Celebrations (holiday or otherwise)

by Lark

How do you celebrate? Are holidays, birthdays and anniversaries a big deal or low key in your family? Do you go big on presents? What about for milestone birthdays and anniversaries?

How do you celebrate other events, such as paying off a chunk of debt, getting a new job, or advancing to a new school/grade?

And what’s up for Hallowe’en?

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90 thoughts on “Celebrations (holiday or otherwise)

  1. this is the first year I won’t be taking one of the kids trick or treating. DS is 13 and decided he didn’t want to trick or treat. He’ll have some friends over instead to watch movies and eat candy and pizza. I am both sad that this era is over and happy not to be out in the rain for several hours.

  2. Anniversary – our tradition is to take the day off from work and spend it together. No gifts but we do exchange mushy cards. I highly recommend this – especially when your kids are small and it’s hard to get time together (we would drop the kids off at day care and enjoy our day together).

    Birthdays – the kids usually have a party with their friends and then we have a separate get together with the grandparents. And as the grandparents get older and more cantankerous, that feels more like an obligation and less like a celebration.

  3. In my family of origin, we had a tradition of exchanging Peanuts cards for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and any other card-giving occasion. Dad would always write funny little verses in the cards. It was a sweet tradition, but when I married DH, I told him I wanted drippy, mushy cards, and for several years he duly complied. Then one day I was like, you know what? These cards are stupid. So I resurrected the Peanuts cards tradition. I’m not clever like my dad so I don’t write funny doggerel, but I find the cards soothing and reassuring.

  4. We are now entering the Week of Celebration — and I am sick, and DH is leaving town Sunday-Thursday. So I’d say there’s a little more stress than usual!

    Halloween is the one holiday DH celebrates with exuberance. Seems like every year he comes home from Party City with some new motion-activated toy, to go along with the coffins he built, the motion-activated witch, the fog machine, the 15′ spider web he built, etc. etc. etc. This year we need to get everything up tomorrow, though, so it may be a little pared down, especially given my energy level and his desire to go to Rennfest again before it closes.

    Friday is DS’ 13th birthday, and Saturday is the Bar Mitzvah. So we have a major houseclean tomorrow as well, family arriving Thursday (maybe even before DH gets back). I still need to arrange the @15-person birthdy/traveling family dinner Friday night, and then meet with the venue for Saturday to finalize the menu and details (supposed to be yesterday, had to cancel). Oh, and DD and I still need dresses, and DD has one more college application that needs to be submitted before 11/1 for a waived application fee. Then my mom wants to do a birthday dinner at home Sunday night.

    I have been excited and looking forward to this next week for months, so I’m doubly pissed that I’m sick and DH is out of town and so I am feeling overwhelmed and exhausted instead of happy and excited. But I know when we get there it will be fun, as I have chosen the easy way out for the dinner and the party (a/k/a “let me write you a check and you do everything”). And the other good news is that we had the rehearsal yesterday, and DS nailed it — he forgot one tune to a prayer that he hadn’t practiced in months, but all the other prayers and the Torah portion were impeccable. And he can carry a tune — who knew?? He is starting to get his grown-up voice, and there were a couple of times that you just heard this beautiful voice shine through, and it was sort of amazing to sit there and watch my kid do all this stuff, in his “ready to matriculate at UVa” jacket-and-tie, and just hit it all so well.

    I think Saturday is going to be really special, because DS is the last of the grandkids on my in-laws’ side, and when MIL was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 5 years ago, it didn’t seem possible that she would make it long enough to see all the grandkids through. I know for a long time she was hanging on and trying new/experimental treatments specifically with that in mind. So to have her here, and feeling well enough to actually participate, is going to be sort of overwhelming in a good way. Pretty sure I’m going to cry a lot.

  5. @SSM – We started doing the anniversary day date a number of years ago, and I love it. The past few years, our anniversary has been on a weekend though.

    We aren’t big gift givers, and I don’t do heavy-duty holiday decorating, but we always mark the occasion. Food, drink, and family time are the big things. We don’t do a lot of extended family birthday parties. On the IL side, we started doing a thing where we get together twice a year and celebrate all the birthdays for that portion of the year. (the birthdays are pretty bunched too!) THAT is a lot of fun. MIL puts together a big wall of photos, we have a nice meal & desserts and hang out for the day. For the last one, we did an escape room as part of the party too, which was really fun. Another time we did a huge seafood boil & had a big water balloon fight. It’s great.

