Author Topic: How do you celebrate the holidays?  (Read 1982 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1259
  • Location: Chicago
How do you celebrate the holidays?
« on: December 11, 2018, 11:22:10 AM »
How do you celebrate the holidays?  How do you keep things Mustachian?  Or not?  What is your favorite part?  Your least favorite part?


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1259
  • Location: Chicago
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2018, 11:42:52 AM »
It's me, my wife, and two small kids, ages 1 and 3.  We are Unitarian Universalists, so the holidays are an interesting time of year since we don't have a strong religious connection to any holiday, but a strong cultural connection to Christmas since we both grew up in religious Christian households and UU churches generally have Christmas celebrations as well.

We celebrate "Chrismukkah" at home with the kids godmother during Hanukkah, which is my chance to do a big meal that I get to plan and prepare myself.

We travel to my mom's house for Christmas Eve and stay until early on New Year's Eve.  My mom sings in her church choir so we go to that service on Christmas Eve.  My 3 year old daughter loves seeing her Grandma sing.

New Year's Eve is either a small shindig at home or going out with friends.  TBD what we are doing this year, it depends if we can find a sitter.

We keep things Mustachian by focusing on keeping things meaningful an aligned with our values.  This year I got each kid two presents and made them each two presents.  I really enjoy crafting stuff that is exactly what I know they'll like.  I spend a bit extra on our Chrismukkah meal and we have a budget for gifts.  I try not to add a lot of extras that won't increase our enjoyment a lot.

My favorite part is having an uninterrupted week of family time when we are away.  No real obligations, and we all just get to relax and spend time together.

My least favorite part is that traveling makes it hard for us to do our own traditions and celebration.  And I never know how to do gift opening, since toting everything in our luggage is a drag.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 11:46:58 AM by SimpleCycle »


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1887
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2018, 12:10:16 PM »
I celebrate Christmas though I don't have much of a religious background.  More the cultural stuff. 

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I go to his extended family for a smorgasboard.  They are of Norwegian heritage.  It's a lot of fun - I enjoy seeing the little kids and there's a visit by Santa too.  This year on Christmas Day, my husband and I are going for Chinese food and a movie.  Then on Boxing Day, we are hosting my family at our house for Christmas Day dinner.  It is pretty traditional food and a low-key good time. 

My favourite part of the season is the lights and the decorations.  At this time of year, the PNW weather is very wet and cloudy.  So Christmas lights really help.  I enjoy making the Christmas dinner even though everyone brings something.  We do the turkey/dressing/cranberry sauce/potatoes.    I don't have much Christmas shopping to do since my niece and nephew are teens.  So it is a cash gift + some chocolate. 

This year, the office where is I work is closed between Christmas Eve and Jan. 2.  So i'll have a lot of time off.  I plan to visit a friend of mine and maybe do some extra cleaning in the house. 

Sailor Sam

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5478
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Steel Beach
  • Semper...something
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2018, 01:25:03 PM »
Bog standard, with a religious bent. Additionally, excessive amounts of food, middling amounts of alcohol.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8060
  • Location: Norway
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2018, 06:59:53 AM »
We live abroad and travel "home" for Christmas. We live with our parents, a few days with the one and a few with the other. We meet my brother and his family and DH's brother and family when we are there. It costs us 2 plane tickets + either train tickets or a rental car. If we are lucky, the parents will pick us up and we don't need a rental car. Both parents to not live near a train station. :-(
An alternative is driving all the 1000 kms from home, including spending the night on board a ferry and renting a cabin onboard. Then we will have a car and good flexibility there. Often flying is cheaper and it is definitively faster. This year we are flying the Mustachian way and bought tickets on the cheapest days.

We buy some presents for each other, but not very expensive stuff. No-one gets an iPhone, but we typically give a self-made photo calendar, slippers, children's tøys.
My mother has for years only give us money (boring). Eventually even my brother started giving me money, because he was not inspired on what to give. I once suggested that we adults could just stop buying each other presents and just get something for my brother's children. This is what we have been doing for some years. Still, they get our homemade photo calendar, and my mum still gives us each a chocolate letter.

At FIL's family, we still give every person a present. Usually he gives me a paper book, while I prefer to read Kindle books. But those cannot be put under the Christmas tree. This year he asked, so I could ask for a new household item that needs replacement. BIL and us have exchanged wish lists, so we buy something that the other appreciates. Last year we received a satiric, daily cartoon calendar from them, that we still enjoy every day. They also have children now, so we buy some stuff for them. DH is this year also sewing some gifts, a dinosaur shirt and pants for his little nephew and an outdoor coat for his father, who needed a new such coat.

For the dinner, FIL has told us he wants to cook a simple dinner for us (5 adults + 2 children) 1 night. We need to provide a 2 course Christmas dinner and BIL needs to do the same thing the next day. FIL will provide desert for both days, probably homemade ice cream. We have done this before and then bought some really nice meat, not very Mustachian, but a once a year quality. We try to keep the other ingredients affordable.


