.

    Linda xx

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    1. Linda, thank you for this: we watch very little tv. I could only watch the first half and had to stop; the ludicrous woman with the 300 presents for her family, and the couple with children in a castle made me feel very ill indeed. Talk about avarice and setting a poor example to their offspring. I realise that it is their money and they are entitled to do with it exactly how they want - but really! I may have to have jaw surgery as mine dropped to the floor (joke). Amanda

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    2. Linda Kennedy

      I, too, have often "wondered" abut this..

      " I also get annoyed with the Pope wittering on about the true meaning of Christmas and humility etc. Great advice from a man who is head of the richest state in Europe."

      that, and the VERY pricey churches he puts up, etc..

      somehow, it seems very wrong to me.

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    3. I steeled myself and watched the whole wretched episode. Don't view it Ilona. Or perhaps do, to see what an appalling waste of time, effort and money was spent: you will make your mind up. Apart from the 2 families who totally over-indulged their children, I was pleased that the woman with her dog Lucy hosted a 'party' for rescue dogs but admitted she had spent £2000 on a bed for her beloved pet Lucy - I wanted to shout 'the dog Lucy has a good enough bed, give the £2000 to the rescue dog home instead'. Their money, their choice: what a terribly missed opportunity. Just my opinion. Amanda

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  6. I think that Christmas is what you make it - and to each their own. I come from a large family and as a kid it was great - but I admit that as I got older it was so much more chaotic and loud! Because I am single I was always the one expected to travel because the rest had kids - not an unreasonable request, just wish I'd been made a bit more welcome - as a singleton I often felt as though I was being tolerated rather than welcomed.
    Since getting older I am finally able to have Christmas my way - I like cooking and baking and having company - but in small doses. This way I get to enjoy being with friends and family and actually getting to visit and chat and catch up. We've al mostly cut out or at least seriously cut back on gift giving (when I do give it tends to be either an experience or consumables), and since most of us already have enough stuff, it works out well and those gifts are appreciated.
    My friends enjoy a nice meal but over indulging has taken a back seat to simply enjoying a plate of well prepared food and while my friends and I enjoy a glass or two of wine, no one overdoes it and no one I know would think of driving drunk - thank God!
    I think I've finally found the right balance for me - and I feel neither embarrassed nor guilty about how I celebrate - and I think that's a stage we should all be allowed to reach in our own time.
    Have a lovely, quiet week Ilona and a very Happy NY.

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    1. Sounds like you have got it just right, Margie. Happy New Year.

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  7. I'm with you on most of that. I drink when I want to and choose the people I want to see. For the most part Christmas is an obscene orgy of overspending and over indulging, but you can make it what you want to be and ignore the rest, the kids may not like the lack of expensive electronics but it is your Christmas, your way.
    M J Norfolk

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  8. sorry it wasn't what you enjoy. I don't much like too much noise either. we went to my brothers yesterday and some of his family were there. when it became too much, I had the excuse that I wasn't feeling too grand , so we came home to sit in the quiet. I love them all dearly, but in small doses.

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    1. Know what you mean, Brenda. Too many people too overwhelming. Visit's spread out over the whole year is better than a massive get together on one day.

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  9. You're certainly not alone in this thinking Ilona; we (all adults admittedly) had a calm lunch with a few drinks and did this old-fashioned thing called 'talk'; no mobile phones going bonkers, no blaring tv: it was wonderful. You will do what makes you happy in future years, which is exactly what should happen. It is sad about Rick Parfitt and George Michael, I'm not judging their lifestyles as it's up to them and am unsure of the causes, but neither were 'old'. I agree that this week is a 'flat' week and I always look forward with optimism to the new year. Amanda

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  10. I agree. My husband and I had Christmas day alone. He had a duck crown (I don't eat meat so I had just vegetables). Then we watched the Queen and a bit of telly. I have not been feeling to good. Had a sore throat and a cough for 2 weeks so I went to bed early. My daughter and grandson came up on Friday. They don't eat meat either so be had a quiche and baked potatoes. My son,his wife and my other grandson come tomorrow so it will be a roast and a nice pudding. I have given the grownups money and bought the little one some cheap toys. He doesn't want much and they only get broken anyway.
    So that's Christmas over thank God. I didn't even get to church this year as I wasn't feeling up to it.
    I went to Tescos this money and people were still spending like no tomorrow.
    I think you should continue to live your life how you want. You are not so far wrong. It is those others.
    Happy new year from Hilary in Hunstanton.