  6. Rocky, do you save the greeting cards? What about everyone else? Which cards if any do you save?

    I’ve gone in spurts. Sometimes I save most cards with more than a few lines of handwriting. But then sometimes I get so tired of saving so much stuff I throw almost everything out. Hand-made cards I’ve always saved.

    We used to do more for Halloween. In cleaning out our attic last year I gave away or threw out most of our Halloween stuff, but then this year DH and DD loaded up with more crap from Party City. I’m on my way to buy more candy that I usually end up eating so I need to get stuff I like.

    LFB — Mazel tov!

  7. Christmas is huge in our house. We go all out with decorations and fancy food. We have piles of traditions surrounding Christmas, from the trip to the tree farm to cut a tree (which MUST be a concolor fir, no exceptions) to the Christmas Eve party at Grandma’s to the Christmas Day breakfast which must include both fudge and smoked salmon, and then the gift opening which is done slowly so it takes hours – yes, this is huge. Both DH and I came from families who were really into Christmas so the traditions are kind of a merger of both families.

    We put up lots of decorations for Halloween, both inside and outside. YOu should see our multicolored spider lights that go across the living room. People in our neighborhood tend to do a lot of decorating for Halloween so we like to go around and see all the houses. My two kids are still planning to trick or treat this year. DD got a black chef’s jacket with red trim, and is going to go as a zombie chef. It will probably be DS’s last year, and he doesn’t know what he is doing but he has tons of odd steampunky components around so I am sure he will do something good.

    On Good Friday we listen to the ST Matthew Passion and dye Easter eggs. ON Easter we have baskets, then go to church and then to Grandma’s.

    Birthdays always involve a trip to a restaurant and presents and cake after. Oh, and the tradition in our family is to always do it late – weeks late. We will do DH’s birthday next weekend – DS1 is coming home for it – which will be 3 weeks late.

    Oh, and on Canada Day, we always sing “O Canada”.

  8. Our kids always do hand drawn cards for birthdays and Christmas. They put a lot of effort into the drawings and jokes, which are always B&W. I save those. I also tend to save photos from Christmas cards. I don’t know why – I just like having photos of my friends kids when they were little

  9. LfB – have a good weekend.

    We are getting together with DH’s family for Thanksgiving, the only time this year. Next year we will get together for nephew’s First Communion. The once a year long weekend seems to be working well. Its the “fish and guests stink after three days”.
    We had a great time when my sibling and family visited in the summer. This year in all, has been very hectic and though I am looking forward to a quiet December, though on the work front it is unlikely to happen.

  10. Rocky, do you save the greeting cards? What about everyone else? Which cards if any do you save?

    We all used to save some of them. Mom saved many. I still have a few, but after several moves most of them are gone. It’s kind of sad, but I have my memories.

  11. Both DS and DD will be trick or treating though DS will mostly hang out with the neighborhood kids instead of actually going door to door. DD was invited to a friends house but she had already committed to going with her neighborhood friend. Also there was so much effort on the part of her friends mothers around the kids costume that I am glad she didn’t go and saved me the effort.

  12. I love Halloween, although apparently everyone is to old to play Halloween with me anymore. I used to bring witch’s brew to the kids’ classrooms (punch with gummy worms and dry ice, one year we made a brain to put in it), but they got to junior high and no one was brave enough to ask a teacher if I could come. My kids classmates still come up and tell me how much fun it was. I view that as a lifetime victory :).

    This year a number of women in town found the witch dance video on line and no one was willing to be the voice of reason so now there will be dancing at the town festival.

    Thanksgiving revolves around my need to have a big dinner or be at a big dinner. So, we either host or go to family or friends.

    Christmas has involved a vacation for skiing or tropical adventures for the past few years. Apparently the family is socially acceptable enough that if we are in town, we often have an invitation or two to celebrate Christmas with another family.

    Basically, all celebrations and events with my family revolve around me.

  13. Christmas has involved a vacation for skiing or tropical adventures for the past few years.

    Just throwing it out there that if you’re looking for something a little more cultural Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, etc. are all in the 50’s in December/January. If you’re going to be walking around a lot and inside palaces and museums, then it’s the perfect weather. And it’s a lot cheaper than going in June.

  14. “My kids classmates still come up and tell me how much fun it was. I view that as a lifetime victory”

    Most definitely!

