What’s it like to be childless during the holidays?

Hi there. I’m double-posting today because I’m having eye surgery tomorrow and don’t know how soon I’ll be back online. With luck, it will be next week, but just in case . . .

Let’s talk about Christmas–or Chanukah, which began yesterday. Do you feel left out at this time of year because you don’t have children to exchange gifts or celebrate with? What about stepchildren? Do they fill the gap? Do you spend the holidays together or apart? Do you exchange gifts? Or do the stepchildren disappear because your spouse doesn’t have custody during the holidays?

Do you skip the whole thing by heading to a sunny resort somewhere?

What’s the holiday story at your house?

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4 thoughts on “What’s it like to be childless during the holidays?

  1. Traditionally in my family we've had Christmas dinner in the evening (and at times I've done a midday dinner with friends and gotten two), but now my sister-in-law has taken it over and she has it in the early afternoon, because some out-of-town family members want to be able to drive home before dark. This means that I wind up spending Christmas evening alone with my cats, which I find really depressing.

    Not having kids around is OK, though–kids these days have extremely expensive tastes.

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  2. I don't feel left out but im starting to feel scared of christmas now… because i will be the one who is invited, not the one hosting; the one who is available any time when everybody else has to make plans according to relatives of partners, kids' christmas play in church and so on…. because i can offer to just be there when they want me, but who is going to bother to come to MY house at the time I set…? So i'm not left out but my role is painfully clear, it seems.

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  3. The holidays are a hard time of year for me. Christmas has become a children's holiday. We've got a very small (and troubled) extended family, so we don't have someone who throws a wonderful, lively Christmas dinner.

    But I think that there must be ways in which this is hard for parents. Unless you have an endless stream of little ones, your kids become teenagers and often turn on you. They usually turn back, but it is not the same as having little ones (these days, it can be a long time before someone becomes a grandparent, if it happens at all).

    We're taking my mother out for a posh dinner on Christmas Eve. I am hoping that borrowing a little festivity will cheer me up.

    If I was healthier, I'd volunteer at my church. They always have a big dinner, and it takes so many people to manage the thing from start to end.

    I need to make a trip to Toys R Us. It usually cures any wistfulness, and makes a Christmas with the cats much more appealing.

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  4. Most Christmases I have killed myself flying across the country to my home town to spend the holidays with my parents, brother and sister in-law and niece and nephew. This is exhausting and I always feel like an old curmudgeon because it's chaotic, but it is the family thing. I come back feeling horrible. My partner does not come with me.

    When we stay home, we are fortunate to have an aunt/uncle team (siblings not partners) that put on a small but fun party – adults only by circumstance. I'm looking forward to it this year, but without it the holidays would be very empty for us indeed.

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