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    1. Hi Hilary, good to hear from you. Quiche and baked potatoes, very nice. Happy New Year.

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  11. Well, I have kids, and we celebrate Christmas rather fully, according to us, in any case, but I hear you on this. I tell my kids, with thw exception of their school concerts,
    Advent and Christmas aren't the times to plan anything, as my answer will be "no." I don't like a lot of chaos and running to and fro in the best of times, let alone during this season. They know when they have their own homes, that while welcome here, they are free to, in fact encouraged to start their own traditions, but Dad and I are staying put. I really can't think of anything worse on Christmas than having to pack up, and go socialize inside another's home. I don't believe in pressuring people to abide by our traditions, and I don't like feeling pressured myself. Glad you are back in your comfort zone.

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  12. Oh my goodness Ilona we could have written your post for you today. After a lovelt quiet lunch with our grown up daughter and SIL, we were "persuaded" to go over to her in-laws. We had to leave after an hour for all the reasons you stated above. Next year, all being well, we will stay at home where, even though we are thought of as strange, we will be quite content. Catriona

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    1. Hi Catriona, I could have managed an hour or two, but eight hours, oh my word!

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  13. You are describing me to a t when you talk about being an odd one in your family and making different choices. I wish you a wonderful New Year and look forward to your blog. Cheers from Florida.

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  14. Thank you for your wonderful words. The next time my sister or others, who say they don't understand why I prefer quiet and moderation, I'm going to give her/them a copy of your brilliant essay. Happy New Year, dear Ilona. I know that's what you'll have because you make it. Bless you. Elaine near Philadelphia

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  15. This year, as last, me, hubby and our two boys were at home by ourselves. I don't think children should be dragged off at silly o'clock to spend time at other houses; Christmas should be at home. We did it once but I don't intend to do it again. I have two sisters who never spend Christmas together and I am over all the noise caused by more than the four of us. The most important people to me are me and my three, though that may sound callous especially as my mother is elderly and declining into dementia. We have our traditions as a family and I love cooking, baking and decorating the house, for us! Plus we live in Wales which is 4 hours and some from most of our family. We love living where we are so much that we are happy to have visitors but we would rather be here and nowhere else at any time. We treat our boys well at Christmas but they also understand the value of things and money so appreciate everything they get. There, that is my festive ramble.

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    1. Thank you Louise, ramble all you like. Your house sounds like a happy house.

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  16. Thankfully there is a happy medium between a solitary Christmas and a giant mad frenzy.

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  17. For us it's a time when we all have time off together, and had great fun playing board games - I thoroughly recommend "Rapidough" to get everyone joining in and laughing. There were presents but mostly useful things, and I am grateful that when it gets too noisy for me I can just go and chill in another room without anyone getting annoyed. Perhaps it's because we've been separated by many miles on previous years that we now really appreciate time spent together? But each to his own, and I know that there will be a time when my Christmas Day may well be spent on my own and enjoyed in a different way. Do what makes you happy Ilona!

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  18. Hi Wellesley. Got your comment, thanks. Don't know why you bothered to write it because it's crap. Bog off, you are not getting published, it has gone in the trash can. Lots of love xxx

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    1. Oh, and another thing troll, you're a liar as well.

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    2. Meanqueen...

      I have not seen any of these comments you are commenting / deleting,
      but am sad to hear someone is being nasty. Especially at this time of the year.

      Wanted to let you know I appreciate your blog, your diversity, and enjoy reading it.

      Have a good season.

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    3. Hi Anon. The troll did pay a visit to this post with a nasty comment. Another name was used, but same style of writing, said things they have said before.

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    4. Sorry to hear that, Meanqueen.....

      Odd, isn't it, how some folks can only think of nasty things. I suspect this person is rather sad and lonely, and it is their way of making themselves "feel important"....

      I am glad you did not give their words "space" here....

      Have known a few folks in "real life" like this too....