  15. “Just throwing it out there that if you’re looking for something a little more cultural Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, etc. are all in the 50’s in December/January”

    Thanks for the idea. I would love a European vacation. There is strong reluctance to go somewhere where no one speaks or can figure out the language. E.g French and Italian are close enough to Spanish that someone can communicate. DS thinks he knows some Russian, although that is way too cold. We are the people who relish the Central Valley summers and 50 degree weather calls for a parka and woolen socks. I can’t get the family to do cultural museums….how the Great Wall was built, where various wars were fought on the Continent might be acceptable, but for some reason, vacations need water and pre Columbian ruins. It’s their father’s DNA.

  16. Rhett, the time I visited Shanghai around Christmas, it was in the 30’s with a biting wind. It was really miserable for walking around.

  17. There is strong reluctance to go somewhere where no one speaks or can figure out the language.

    Everyone in northern Europe speaks English.

  18. It is always cold in northern Europe

    Even in the summer! But as anyone from the north country will tell you, “It’s never too cold, you’re just under-dressed.”

  19. Even in the summer! But as anyone from the north country will tell you, “It’s never too cold, you’re just under-dressed.”

    Ha! The point of summer is being able to be under-dressed all the time :)

  20. We are the people who relish the Central Valley summers

    Goddam, girl. You some kinda crazy.

  21. Goddam, girl. You some kinda crazy.

    As long as it’s dry enough for the swamp cooler to work you’re fine.

  22. Rhett. No. My first 4th of July in Chico it was 113 degrees. A swamp cooler would only bring it down to 100, at best. And because of all the agriculture, it’s not that dry. (That’s not a slam, Cassandra, it’s just an observation about the universe.)

  23. My first Thanksgiving in Chico, it was 97 degrees. IT’S AN ABOMINATION UNTO THE LORD, I tell you.

  24. Goddam, girl. You some kinda crazy.

    I was in Denver in MAY and it snowed….pot, kettle

  25. My first Thanksgiving in Chico, it was 97 degrees. IT’S AN ABOMINATION UNTO THE LORD, I tell you.

    Shorts and sandals, more things to be grateful for.

  26. LfB – I hope all goes as smoothly as possible (and that you feel better soon!)

    I may have to think about Italy or Greece for Christmas next year. That’s an interesting idea.

  27. Most of our celebrations are low-key. For our upcoming wedding anniversary we plan to go out to dinner as we usually do. For an upcoming kid birthday we’ll celebrate with dinner and cake. No presents ever for me or DH. For one kid it’s been money gifts for years now, and for the other kid we get a long wish list for specific items. DH’s family used to spend hours opening gifts and it was pretty painful for me.

    For many years our tradition has been to have big gatherings, 20 or more guests, for the holidays. But lately with family changes it’s been a bit different. We plan to have whoever can come to Thanksgiving at our house this year. And both DH and I have decided to let picky eaters bring their own dishes. I’m making sausage dressing and a turkey that’s probably not organic. We’re not customizing our menu for guests who are gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or who only eat meat from particular farms with which they’re familiar. We’ll see how it goes.

    I grew up in the desert and my first Easters here in the northeast were awful because it was so darn cold. I’d love to travel during the holidays and that may happen in the next few years.

  28. farms with which they’re familiar.

    I misread it as “turkey they are familiar with”.

  29. We went on a low season cruise in the Mediterranean last New Years – lots of family groups, nice weather. Missed one of the ultra cold snaps in New England. I recommend it.

  30. Birthdays always involved donuts for breakfast, and helium balloons, and dinner at the birthday person’s restaurant of choice. They have outgrown the balloons but I get them anyway. We also typically take the day off together for our anniversary, although last year we did a family trip. It’s the week in May when universities here get out for summer, but K-12 is still in session, and before DH starts work. It’s easy for DD (low man in the totem pole at work) to take vacation because no one with school age kids wants off. I’m sentimental about getting to have the kids go with us since it’s clearly a stage that is coming to an end as they both take trips with friends now.

    Halloween used to be a bigger de when I lived in another neighborhood. Here my neighbors don’t do a group thing, and my kids are grown, so I just give out lots of candy to the 60 or so trick or treaters we’ll get. Thanksgiving this year will be just my family. I’m feeling a little down about that, because my parents want to host just one holiday this year due to my dad’s health issues, and want all of us to come at the same time. My family doesn’t like turkey, so I have to figure out what to do.

