Some Tidbits for Your Childless Christmas Stocking

I’ll bet most of us are going a little crazy with Christmas only a week away. I was out of town for my dad’s surgery in early December (he’s doing great), so I got all off schedule. To catch up, I decided to do everything in one day: shopping, cards and decorating. For those inclined to try it, take my advice and don’t. About a third of the way through the decorations, I started sobbing. It was just too hard with no kids, no husband, and no family nearby. Why bother? The dog hovered around me, trying to lick my face as I dove deep into my pity party.
The next day I was over it and finished what I could, deciding I didn’t need to do everything I had done every year before. To be honest, not having children or grandchildren meant a lot fewer gifts to worry about. I had my presents in the mail before the post office closed at noon. Now I’m done decorating and almost finished with the cards. I’m finally able to listen to Christmas carols.
As we established in last week’s post, I don’t have any young children in my life. Everybody’s kids have grown up. But that’s not the case for lots of childless people. This time of year, they find themselves surrounded by people obsessed with making Christmas special for their kids. I’ll bet some of you can identify with this reader’s dilemma over the family gift exchange in the Ask Carolyn column. I like Carolyn’s answer. Do you?
In lieu of any brilliant thoughts of my own today, I offer two additional articles that I think you’ll find worth reading. In the first one, Jody Day of Gateway-Women offers a powerful essay, “Childlessness is a Political, as Well as a Deeply Personal, Issue” on the difficulties of being childless at Christmas  and throughout the year.
This piece, “I’m So Glad I’ve Frozen My Eggs,” linked from the Have Children or Not blog, offers a fascinating look at one possibility for women who are worried about not being able to have children until after their eggs are too old.
Happy reading, and please try to enjoy all the good things about the holidays and let the rest go. As always, I welcome your comments.
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3 thoughts on “Some Tidbits for Your Childless Christmas Stocking

  1. Hi Sue,

    Anon S here to say “Merry Christmas”. Life in my world (with my husband) has been fabulous. Our big project has come to completion and I'm happy to say that with the exception of a few family members, we've been treated to the fan fare that I've always wanted to experience.

    I've been busy and have little time for thoughts of the children I don't have. In fact I'm enjoying sitting sideline and watching my brothers children. I find the more I spend with my nieces and nephews the more fodder I have in my arsenal to contribute to various conversations. Don't get me wrong – I'm still an “outsider” but I get by and I'm still in the game when conversation turns towards something I really enjoy talking about.

    Still, I know this life we have, is a cycle and things might be different in a few weeks (or whatever). It's wonderful for me to have you as an outlet. I'm learning valuable lessons from your writings and for that I feel blessed.

    As for the article about the gift exchange – I understand the couple wanting to make a statement. A few years ago a new mom in the family wanted to steer the adult gift exchange into a child only exchange. She argued that as adults none of us really “needed” anything and Christmas was about the children anyway.

    Luckily for us, a few of the more experienced parents pointed out that their kids get tons of crap from everywhere. Candy from Sunday school, precious but junky Christmas ornaments from the classroom, baubbles from the babysitters house, gifts from grandparents, santa, and it all equaled to TOO MUCH JUNK.

    Another parent (of four children) wasn't excited about having to purchase 4 gifts for his kids to participate in the exchange.

    Finally we pointed out that we enjoyed the exchange and without children we'd be excluded.

    Luckily “new mom” was shot down. Would I have not attended that portion of the day? No, I'd be there and I'd be enjoying it. But I would miss out on the fun of the adults and their often hilarious gifts. I'd miss out on my pleasure of purchasing the gift for “my person”. It's great to give to the needy but some of us want that personal exchange from people we love and have thought about.

    Anyway, blowing off a bit of steam here and gearing up for this coming week. Take care of yourself and sing your heart out. 🙂

    Like

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