      Guess it is just part of humanity...

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    5. If anyone is nasty to me, I say to them, (because I feel this comment really sums up the why of someone being nasty) .....I am sorry you see me as a mirror for your own inadequacies and small mindedness.

      Because usually when someone belittles you, it's because they see something in you that makes them feel small and not enough...you would think people would be beyind trolling now....I thought we'd moved in from third grade bitchiness.

      You're fab!

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  19. well I had an okay day, my preference would be not to cook, with a few chocs, a quiche and salad and maybe a baileys in a rural warm house with no neighbours, no sport on etc. At the moment though I am unemployed and jobhunting so this week is just an extension of the normal being at home, frustrated because everything stops and cannot job hunt, had to get up to cook turkey everyone else stayed in bed till about 10.15am, nice present opening and dinner, son and partner washed up and tv and chocs in the afternoon, nice walk on boxing day, so overall yes a good xmas, and not spent too much, but just want to get back to it now, which people think strange, if I was full time I would appreciate the time off more, but hey ho. another year over and done with, with images of the woman in morrisons on her hands and knees chucking the trifles this way and that to get to the back to get the latest dates, ruining the ones at the front, that will stay with me for a while. I really must make sure I get what I need online next time. happy new year folks Julie T

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    1. Hi Julie. That's something I get a bit miffed with. The period between Christmas and New year when it isn't clear which places are open and which are closed. Shutting up shop for two weeks or more is very disruptive for those who want to go about their normal business. I hope you find a job when everyone is back to work.

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    2. Thanks Ilona :) have one definite interview in a couple of weeks, weirdly as admin to a project to get hard to reach people back into work, think ive had enough practice to help them out, another few going through so fingers crossed ill get sorted soon, partner found it strange that I was sorting my cleaning cupboard out on boxing day, just so I can say to myself ive done something productive that day, when your at home all the time, sitting around watching tv for any length of time is not fun for me, I rarely have the tv on during the day anyway on a normal day. really haven't felt very xmassy at all this year sadly. We are not too bad but when you see the overspend, sales, food etc, for people with not a lot of money its really hard for them. my kids had about 100 pound on each spent on presents, nothing was expensive gadgets, stuff they needed and they were quite happy, with enough to open and most of what was on their lists, no debts here at all, just how we like it. I do read your blog most days as well as frugal queens, to see what your up to, love the creative stuff and cant believe you have all done so well with your walking. wishing you well Julie T

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  20. Understand completely...

    Sometimes we do spend with "family" , often not. And are quite content when "not".

    I wonder if you have any relatives who feel as you do, and might appreciate a modest quiet Christmas day? (or a friend or two)...If I was on my own, I think I would give some thought to that avenue...As it is, I am not alone, so it is not an issue for me.. (I am thinking I would not much like to be alone on this day)

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    1. Hi. I do have some more relatives. I was hoping to pay them a visit on the way back, but it was too late. Another date will be arranged.

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  21. Another problem I have (personally) when spending Christmas or any event with scads of family or friends..

    I am seriously allergic (to the point of passing out) to quite a few things...
    the worst being Ponsetta Plants, others are any sort of fragrance/perfume/many chemicals etc..

    it is easy enough to ask ahead if they have any Ponsetta Plants to please put them in a upstairs bedroom, etc, and all have obliged, but the matter of fragrances/perfumes/scented lotions/deodrants etc, is much more difficult. I have only my immediate family and one relative who do understand how ill this makes me, but others do not. And, relatives or friends of folks hosting these events are almost guaranteed to show up with something "strong" on...

    Last group event I was standing sort of leaning up against a couch, my back to the couch/person sitting on it. It was a bit of a close thing, as lucky my son walked up and said, "Mom, you look about ready to pass out, you need to go outside"..(which I did). Somehow the person's perfume sort of snuck up on me, and I didn't feel well at all. Had to eat dinner at the same table with them, and so forth. I made frequent trips outside. It is a very awkward situation, as I dearly love these hosts, but they honestly do not understand that the perfume a guest of theirs wears (a much loved relative also) could cause such trouble.

    These sort of things make it much easier to not be with the group...