    Christmas will be with my parents, siblings and the kids. My mom will have a cake for DD’s (25th!!!) bday the first night. We have a nice dinner and exchange gifts Christmas Eve, with lots of wine and card games or board games. I’m really looking forward to it. I bring the Festivus episode Seinfeld DVD. New Years we are homebodies.

  31. This is a sore spot in our household…SO doesn’t really feel the need to celebrate anything. Now that DDs are both 15+, he sees no reason to do anything special. DD#1 feels a bit hurt by his non-recognition, but DD#2 doesn’t seem to mind as much.

    I talk with my immediate family about how THEY want to celebrate their birthday and then try to make that happen (within reason). I always have a birthday card and some sort of present for them ON their birthday, even if the main celebration is a different day. Christmas is the same – if we celebrate early/late due to a trip, I have something small for them ON that day.

    My mom always used to call me at my birth time (too early in the morning) so she could be first to wish me a happy birthday. DDs were born between 8-10 pm, so that doesn’t work for them!

  32. When the kids were still around we celebrated Valentine’s, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, T-day, Christmas with full seasonal decorations inside and out and those made for an excuse for DW to bake something everyone loved.

    Birthdays were (and are for everyone who might be around) cake and dinner of choice + party, until they got to be middle school when they could invite a few friends to go to the movies or go-karting or mini golf then to a place like Dave and Busters for dinner and a few arcade games.

    I don’t really care about celebrating my birthday, but it’s a nice excuse (not that we really need an excuse) to go out to dinner whatever night it is.

    Until last year DW and I celebrated our prior 5? anniversaries by taking the day off (or if it was on a weekend taking the Friday before or Monday after off) and spending 1:1 time together, no chores/errands, maybe going to a couple of local wineries, then a nice dinner out. Last year we traveled to Charleston SC and this year we’re going to Asheville.

  33. I love holidays. And birthdays! We haven’t decorated for Halloween this year because of the TV show but I usually put out all of the kids’ stuff they made in preschool. DH doesn’t like decorating for holidays but tolerates it since I do. For birthdays I put up crepe paper around the table – when I was growing up and in our last house there was a chandelier so we put them in streamers out to the moldings etc., but this house doesn’t have a chandelier around the table so I just have to string them in between all the lights. The birthday person picks his or her cake. #1 picks ice cream cake every year, I make myself whatever I want (pumpkin chocolate chip this year), and #2 and #3 vary. DH never wants a cake but as long as I make something creamy enough (close enough to ice cream) he likes it, like a cheesecake.

    This year I ‘worked from home’ on my birthday but did a couple of rehearsals and got a massage instead before going out to dinner with DH. :) The other tradition is to do cards starting with “roses are red, violets are blue” and then going off into totally non-sequitur (and often non-rhyming) poetry about the birthday person.

    We always decorate for Xmas and get the tree on Black Friday and Saturday, respectively, but this year I have to ask if we can tag the tree on Black Friday and then pick it up later since Thanksgiving is so early. I also have to humidify the room more!

    LfB, good luck on everything this week!

  34. “Which cards if any do you save?”
    “I also tend to save photos from Christmas cards.”

    I also save Xmas card photos, but have been trying to scan them to reduce clutter in the house. Similarly, I try to scan any cards that are memorable for any reason, e.g., handmade cards.

  35. I love this post. It is fun reading about everyone’s traditions. I just got back from a Halloween party for 6 year olds. It was a lot of fun. The host loves Halloween and commented that she is disappointed in the lack of Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Over the years I’ve gotten more into it, but this year I’m taking off. I love celebrating the kids birthdays but actually hate the kid party part of it.

    My tradition for my dad’s birthday and Father’s day is to find funny and insulting cards. It is hard to do because there are a lot of sappy cards and also a lot of fart joke cards for dad’s. My dad is a very sentimental person, but I’m not. He knows that the time I spend looking for the perfect insulting card is how I show my love.

  36. Off topic, one of my Facebook friends announced very proudly today that her daughter received two college acceptances, and she even named the schools. I don’t know how to tell her she’s committed a huge faux pas and college updates should only be discussed in private so you don’t risk upsetting anyone who might have received less than good news.

  37. This is pretty early to receive college acceptances. I’m guessing they are from schools with rolling admissions.

    I’m not sure that it’s a faux pas to announce that now, since it’s not the time when most kids are receiving in/out notices from colleges. On days when colleges announce decisions, it’s nice to be sensitive to the kids who will receive rejections or wait list notifications (which in many cases are effectively rejections), but on a rather random day in October when few if any other kids will be hearing one way or another, I don’t think it’s a faux pas.

