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Celebrating Christmas in families with no children

(25 Posts)
OverinaFlash Tue 31-Oct-17 13:29:57

Hello all.

I absolutely love Christmas and always have. In my family and in-laws there are no children (youngest is nearly 18), and so I wanted to start a thread for how people spend the days around Christmas when there are no kids. Traditions that have developed, what do you do to feel Christmassy, how do you spend any free time you get doing Christmassy things, what do you do that only really works because it's all adults around. The family isn't without children by choice, it's just the way it is, for now at least, and I want to make the most of it.

dottypotter Tue 31-Oct-17 13:56:53

not really bothered by Christmas just carry on as normal.

PJBanana Tue 31-Oct-17 14:06:21

We’re like this. Our Christmas for the last few years has been me and DP, my mum and stepdad and my grandma.

I actually really enjoy it. We sometimes do midnight mass the night before or go to the pub for a few. On the day, we enjoy —a lot— of Baileys, and are able to have a much more relaxed day than when there are kids around.

We usually do a festive breakfast (well, bacon butties and Buck’s Fizz), followed by present opening. Then we have a later lunch and usually some more ‘grown up’ games, followed by more drinks, nibbles and an evening on the sofa. It’s relaxed but I love it.

Scribblegirl Tue 31-Oct-17 14:28:01

We're like this. I think there's two schools of thought - either you kind of abandon the Christmas 'magic' so to speak - or go full throttle for it. So usually there's a late night Xmas eve pub trip, presents in the morning after a lie in, a lovely long walk and grown up games and films. In latter years there haven't needed to be the nursing home visits that once were part of the day. I think the secret is just everyone being on board and willing to make an effort - knowing that the 'magic'ness doesn't happen organically. Usually if we're at my mum and dad's there's lots of parlour games with smutty humour and the second that the brandy kicks in we stick on a load of old LPs and sing/dance like lunatics grin

That said, it's at Christmas that I always get very broody - it doesn't feel the same without any little ones around (and I know others feel the same - here's looking at you MIL!) It's not in our plans for a couple of years yet but DP has got used to me drunkenly propositioning him on Christmas night wink

Scribblegirl Tue 31-Oct-17 14:28:25

Sorry PJ, subconsciously nicked your opening line there!

DancesWithOtters Tue 31-Oct-17 14:42:16

We are a couple with no children, and there are no small children in our immediate family. Our traditions are mostly centred around non-child-friendly food, expensive booze and swearing. We:

Have lovely expensive cheese/wine/champagne/cocktails
Watch all of the Christmas South Park Episodes
Play Cards Against Humanity
Smoked salmon and champagne for brunch
Go out for a big fancy meal between Christmas and NYE
Make mulled wine
Go to the pub/to friends houses for games and yet more cheese and wine
Have a day of full Tarantino

Zaphodsotherhead Tue 31-Oct-17 16:51:40

I have adult children, of whom I get as many home as are free to travel around the day (work on Boxing Day/Christmas Eve permitting). We do late all-in breakfast of 'posh' things we don't normally have (smoked salmon scrambled eggs, waffles and maple syrup, etc), spread present opening throughout the day, play Cards Against Humanity whilst eating ridiculous amounts of snacks. Late (evening) dinner, TV, general mooching around, and a Christmas Day dog walk somewhere nice.

OverinaFlash Thu 02-Nov-17 12:09:05

All sounds lovely! Although I was a bit bemused by the first poster who doesn't like Christmas but is posting on a thread about Christmas in the Christmas topic!

Sounds like quite a lot of you do similar things to my family, it is also the first year with no grandparents sadly, which also means a different feel to things and there's less care/help required than before, which frees things up a bit so it's nice to get a few ideas of ways to spread out the day and enjoy the relaxedness of it.

I hear you re broodiness Scribblegirl! It was around Christmas that my due date should have been, although it will be the second time this comes around so I hope it won't feel quite as bad as it did last year.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Thu 02-Nov-17 12:13:38

My dses are all adults - 20, 22 and 24 - and Christmas has changed, over the years - we still decorate, do stockings and presents, and have the big Christmas dinner, but have dropped some of the traditions we had when they were children.

Looking forward, I can see the time coming when they have their own families, and dh and I might be on our own at Christmas, and I think we would scale back on some things - the meal, for example - maybe have a duck rather than goose - but I would still want to have all the things I enjoy about Christmas - the decorations (especially the tree and the twinkly lights), presents (I love finding the right thing for someone) etc.