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    1. I had the same thing when I was out yesterday. Someone walked past me, smothered in scent..I wanted to barf. Can't stand that fake stuff people drip themselves in...why do they do it?

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    2. Frugal in the Valley..

      all I can say, is folks who do this seem to genuinely enjoy the "smell", and must believe it makes the "attractive" etc..

      Last year was a really bad time with the one guest with a LOT of perfume on..It makes me very cautious about accepting an invite (although I love / enjoy the couple) to that family group again. I don't know if there is anyway I can determine if that person would be there again. (and asking the person to not wear these things is likely hopeless)

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  22. Hi Ilona i despaired a long time ago of the way things are going in this world, i live in a city(across the bridge) but fortunately have quiet neighbours. Everything you say makes sense but unfortunately others seem hell bent on ruining the planet, this beautiful place we live is being destroyed a little at a time.

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    1. It's heartbreaking, Ray. The human race will eventually be wiped out.

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  23. Our Christmases are just getting simpler and simpler and more and more enjoyable. We celebrate with my elderly parents and our daughter We start with mass on Christmas Eve and a lunch the following day. Our dinner this year was a selection of our favourite dishes that were simple to prepare and delicious to eat. There was no Christmas pudding or other heavy foods but we did have a magnificent platter of fresh fruits in festive colours and some very delicious walnut bread and biscuits. The gift giving was simple too. One present for each person. Our daughter gave us movie tickets and tickets to an exhibition. We also received tickets to a show later in the year. Just perfect. My Christmases now are a far cry from those spent years ago flying from one family to another in heavy traffic feeling stressed and on the edge of exploding. No more rushing around buying gifts for people who made me feel that they were expecting more than they got or slaving away in the kitchen preparing foods that weren't to everyones taste and left me feeling that I hadn't done a good enough job. Oh, I am so much happier now. Happy New Ilona and to all your followers.

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    1. Sounds lovely. Happy New year to you and your family.

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  24. I'm rather in agreement this year! I hate having to endure family I don't see all year just because it's Christmas - this year we escaped and had 4 nights away in a cottage without wifi so it was a fuss-free, family free festive break!

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    1. Sounds like bliss, Louise. A good idea.

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    2. Ooh I like the sound of that! We just like it simple and look forward to it getting simpler and simpler, but enjoy it whilst my boys ouryoung. My husband said yesterday something which I totally agree with which is Christmas is a lot about the anticipation. Rambling again.

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  25. We spent Christmas at home with your new rescue cat for her first xmas with us. Lovely, peaceful and gentle.

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  26. I'm not sure you are an oddball. A lot of people do not like Christmas for the same reasons you give. I think we sometimes pretend to like that type of celebration in order to fit in and keep everyone happy, but the reality is many people are relieved when its all over.

    I had a quiet Christmas this year for the first time in years and I thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely did not break the bank.

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  27. I hear you and I support you. I loved the carols by candlelight my mum and daughter and I went to. I loved the moderate, unfussy lunch we shared along with my dad as well. That's all that happened, no drinking, no toys, some reiki music in the background, perfect. I am so happy that you believe in yourself. You are certainly my inspiration. My 13 yo also loves your videos, I played one yesterday for her and she was very interested. She also said she loved your accent.

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    1. Hi. My videos seem to be gaining in popularity, views are up and someone has asked for more. Haven't done any for ages, will have to get started again. Best wishes to your daughter.

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    2. I could have written this post also. I am also seen as an oddball as I have refused to be a lemming and do what everyone else wants to do. I still feel we spent too much money this year ( luckily we don't do credit and all was accounted for)on presents so will look at this for next year.

      It is difficult when there are young grandchildren to buy for. I stopped the adult buying some years ago and that went down like a lead balloon but the expectations for expensive presents was becoming very stressful.

      Dread going back to work to listen to people going on about what they have had etc, trying to outdo each other every years. Roll on retirement in 3 years.

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  28. You never try to be someone your not that's what I love about you xx

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  29. Hello!! Christmas is like marmite...you either love it or hate it...I don't drink or smoke so its just sitting there while everyone gets pissed & trying look interesting...I am glad when its over, really.I like the fairy lights, the carols, Christmas trees, and the idea of xmas, but in practice, its a sressfull bind...bring on the new year!!