  38. Oh New Years we always stay in. That was a feature of being in a couple. We always watch hockey on NYD – some years in person. Plans are afoot for the trip to South Bend this year.

    LFB – good luck with the big weekend! Hope the illness goes away.

  39. We have done trips for our major anniversaries (1,5,10 and counting), but none were on the actual weekend for a variety of reasons.

  40. I am also adamant about putting up the tree in the day after thanksgiving and taking it down before NYE.

  41. Our outdoor Christmas lights have been going strong for 336 days. It makes me smile every time I see them.

    We traditionally put the fake tree and the lights up the day after Thanksgiving and take them down on New Years Day. Last December we endured the threat and horrible air from the Thomas Fire until we were able to flee on 12/19. It felt really bad when I took the tree down on 1/1, so I delayed taking the lights down. Then we had the mudslide disaster on 1/9. And so the lights have just stayed up.

    This will be the 4th year with our cat from a feral mom. Her first year I only put lights on the tree, and she climbed the tree several times. As an experiment I put one ornament near the top of the tree and she climbed up the tree to knock it off. The last two years I only put lights on the tree. She was too big to climb it, but she did knock the tree down each year. This year I might put a few non-glass ornaments near the top of the tree and see what happens.

    So while our Christmas traditions are evolving, our Thanksgiving celebrations have stayed relatively constant. My parents and my brother and his family come to our house to celebrate Thanksgiving on Wednesday, then they head back home on Thursday for a big tournament on Friday. After hosting on Wednesday, we travel to feast at one of DH’s cousin’s on Thursday. This may be the last year with this schedule since the oldest niece will be away at college next year.

    Next year will be our 30th wedding anniversary, so we will probably plan a trip somewhere.

  42. Wow, SBJ. Do you turn on the lights every evening?

    I want to stay open to evolving traditions since I think that helps me accept and embrace changes, even if some changes are hard to accept.

    I recently saw that year-round trees are becoming more popular. They’re decorated according to the season, with Halloween being very popular. I love my Christmas tree and lights, but I’m very happy to see it come down because it makes things seem more cluttered. I do keep my milagros/miracles tree up year round and I’ve thought that as I get older that may be the only tree I use to celebrate Christmas.

  43. July, I love your milagros tree.

    We always do Advent calendars, since I was a little kid. My kids always liked the Lego Advent calendars. This year, we are trying to decide whether to do one or not, since the oldest isn’t around.

  44. I need to buy a new fake tree. Does any one have suggestions on where to buy a nice looking tree ? Fake than looks real and easy to set up and store away.

  45. July, I love your tree ! My parents have gone to a table top size tree. It makes it easier to set up and store away but still adds a festive look.

  46. @Ivy re Roku TV. from Wednesday’s cord cutting discussion. . Exec summary. I like it. Not elite video quality, but is the secondary TV.

    I needed a small (in modern terms) 43 in TV. I wanted one that was all screen with just a thin black border because of weight and space constraints. At that size there are not a lot of high end options – it is a budget category. I got a TCL TV with Roku installed for 279 plus tax at Costco. I owned a very old wireless only Amazon fire stick which was plugged into a 9 year old dumb flat screen 18 in from the router (no ability to connect via ethernet cable), and it sometimes froze up, so I would have replaced it with a Roku (not a basic stick) or similar appliance for 75 dollars or so.

    It took about a half hour to set up and works great. I use an ethernet cable to attach to the FIOS router, so if you use wireless or have worse internet service YMMV. It is basically idiot proof, but you do have to sit with your phone or laptop and link your existing accounts (so you need to have the login and password) with the Roku interface. Just as with Roku standalone, you can choose to link a credit card and can purchase movies or services through the box. Not required, though. You can to adjust the settings to default either to the Roku home screen or cable input (for us one of the HDMI ports from a STB). It came with the basic Roku remote. I could program the standard FIOS remote to turn it on and control the programming for DH. The sound is acceptable for the purpose. It works just like a Roku box, not like the limited apps on any so called smart TV. You can cast to it. I tested out You tube, fireplace and fish screensavers, Amazon prime, PBS, and some of the included free movie channels.

