There is no doubt about it. Christmas for a single adult (i.e. one who is not in a committed relationship) with no kids is vastly different than Christmas for other adults. Not better or worse, just different.
In my case, I am single and childless by choice, as well as by circumstance, so my perspective is different than someone who longs to be a spouse and/or parent. In some ways, I feel I have the best of both worlds. As an aunt, I have the option, rather than the obligation of being around children at Christmastime. I am able to control the pace of my holiday activity, keeping it as simple or hectic as I choose.
I suspect I was a late bloomer when it comes to figuring out how to enjoy the holidays. For years, I focused on the holiDAY, December 25th. (You will note that I am not attempting to be politically correct here. I celebrate Christmas, so that is my point of reference.) I eventually realized that that mindset created tremendous pressure for Christmas day to be perfect, which it rarely was. When I shifted my focus to the variety of fun events leading up to Christmas, I enjoyed the entire season rather than just a day.
Since I have a December birthday, celebrating it with friends and family is part of the holiday tradition for me.
Other local events I look forward to each year are the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition; the Argosy Christmas Ships; various Santa breakfasts; ACT Theater production of A Christmas Carol; the carousel at Westlake Center; the Snow Train to Leavenworth, and; our family Christmas Eve gathering. With all these heart-warming events, our family Christmas day gathering comes as a capstone, rather than the central focus.
I certainly feel less emphasis on gift-giving as a single person, and the gifts I do give are more often “experience” gifts such as event tickets. This is especially true with my nieces and nephews. They get so many gifts from grandparents, parents, and Santa that I think many get lost in the shuffle. As much as children might want to see lots of presents under the tree, I do believe there is a saturation point, after which they become desensitized.
Giving “experience” gifts also fits with my personal values around trying to live green.
What about you? What holiday traditions do you enjoy most? If you are single, do you feel it affects your enjoyment of the holidays one way or the other?
However you celebrate, I hope you experience the joy and peace that is available to us all.