  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 20543
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2018, 01:32:49 PM »
Mostly by not working.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 803
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2018, 02:57:10 PM »
I LOVE CHRISTMAS. My holiday season is 100% secular, but it's absolutely my favorite time of the year. Here are some of my annual traditions:
  • The season kicks off with watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade using the $50 digital antenna I bought at Costco almost 10 years ago that I only break out for the parade and Olympics.
  • All of my Christmas decorations, inside and outside, go up on Black Friday. My neighborhood is pretty festive and almost all of us do lights. I love walking my dogs through different parts of the neighborhood checking out the lights throughout the season.
  • I make a list of all the Christmas activities I want to do, including craft fairs and other events. I usually pick one expensive thing to do (this year a rather disappointing concert), but most of the things I do are cheap or free. This year we won a zoo membership at my husband's holiday party, so we get to do Zoo Lights for free!
  • I knit something festive. This year, socks.
  • Send Christmas cards! Maybe this tradition doesn't make sense, but I ditched my social media this year, so my family hears from me less than they did. I send about 25 cards (bought on Amazon) with a photo (printed at Costco) at a cost of about $1.25/card including shipping.

We find some version of family or friends to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with. Sometimes we celebrate just the two of us if we don't feel like driving. The day of stuff is less important to me than capturing that holiday feeling.

I'm usually burned out on the holidays by New Years Eve and we stay home :)


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: Arizona
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2018, 10:08:45 PM »
Ours is a culturally blended family and we celebrate the holiday season with heritage foods that we prepare only at that time.  I pull out a recipe for old-style gingerbread of Polish tradition that is sweetened with honey, flavored with freshly ground spices, and the freshly made dough matures in the fridge for a few weeks before baking.  MIL who visits us for a few weeks around this time, contributes Dutch specialties: butter cake, almond rolls, aged Gouda and Leyden cheeses.  We are fortunate to be able to take time off from work every year and the holiday break is usually the longest time spent away from the office.

Our Christmas Eve dinner is vegetarian and we usually cook ham with several vegetable sides for Christmas Day.  And we have enough leftover to freeze some ham and not have to cook for two or three days afterwards.

Extended family members are scattered in several states of Western United States and we often visit them during the holidays.  Not this year, though.  Instead of buying presents this year, we plan to visit Grand Canyon National Park and we invited extended family along to meet in Flagstaff. 

There are not-so-favorite aspects of the arrangement, such as house guests for several weeks; relatives who have a habit of looking the gift horse in the mouth instead of simply appreciating planning effort and expenditures incurred by trip's organizers; relatives who think budgets, particularly those of other people, should be made of rubber - but, overall experience is always positive, aided by wine or hard liquor if necessary.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5263
  • Location: Metro Detroit
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2018, 09:04:37 AM »
It seems to change every year, mainly because we're still splitting holidays between my parents and husband's family. Sister-in-law insists on having her kids wake up in their own beds on Christmas (with which I completely agree!) and husband is a retail manager, so those have made scheduling a bit more challenging. This year, we'll be having Christmas dinner with the in-laws on the weekend before Christmas, Christmas Eve dinner with my parents, and Christmas day at home.

Husband doesn't really have ethnic traditions, whereas my Mexican-American family eats tamales on Christmas day. I have no idea whether my father-in-law will do a prime rib (I always, always hope for this) or whether he's just given up on non-snack/sandwich foods until the kids are less picky. Thanks for reminding me that I need to call my mom and see what she's planning. I'm bringing dessert and probably cheese plates to both dinners.

Both of my parents are from huge families, so my childhood Christmases involved packed houses full of cousins and food. Christmas Eve was early Mass, ham or turkey dinner and my grandpa's enormous Christmas tree at my mom's parents' house, then second dinner and piñata at my dad's oldest brother's party. Christmas day was tamales, tostadas, and ridiculous amounts of cookies and candy at my dad's second-oldest brother's open house. I do sometimes miss the big family parties, but I don't miss always getting sick right after Christmas.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2958
  • Location: .... duh?
Re: How do you celebrate the holidays?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2018, 10:36:58 AM »
Both sets of our parents are divorced, so early on (about the time our first was born) we decided we weren't going to travel for Christmas. And that we would like to bow out of the hyper consumerism vortex that is American Christmas. So we ski to a backcountry hut every year for a few nights, starting when we had to tow the kids in a kindershuttle (think the ski version of a Burley.)

So, most every year, we get up early the 23rd or 24th, load up our backpacks with delicious food (and, now that we have strapping teenaged boys, they get to carry the wine!) and a few small gifts, drive to a trailhead and ski 2-5 hours into a really beautiful backcountry "hut" which is really more of a small chalet with tons of south-facing windows, a full kitchen with propane burners and a wood cookstove, and shared sleeping quarters upstairs. We bake a "Traditional" (for us) breakfast that includes freshly made St. Lucia rolls (I know St. Lucia day is in early December, but I like them) and a "traditional" dinner that includes the fillet mignon from the half steer we buy every year, cut into medallions that are wrapped in bacon. Christmas day we generally go out for a ski and play in the snow and sunshine. We catch up on sleep. We split wood and mess around with the wood stove. We get some quality visiting time in with our now-teenagers, and with each other. Sometimes the snow is awesome, and we go play on a good hill for skiing. Sometimes it's "meh" and we go for a ski tour to some lovely high point, or a frozen lake. Santa generally drops off a few things that are small and light, including maple sugar candy and chocolate.

It's a lovely break from the crowded, noisy, busy, pressure-filled mess that is December in our town, and by the time we get back things have chilled out substantially.