    If you want a larger TV from the same maker you can go up to the 6 series that, I think, comes with a voice activated remote and has better picture quality. Vizio has higher quality TVs at a slightly higher price for all sizes and you can add the Roku or other appliance of your choice.

    Finn suggests eschewing a smart TV and seeking out a dumb TV – non internet enabled flat screen like my old one (almost unavailable nowadays), a or tuner-free home theater display (marketing dud since cable cutters like to hook up an antenna). This is sort of like putting in a special order for a standard (stick shift) transmission on an ordinary new car (not sports, performance or off road). You may be able to get it, but it will cost MORE than an equivalent car you can bargain for off the lot. The Best Buy is full of smart TVs on sale.

  47. Louise, I shopped for an artificial tree last year and chose a 7.5ft Unlit Artificial Christmas Tree Douglas Fir – Wondershop from Target. There was free shipping and $25 off a $75+ Christmas purchase on Black Friday. Unlit trees are harder to find but we prefer them because when a light fails, you can replace the light or light string instead of the tree.

  48. Thanks WCE !
    Here, we went from warm, rainy, muggy to colder and still rainy. Hardly any crisp clear fall days and hardly any leaves turning color. Halloween day weather is looking good though.

  49. Unlit trees are harder to find but we prefer them because when a light fails, you can replace the light or light string instead of the tree.

    Our lighted tree came with a bunch of extra bulbs.

  50. Costco also has good artificial trees. One branch of ours has a few lights out, and I meant to buy one right after Christmas last year but forgot. I just turned that branch to the back corner, and the rest of the tree looked good. I may do the same thing and wait until after Christmas to buy. Since we are not traveling for Thanksgiving this year and I am taking the whole week off, I may put up my decorations in the days leading up to Christmas.

  51. Finn, so it’s okay to post about acceptances on some days but not others? Does the quality of the school make a difference, like if it’s a directional state U vs a HSS?

  52. DD, just my opinion, but I think it’s OK most of the time. There’s just a few times when a lot of schools, especially HSS that are reaches to most kids, send out decisions, and a lot of kids could be disappointed, and its’ not so much a faux pas to announce as it is, IMO, a bit insensitive to make a big deal of an acceptance.

    The main times that sensitivity is called for would be in mid-December, when EA/ED decisions are sent out, and in March, when most HSS send out their RD decisions.

    Things might also be different at non-totebaggy schools, where you have very few, if any, kids who would be really disappointed by a rejection.

  53. I’m late to the party, but I love celebrating. My kid does not, which makes me sad. He finds routine much more reassuring than hoopla, doesn’t like the pressure of deadlines & schedules, and finds crowds difficult to deal with. The large, open-sided tent at his cousin’s wedding just over a year ago was too much and he spent most of the time in the back seat of the car, wishing he could enjoy such things like everyone else. He prefers to get things when the need/wish arises, rather than save up for a special occasion, as I found out a few years back when he used his saved allowance and money from his video game to buy the big thing he was going to get for his birthday. When he was a preteen, he bought me a few mother’s day and birthday presents or cards, but generally does not. I tried for years t get my relatives to work with him on that and plannhisnpresents for me the way our parents did with us for each other’s birthday, but nothing doing.

    What he enjoys and does well, however, is Brthday Boy/Girl is Queen/King For A Day. This year he went to a restaurant serving a cuisine he was really unsure about and ate something new for my birthday. It took a huge effort on his part, and was therefore special. He is very nonplussed by gifts that say “I had to get you something, so here you go”, would much rather have money, but this year I managed to come up with several things he was surprised/happy to get, and I spread them out to relatives, so he got good stuff from them.

    This chart is related to the discussion on core cutting. It shows the percent of population of various countries who pay for anmusic or video streaming service. I don’t usually expect the US to be ahead in any measure of tech, but take a look. https://de.statista.com/infografik/15916/kauf-von-video-und-musik-streaming-abonnements/?fbclid=IwAR0jo1ZT460daAemK5nkWjALQoEMCV51ZWqFmgpr-u6fGT3YA26GGDU7Rg0
    We are in there, with a streaming service. Meme, I want to know what streaming services you’ve seen that lead to your claim that this is more expensive than buying a smart tv. Because that is outrageous and way off base in my experience.

    Tying the two together, the boy did not get a projector for his birthday, but that is still under consideration for the future.

    I’ve always gotten live trees, but want an artificial this year. I can never figure out the best way to dispose of a live tree, so they hang out in our living room way too long. Filling landfills with them is just stupid.