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    1. You make me laugh, dean, you tell it like it is. I agree, some bits of Christmas are nice.

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  30. We should start a "quiet Christmas club" and for 2017 exchange ideas on how to inform our families of our wishes without hurting feelings. Insisting on not giving or getting gifts. Light eating and drinking. No driving on packed roads to visit family which could be much better done in the summer, and sharing a meal half way between homes at a nice restaurant (not expensive) where everyone orders one plate and no liquor as everyone is driving. Usually two hours is enough for everyone. Those with small children will be excused earlier if needed.

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    1. Hi tana. Hurt feelings can be a problem. There's no guarantee that someone won't be offended. Can cause big eruptions.

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  31. I've read it auntie...

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  32. Agree wholeheartedly with your comments Ilona. Christmas isn't bought in a store

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  33. Oh your xmas sounds just like mine. House full of noisy people, TV on the whole time, people eating and drinking far too much and my lovely relative trying so hard to make a really impressive xmas dinner that it was cold by the time it was served up (she flatly refused all offers of help)
    I have already booked next xmas away in a lovely national trust cottage. My family are lovely but the excess and the noise really stress me out. Happy new year Ilona. Ruth x

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  34. I've also read it aunty.
    I feel disappointed That you feel like this.
    It's only one day per year of indulgence, and togetherness, a kind of end of year treat for all the hard work we have done throughout the year just in order to pay the bills each month, life is tough and the cost of living a a constant worry for most.
    I do agree with the view that Xmas has become far to commercial and and people do spend stupid money on it but it's kind of the way of today's world times change and you must change with them else get left behind.
    We just want our kids to enjoy their lives and have the things we didn't have when we were kids.
    For me Xmas is not about recieving gifts, it's the joy on the faces of others that you blow away with a meaningful, thoughtfull gift that brings total endearment to the hearts of the ones closest to me.
    2 people out of 3 at out Xmas morning ceremony shed tears for this reason.
    It's time to be with family and friends, when so many gather in one place and kids are involved of course there is chaos, I also get overwhelmed with too much chaos in many different settings but when it's your family and the offspring of the kids you used to enjoy bringing gifts for, and seeing their little faces light up just because you were there was a feeling you used to enjoy!!!
    It's just the same now only you are older and enjoy calm surroundings, that happens to all of us me included as we age, but for one day embrace the moment and enjoy being with the people that you used to enjoy spending Xmas with every year. People. May change may be different and share different views but we should not grow apart as we grow older we should stick together and look after each other despite and difference, after all we are family and that should come first!!
    You know who I am.

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    1. Thank you for that, it's a lot to think about. I won't reply in full here as this is not the place to continue our discussion, except there is one thing you said which I feel compelled to reply to. 'The way of today's world, times change and you must change with them, else get left behind.' It is my belief that the changes the world is going through will bring about it's destruction. I feel the only thing that will save it is to go backwards. Sadly this will never happen. I don't mind being left behind.

      I appreciate that you have taken the time comment, and I hope you don't mind that I have published it, it adds another perspective to the discussion. If you want it removed, I can do, just tell me. xxx

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    2. I totally agree with your point about the modern world, we are in deed, along with other factors killing this beutiful planet that has given us all life.
      Unfortunately people these days are very selfish and have no concern for matters outside of their own bubble!!
      A disgusting attitude that will bring our future generations many problems, arriving eventually at a certain end.
      In order to stop or slow the process everyone needs to stand together unite and strip their lives back to basics.
      life as a child in the 80s was simple fantastic and the best years of my life there were no big gestures or buying "stuff" you couldn't afford!!
      Just simple small gifts and an enjoyable family meal.
      However sadly we stand no chance of this happening as corporate greed mainfested through the government and every other organisation, that seems to pass through many other people trying to be "better" than the next to person..... newsflash your not better than anyone and in fact they are the worst people driving thus car crash of a civilisation in a terrible direction.
      It's too big to fight however so if you want to get the best from your life you just have to get on with it, the frustration of seeing how blind everyone is to this would drive me in to an early grave. So I embrace it, make the best of what we have and enjoy my family.

