An MSNBC survey reveals 45 per cent of respondents would "opt-out" of Christmas.
At first, I thought the survey may have been conducted by Ebenezer Scrooge himself, so on the Starfm Morning Mess, we asked for listener feedback. You may be surprised by the response.
While our poll was anything but scientific, the reality is Christmas is adding stress that is starting to "wear away" at the nerves of many families in Westman. The pressure of buying gifts, pressures of family, and tight schedules are taking their toll.
In the end, the number wasn’t as high as the MSNBC poll, but more like 35 per cent. Why? How? What would they do instead? And is this a wakeup call to families who want to save Christmas and its traditions? To maybe "slow things down?"
Here’s what you said:
Denise B: Well my kids have opted for no presents this Christmas. They want to save the money spent on presents and use it to go on a camping trip this summer.
Crystal D: I would opt out. I would rather be on a hot beach.
Sarah K: People need to remember that if you opt out of Christmas and it was to disappear, then we would have an additional work day. I enjoy Christmas WAY too much to skip out. People just let the commercialism of it get to them!
Chrissy B: I’d opt out because its costs allot of money and it takes me until February to catch up! Very stressful for a single mom with 3 kids.
Jennifer B: I would never but I know my husband definitely would!
Violet W: If it weren’t for my four-year-old son, I would opt out. It is expensive and hard to catch up when it’s all said and done.
Dana C: Don’t opt out. Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. I have three kids and they’ve been taught that you don’t always get everything you ask for. They always enjoy Christmas and we’ve made it be about more then the gifts.
Amanda F: I would opt out of gift giving because everyone has everything nowadays! But I would keep the family time!
Heather D: My mom poured so much love and time into making Christmas traditions for us. Now that she is gone, I will do anything and very thing to pass those on to my son.
Andrew R: Never ever opt out of Christmas. I think we just need to scale down a bit. Give meaningful gifts and spend time together.
Kärri DB: Christmas is a blast when you lower expectations.
Lynette A: I could never opt out of Christmas. I think a lot of people take it a little too far and go spend crazy. That’s not what it’s about; it’s about spending time with your friends and family.
Meg W: I would opt out of all the gift giving crap in an instant!
Gen D: I would enjoy Christmas more if it was toned down, more about family/friends, less about spending.
Jennifer E: We have made the decision that we are no longer going to feel any pressure to buy for people. We of course will provide for our kids, and make the holiday magical (but REALLY stepped back, because we were excessive).
Karla M: My immediate family stopped celebrating Christmas last year! We went and stayed at a hotel with a great pool and waterslide and had a blast!
Leanne P: I enjoy the time with family and all the smells and fun of baking and cooking, and wrapping presents. You don’t have to spend thousands to have a good Xmas.
Lori C: I enjoy some of it, but family can get stressful.
Sherallyn R: I love xmas. It would hard for me to opt out.
Julia J: I wouldn’t opt out. Christmas seems to be the time of year that brings everyone together for a big family feast and it’s a time to try and put away differences across all religions.
Natasha M: Christmas is about family, friends, and love. Being together. Yes we spend too much, and yes the focus has turned from love to presents. But I have many family traditions that we plan to pass down to our children. The day is about love.
Well said Natasha. Here’s a little help with the top three stresses:
Stress one: Money
Families get bigger and regrettably get smaller. Mention this column as a conversation starter. (Clip it out if you wish.) to ask the question "is it time to change the way we do things?" Families change. Economic circumstances change. Tradition is not a good enough reason for monster debt and credit card catastrophe. Talk about this around Labour Day next year. And do it when everyone is getting along, had a few drinks and laughs, or all of the above. You’ll be surprised to know you may not be the only one thinking its time for change. Won’t work? Start making gifts. That always works.
Stress two: Tight Schedules
Simply say "no." That’s it. "No thanks" also works. It’s Non in French. Trying to please everyone pleases no-one. And remember, this is about joy, and peace and trying to reduce stress. This means picking and choosing commitments. Won’t work? Invent a long lost relative from Uganda that needs constant care and attention, making it impossible for you to do anything but wait on Uncle Kookoorachaman hand and foot all month.
Stress three: Family Stress
Family will make you happy, sad, mad and stressed. Quietly (and confidentially) picture youself co-operating at all costs as part of your "gift to the family". Pat yourself on the back quietly for the limited time you have to spend with them. I know I annoy my family. Everyone annoys everyone sometimes. If it weren’t true, Clark Griswold’s family Vacation Christmas movie would be pretty boring. "GRACE?!?!?!?.......why she died 20 years ago. NO……the BLESSING!" Isn’t that movie the best? Won’t work? Invite Jose Cuervo or Jack Daniels to the party.
Only 23 days to Christmas Eve. Take a deep breathe. And just think. One month today it’s all over, and you’ll be nursing your New Year’s Eve headache. You just want to try and make sure that’s the only holiday hangover you have to deal with.
JOKE THIS WEEKEND
A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, "Hmmm.... That’s funny. When I lost my bag there was a $20 bill in it. Now there are twenty $1 bills."
The boy quickly replied, "That’s right, lady. The last time I found a lady’s purse, she didn’t have any change for a reward."
Crystal Jowett Miles
Linda Bowley Duncan
Kristin Santana Lindsay
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 1, 2012