  54. Mooshi, your mention of late birthday celebrations reminds me of your planning for DS1’s grad party a couple months after the fact. How did it go?

    Laura, I hope everything goes well this week!! May I suggest paying the fee for the college application?

    Cassandra, sounds like I’d like The Valley as much as Tampa. Thanks for the warning.

  55. Mémé, the dumb TV in our family room is a TCL also. We’ve had no complaints or problems with it.

    It’s been at least a couple years since we last bought a TV, and apparently the market has changed, and the price premium for a smart TV has gone down to where it sometimes is non-existent, so my suggestion to buy a dumb TV should be modified to not paying a premium for a smart TV that’s more than the cost of an external device that provides smarts.

    But I believe my suggestion to look at buying a device like a Firestick or Roku before buying a smart TV to replace an existing dumb TV still makes sense, as long as the existing TV performance as a dumb TV is still satisfactory.

  56. I was concerned about buying a lighted tree but my current tree lights had no issues. I guess the technology for lights has gotten more reliable.

  57. I have gone through 3-4 artificial trees over the years, and except for one time the reason I had to get a replacement was because the lights failed. They always include extra bulbs, but whole sections of light string mysteriously stop working, making the tree unusable. Except now for our current tree I decided to clip out the lights and keep using the tree with fairy lights strung on it.

    So I agree with WCE’s preference for unlit artificial trees. As it turns out, I find fairy lights very easy to string and to store. I string these lights all over the house, and all of them can be stored in one shoe box sized container. The milagros tree I posted has fairy lights on it.

    Also, because my space is limited I have always bought narrow size trees.

    In my ongoing project to cull out possessions and downsize, every year I vow to get rid of extra holiday decorations. Except every year I’m rushed and I just put back everything into the attic without going through the containers. Maybe I should tackle that project another time.

  58. I bought two Costco Christmas trees a few years ago and love them. Decent looking, reasonable price and weight, and can switch the lights from clear to multi-colors.

  59. Saac didn’t mean to be confusing. In the post on this thread all I was trying to say is that buying a new dumb TV or large monitor versus buying a new so called smart TV might actually be more expensive. If someone chooses to consume streaming content on screens of multipurpose devices such as phones tablets laptops desktop monitors of course there is no incremental equipment cost incurred. And from the earlier thread, for the exact channel and sports lineup we use I concede savings would exist if we cancelled cable and went to 100 percent streaming but not in sufficient amount to justify making it extremely difficult for my husband to navigate without my constant assistance.

  60. Meme, at this point, I suppose there are two parallel systems—tv and monitor (or however you want to label them). Which is better comes down to the two questions you suggest—which type of monitor is more affordable, and personal comfort (although you’ll recall plenty of jeering on here when I’ve said smart TVs and cable are more than I want to deal with, especially because they seem to be a dying technology).

    Louise, by improved tech, do you mean series vs parallel?

  61. Finn, I don’t live in a world where many kids apply to HSS, so that’s probably why I don’t understand why people here consider college apps to be such a sensitive topic that should only be whispered about in hushed tones.

    I can never figure out the best way to dispose of a live tree, so they hang out in our living room way too long. Filling landfills with them is just stupid.

    Denver mulches then and gives away the mulch in the spring.

    But I prefer fake trees. The live ones constantly shed needles and they don’t look as nice as the fake ones IMO.

  62. At my kids school, the siblings are the ones who blurt out college related information. So, from which colleges their older siblings are visiting, to whether they are doing well enough to get in and which college they will be attending, the little tattle tales feed the grapevine.

  63. In our household, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree. We have neighbors who actually own a Christmas tree farm in the town next to ours. We go to the farm on one of the three weekends they are open, and go into the fields with a saw and a cart (which they provide), and pick and cut our own. The young-adult members of the owners’ family will shake and bale the tree for us, and then help us get it on our car. Hot cocoa and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows is available. It’s very Norman Rockwell and a really lovely way to get into the Christmas spirit.

  64. “smart TVs and cable are more than I want to deal with, especially because they seem to be a dying technology”

    I don’t see smart TVs as dying technology. Video in general is growing, and smart TVs seem to facilitate viewing from more sources than any other current devices.

  65. NoB – agreed. Although the trees around here are much more expensive than the ones I was used to growing up ($15, still!). Fake trees don’t smell nice, either!