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    3. I didn't have to get over xmas, I simply didn't do it. Just the two of us on our own, a nice walk in the countryside, and a nice evening meal was all we needed. Absolutely agree with your comment to your relative about not changing with the changing times of the world, they're bad changes and as you say, we need to go backwards not go along with all that rubbish. I'd rather be left behind as well, we'll all join you Ilona!

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  35. Hi Ilona, I totally agree with everyhing you said. We have just been to my husbands family. Managed to steer clear of it for Christmas and Boxing Day. Can't stand the excesses and the showing of and the wrapping paper and the noise. I managed to get to sit in the bathroom once the extra presents came out and avoided being saddened by waste I even avoided the politics of who sat next to whom at the table and and sat next to someone I could converse with. It's a minefield that I don't want to even contemplate. Each year I like it less and less but I am managing to get my point across that we are killing the planet and raise awareness before it's too late. Happy New year. Mrs miserly

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  36. I have to agree with everything you wrote. I'm the same way. If there's too much visual or noise stimulation, i feel the need to leave. My husband isn't far behind me. Sometimes he's worse than i am so you're not alone. It's all too much sometimes and i don't always feel the need to explain. Which can be a problem in it's own right. There's no right or wrong; it's just who we are.

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    1. Exactly. Everyone has a choice to do their own thing.

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  37. Here in Germany, Christmas is traditionally a quiet thing, no loud parties. I am afraid it is about to change. We had a lovely time, our son who lives in Prague was here for four days, the other one with his wife and 18 m old son who lives nearby came on the 25th and 26th. I continue the tradition of roasting a goose at Christmas, it is rather expensive and quite a lot of work, but once a year it´s ok and there are lots of leftovers for the two of us. There was no TV, no more booze than a glass of wine at dinner, of course the grandson was running around and trying to get some of the ornaments on the christmas tree. But all in all, it was quiet and relaxing.
    I think everybody should celebrate Christmas as he or she likes - or not at all.

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  38. Your music was beautiful and, if it's not too much of a cliche, I found it to be very healing.
    I have never been fond of background music but used this to meditate on the meaning of Christmas to me. Like you I find the excesses distressing especially when I see how unhappy so many people are.
    Thank you for these two posts; they will reinforce what many people feel and maybe prompt a change of practice for next year. We are going to decide on, and announce, some changes now so that family and friends are used to the ideas well ahead of next Christmas and won't be upset by them when the season comes.

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    1. Hi. I think it's a good idea to let friends and family know what your plans are for Christmas in plenty of time, so there is no embarrassment and awkwardness when the time comes.

      I am hooked on the gentle music now, lovely to have it on softly in the background.

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  39. Loved reading all the comments. Mine was a nice few days with my daughter, son in law and grand daughter who is 23 my grandson phoned from New Zealand where he is traveling (missed him like crazy) my son came on Boxing Day. Lovely lunch my daughter loves to cook and try new recipes nothing expensive, she loves to lay a oretty table. Presents opened in the afternoon, I love buying small useful presents and usually give a small amount of money instead of buying something I am unsure about, thus year I gave them as well a big gift of money (£50 each) for special things my daughter is moving so something nice for the new house, my grand daughter savings for her next traveling adventure, I could do this for I had had a small win on the premium bonds and it was lovely to share it with them, I manage very well on my state pension. We played board games in the evening. This year it was 2 new ones on saving the planet real good fun. We have a really nice family time and I am spoilt by not having to do anything, I am 78 and waiting for heart surgery so don't know how more years I will be around but must say I enjoy the true meaning of Christmas but also like doing little surprises for my dear family. Happy 2017 to everyone and love reading your posts every day Ilona.
    Hazel c uk

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    1. All very sensible, Hazel. You have it just right. Hope your surgery goes well and you are still here in ten years time, at least.

