A “Single” Christmas

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.

Single during the holidays? Good for you!

Pets put up with so much 🙂

Once upon a time, as a single adult, I found it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. As with so many holidays, it seemed that our society favored couples, and particularly couples with young children. Taking pictures with Santa, baking Christmas cookies, buying and decorating a Christmas tree, etc. All are activities one can do alone, but are more fun with others. I dreaded that big day, December 25th, when I thought I was supposed to wake up excited about all the presents and loved ones around my tree. It seemed the best I could do was avoid attending my own self-pity party as a single adult during the Christmas holidays.

Then, one year, I had an epiphany (which was appropriate enough for the season). I realized I had been creating my own misery by trying to re-create the feelings I had as a child on Christmas morning — a nearly impossible goal to attain. So I shifted my focus from Christmas day to the Christmas season, and that made all the difference.

I also began to appreciate the advantages of being single during the holidays. It’s certainly less expensive in terms of gift-giving, I don’t have to attend a spouse’s office party, I can decorate according to my own taste, and I can moderate my stress by participating in as many or as few holiday activities as I wish. And if I really want to be around children to experience their joy and enthusiasm, there are plenty of community pageants and parades I can go to. Or, I can just “borrow” my sister’s kids and give them back at the end of the day!

I also found a great little book, titled, “The Little Book of Christmas Joys: 432 things to do for yourself & others that just might make this the best Christmas ever.” One of the 432 things is a reminder that the best way to overcome the blues is to do something kind for someone else. Or, if you want to start with baby steps, another is to dangle a favorite ornament from your rear-view mirror.

If you are single at Christmas, with or without kids, how do you feel about the holidays and what are your tips for having a happy holiday season?