  66. We had real trees growing up, as there was a farm in town & the trees were pretty inexpensive. I love the smell & they really do look fantastic when you can pick a good one. As an adult urban dweller – I go for the pre-lit fake. Costco trees are all too big for our space, so we’ve generally gone for the narrow or smaller ones from Target or Home Depot.

  67. I do have great childhood memories of going to the Christmas tree farm though. Even though half the time, I got into a fight with my brother, wrestling to tree into/onto the car was a pain, and the weather was never ideal. But I can close my eyes and remember the smell with the Christmas music in the background.

  68. Until last year, we got a ~12-13′ live tree to put under our vaulted ceiling each year. Last year, that room was inaccessible due to remodeling and this year, we’re traveling for Christmas. I hope to get a big tree next year, but DH is tired of the hassle. It’s difficult to put up and time-consuming to decorate such a large tree, but it looks awesome when finished.

  69. “Finn, I don’t live in a world where many kids apply to HSS, so that’s probably why I don’t understand why people here consider college apps to be such a sensitive topic that should only be whispered about in hushed tones.”

    That could be true. But I think any parent gleefully listing multiple college acceptances just rubs many other parents the wrong way. I go back and forth with what I consider too much sharing and “bragging”, both on social media and IRL. And it’s certainly true that college applications are stressful for many families. One FB friend just posted a photo of the scholarship letter his kid received (with dollar amounts) and then followed up with a status about another college acceptance. Some people just like to share all that stuff. One parent shared their kid’s SAT score because she was so proud. I find some of this cringe worthy more than anything else.

  70. My friends posted plenty of pictures of prom and graduation but no colleges were mentioned in public posts. I had to IM them separately to find out. I don’t know whether this is cultural because photos of kids are shared but not their accomplishments.

  71. One parent shared their kid’s SAT score because she was so proud. I find some of this cringe worthy more than anything else.

    Harrumph. In MY day, kids were independent enough to brag about their own scores and college admissions. We didn’t need our mommies for shaming, gloating, etc. We did it all by ourselves! Uphill both ways! In the snow.

  72. But I think any parent gleefully listing multiple college acceptances just rubs many other parents the wrong way.

    How about if they post them in a non-gleeful way? I think it’s sad that people feel you should downplay accomplishments because other people didn’t achieve the same thing. It’s like 7 year old soccer where they don’t keep score because they don’t want the losing team to be upset.

    This is the stuff I want to hear about from my friends. Your kid was accepted to three colleges and got a scholarship offer – that’s awesome, please, tell me all about it! (Although I don’t need to see a photo of the scholarship letter.)

    Just this weekend, a friend’s daughter’s team won their state HS softball championship. Should she not have posted about it? To paraphrase Finn: A lot of kids could be disappointed because their teams didn’t win, and it’s a bit insensitive to make a big deal of a championship.

  73. But I think any parent gleefully listing multiple college acceptances just rubs many other parents the wrong way.

    It is a fact, universally understood, that no one wants to hear about your good fortune.

  74. ” In MY day, kids were independent enough to brag about their own scores and college admissions.”

    My kid told me that none of his crowd wants to talk about college admissions, and hate it when adults ask. He had absolutely no clue where any of his friends were admitted or even where they were heading until graduation.

  75. I am on a longstanding mailing list that was organized around the experience of being breastfeeding and working moms, back when the kids were babies. We are still going strong, with many RL friendships formed from it. And yes, college acceptances (and rejections, and the whole dang process) are extensively discussed on it. We talk about everything that is important in our lives at a given time – not just kid related either. And yeah, the college process is something we think about as we go through it.

  76. I agree with Denver Dad- I like to hear about the good fortune of my friends kids. I have known many of those kids for so long.

  77. I agree with DD & MM. I WANT to hear about the good things that my friends & their kids are doing, including college acceptances. I DO want to hear about my friends and family members good fortune. I also want to hear about their bad fortune. This is what friendship is.

    I think misuse of social media to broadcast every aspect of your life for 500 “friends” is a different topic. That includes sharing photos of scholarship letters and SAT scores to a wide audience.

    “He had absolutely no clue where any of his friends were admitted or even where they were heading until graduation.”

    Now that seems odd to me. Not wanting to talk to adults (especially your random neighbor or aunt) – that I get. But not talking about college at all with your friends – that I don’t get. We talked about it constantly – went on college visits together, compared dorms/campuses, visited older siblings, etc.

    @Meme – Congrats to your Sox!

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