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    2. Thanks Ilona I to hope to be around for a long time yet, just come in from a 2 hour walk round Kew Gardens -beautiful My season ticket to Kew is my birthday Christmas etc present to myself. I live in a built up area not nice for walking so it's a pleasure to go the hour traveling each way to Kew where it is safe and enjoyable.
      Enjoy the day.
      Hazel c uk

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    3. What a wonderful idea, the present to yourself which will give you a reason to walk and see beautiful things too!
      JanF

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  40. I'm with you 100% on this. We're all different, it's not a 'one size fits all' scenario that Christmas or any other time for that matter, and it's important to both respect the differences in each other, and to extend that respect to future generations and the world around us. Like you I've had the 'she's slightly odd/poor soul' look when I've said for the last few years that I will be spending Christmas alone and being relatively frugal; but I have that right to choose, and I am eternally grateful for that. All the best for 2017, I really enjoy your blog!
    Sally x

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  41. interesting post and replies, I'm a bit bah humbug when it comes to christmas , I think that is because when I was a child, there was so much pressure on my Mum wanting to do the perfect christmas day but all I sadly remember is her and my Dad arguing and not the good times of being together as a family, but not celebrating now is not an option as hubby's birthday is on christmas day, this year we visited my son and partner which we really enjoyed, over spent and over indulged but at the same time there are 364 days in the year in which to spend time together with no pressure or expense, wishing you and the pets a merry christmas, Jo x

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  42. Hi Ilona, A bit late with this but we had Christmas eve over my niece's house and there were too many people there for my liking. She means well and really is a very generous and kind person so she doesn't want to "leave out" anyone so she had a houseful of people. My little grand daughter (3 year old) got so many gifts that she got very overwhelmed with everything and got so tired and cranky that she didn't know what to look at and decided not to look at any of the gifts she received. She's only 3 and really didn't get why she was getting all these gifts. It was chaos! She would open a gift and put it aside without even looking at it. This is due to the over spending and craziness that goes on. I always say take the example from children and watch how they react to this. It's not always fun for them. She's the youngest in the family so people tend to want to buy her things but my daughter put half the stuff she received up in her attic and will take one toy at a time back downstairs in a couple of months. This way her daughter is not overwhelmed with stuff. That's my Christmas eve story! Arlene from USA (NJ)

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  43. I agree about the excesses of Christmas, it has been commercialised beyond belief, by those who want to sell us stuff. But I also agree with the (family member?) poster who said it's about family, and to try to hang on to those connections. Obviously you don't have to celebrate Christmas with family to maintain the connection, but maybe they miss you Ilona, and prefer it when you're there too!
    But of course you should do things as you please, stay at home next year if you wish, and visit another time. The big losses you suffered this year probably made it even harder for you to feel festive. Karen.

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  44. Perhaps it's my age and circumstance, but I prefer Christmases to be low-key and simple. We have spent an enjoyable few days with our daughter, her partner and our grand-daughter. Our Christmas day was spent with N's (daughter's partner) parents and as usual made us so welcome and nothing was too much trouble (considering my disability and needs). None of us go over the top with anything, presents, food or drink. No-one was overly loud or noisy and there was plenty of chatting and laughter. I would have to decline an invitation if I felt that the day would be 'too much' of anything ie said gifts, food or drink. My philosophy these days is 'anything for a quiet life'.

    Joan (Wales)

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  45. It all just gets a bit too much best to spread it throughout the year x

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  46. We try for fun low cost presents rather than spend buckets though it's not unknown for several members of the family to club together to buy another something they really want. (I got one present in total from everyone this year, a £129 overlocker. Brill.) We have a nice family meal, everyone brings something, then we have a walk, some silly games, do the dishes and go home. I don't drink anyway, very few of my family do either so one nice bottle of wine goes a long way. I can't be bothered with huge noisy gatherings and eating and drinking till you start feeling sick. It's a waste of money and effort and not even much fun, when all is said and done.

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  47. Thank you, Ilona, for this post, For the first time in my 81 years someone has put into words how I'm viewed by my Family and how I feel. This Christmas I chose to decline invitations and stayed home. Fixed a very nice dinner for myself and felt a sense of contentment. Now that I no longer drive I am at the mercy of someone else when I want to leave. Other times of the year ok. Happy New Year! Shirley near Seattle USA

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  48. We have spent the past nine or so Christmases volunteering to serve meals to the needy in our town. A free meal is provided to anyone who wants to come. This year there were 135 meals served as take outs and delivered by volunteers before we opened the doors. About 300 people then came in and were served, not lining up but sitting at a table and served graciously.
    We came home tired, napped and then had a simple meal having had my favourite ( leg of lamb) for dinner Christmas eve.
    I cut way back on the Christmas cards this year and have been enjoying making 'phone calls instead. It has been so much fun!
    JanF

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    1. Love what you did!!

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    2. Thank you. JanF

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  49. We used to dutifully rotate spending Christmas between both sets of parents and ourselves - when my in-laws are 500 miles away in Texas, and my parents are in the UK. Eventually, we decided that it wasn't worth tiring out the family over the short break. We spend Christmas quietly at home, and don't waste postage on sending gifts. I wish we had a tardis to pop over and see everyone (!), but until then, we'll do what feels right for our family.

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  50. Hmm... I've just enjoyed a family Christmas despite having been unwell in the week beforehand, the financial stress - and we never go overboard - and general mayhem, BUT my youngest daughter did not, and will be mightily relieved when it's all over & the household goes back to normal. She has a form of high-functioning autism; most people would never realise she's autistic, and perhaps see her as a bit of a party-pooper. She loves her siblings dearly, but when they are all gathered together, bouncing & squeaking with excitement (and they're all in their 20s!) talking over each other and playing mad impromptu games, it's all she can do not to flee the room and spend the rest of the day in bed. Sometimes, she's done just that. The noise, the unpredictability, the fact that she cannot follow the quickfire jokes & madcap conversations (being a tad slower to process the spoken word is a feature of her condition) meals being served late - all combine to make The Day itself a bit of a miserable experience for her. She does her best to put a good face on it, though, and I think her siblings are slowly beginning to realise that she can no more help this than fly. But it's hard to see how we can make it better for her without damping it down significantly for the others...

    So Christmas celebrated "en famille" is not, cannot be an enjoyable festivity for everyone...

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  51. My Christmasses over the years have been very low key, first was I was bringing the kids up mostly alone and money was always tight, as the years went by I enjoyed the peace of being alone, going to church , after all it is a religious festival but some people seem to have forgotten that. Like others I am always amazed at the amount of food that goes into shopping trollies at supermarkets. I am sure a lot of it will end up in the garbage bins. Over the past days I have eaten more or less as usual, staed inemptying boxes that I brought back from my f/brothers home, he died a couple of weeks ago and as his NoKin I had a funeral to arrange and his rented accomodation to clear, unfortunately he lay dead for 3 days in his warden sheltered scheme and the companys attitude is "So What" I asked where the warden was on those days, I had the travelling back and forward to Newcastle in the north of UK and right now I am feeling a bit tired so the quietness of the christmas period was lovely, I am hoping the New Year will bring health and happiness to each and everyone . Danneke

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    1. Danneke, that is very sad. How terrible to know that a person in warden sheltered accommodation could lie dead for days and just about as bad to hear about their attitude.
      I am glad you enjoyed the quiet peace of your own kind of Christmas. JanF

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  52. I was thinking, Ilona, about how you said that you enjoyed New Years more than Christmas, because of the idea of a fresh start. I have always loved the real meaning of Christmas, but I find myself looking forward to the New Year for the same reason. This feeling has grown up in my heart over the last few years, as I have gotten into my fifties. I thought I would tell you about 3 habits that I have adopted that make the New Year prepared and fresh for me. Some time after Christmas, but before the first of January, I cut up any of the Christmas cards I received, and/or any of the ones that I have left over. I cut out parts of the cards that are suitable to have holes punched in them, and used again to be tied on as name tags on Christmas cards the next year. (Christmas cards recycled). Next, I take a fresh new calendar, and using the old calendar as a template, I fill in important dates and monthly errands that will need to be done in the New Year. It also lets me scan what we have done and where we have been in the last year. Lastly, I go through my filing cabinet and clean out my folders which carry all the receipts for bills paid for the last two years. I throw out the old ones from 2 years previous, and organize the ones from the last year. Some receipts I save for longer, such as income taxes, and bank loans paid off (Ancient history , now), but most are utility bills, etc. I find that these three tasks help me face the new year. Do you have anything that you do for the new year, or your fresh start? Mary Jane in Canada.

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  53. Pardon me, I meant that I tie the Christmas card tags on Christmas "gifts" the next year. Mary Jane in Canada.

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