Lottapianos Thu 02-Nov-17 12:20:43

Love your post Dances. There seems to be this tyranny around Christmas being 'all about the children'. Well a) Christmas is about Christmas, not children and b) thanks a lot, that feels just great if you're someone who doesn't have children of your own or children in the family. You absolutely can have a good time at Christmas, on your own terms, and make as much or as little of a fuss about it as you like. You don't have to buy in to any of the hype.

DP and I have no children and usually spend Christmas with his parents. I see Christmas as a chance to have a couple of days off work (I know we're lucky) and eat and drink a bit more than usual. So expectations are low and that helps! FIL very much gets into the spirit and cooks a full Christmas dinner, all while in very good humour. MIL sits on the couch all day watching telly and moaning about Christmas and what a hassle it all is despite her having to organise precisely nothing. So I guess what I'm saying is - be like FIL, not MIL, in terms of attitude at least. Plan stuff that you will actually enjoy, whether that's pub visits or board games or long walks or a day in pyjamas in front of the telly. Eat and drink like a pig if that's your thing (it is for me!). And avoid anyone who tells you it's all about the children. Its not.

PollytheDolly Thu 02-Nov-17 12:24:01

Our DCs are 22 and 21. (They go back home at Christmas with their DF and friends and family - we (Mum and step dad) live across the country but their uni’s are near us during the year). We are taking our vintage caravan to the moors for Christmas, just us and the dog. Then driving across country and going to meet up with DCs and my family, again in caravan until New Year. Can’t wait!

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 02-Nov-17 12:27:41

For me the best thing pre-kids was the hours of food prep on Xmas day, glass of wine in hand of course, and being almost too full from nibbling to eat the actual meal. But then eating way too much and sitting round the table for hours drinking and eating even more.

Things are very different now. I've been pregnant or breastfeeding solidly since 2012 so pretty much no booze is involved. I just cook something super fast and even that involves constant interruptions (then doesn't get eaten). Lunch is over in no time and off to the park or setting up art work or some other responsible child friendly task.

All xmas is nice, but I do daydream about the slower pace of old. Merry xmas!

Ragwort Thu 02-Nov-17 12:30:26

Personally I enjoyed Christmas a lot more before I became a mum (I know I'm not supposed to admit that grin). I really don't agree with the sentiment 'Christmas is all about the children' - it is not!

Meaningful Church services instead of sitting through endless 3 year olds performing Nativity scenes, sophisticated drinks parties, long, leisurely meals, long hikes in the countryside, catching up with friends & family, relaxing with a good book, board/card games (decent ones, not for children) volunteering (Christmas meals for the lonely etc) - now that DS is getting older I am starting to enjoy Christmas again.

ShesAStar Thu 02-Nov-17 17:42:51

I loved Christmas before the DC. It was so luxourious and relaxed. We started with stockings (me, DH, DM,DF, DB and DSIL) everyone did a stocking for one person, usually lots of chocs, perfume, gloves etc. We got dressed up about 10:00 and put Christmas music on, had Champange and nibbles. Lunch about 2:00 followed by tree presents. This lasted until about 5 or 6 because we all took it in turns. Then usually a TV special (Downton back then) and nibbles for dinner. We all get on well and it was a really lovely day.

Threenme Thu 02-Nov-17 20:44:15

This might not be the classy answer you want but before dc me and dh just got drunk! It was amazing! I don't drink at all now over Christmas as I don't drink when I've got the kids with me. When they leave home we're going to just be drunk again until dgc arrive then we will be civilised again!grin

Star2015 Thu 02-Nov-17 21:33:36

Hi,

Another one here who has no DC, and gets annoyed when anyone suggests Christmas is just for those with children / for children (don’t even get me started on people who argue they should have priority of annual leave at this time of year - thankfully I now get a week off work so don’t have to experience that!)

Here’s how we celebrate the festive season-

We plan activities in the run up to Christmas, this year we are going to the theatre to see A Christmas Carol (not just for children!), Grease and we’re going to a local museum for a Christmas evening. I realise these are all activities you can do with children but he point is most families probably wouldn’t be able to afford all three and would have to just pick one. We will have a nice meal out before most likely all of those.

We go to a local farm and pick our own Christmas tree and I get to decorate it the way I like, with decorations that are both cheap (but tasteful!) and expensive without the worry that they will get broken or damaged (although this year we are on holiday for Christmas so I’m looking for a bargain fake tree).

We have planned a weekend away before Christmas, in a lovely hotel and to do some shopping and look around the local Christmas market. Again not just for couples but we allocate money that most families would probably spend on children’s activities/presents at this time of year to do something nice together.

In the run up to Christmas DH and I will go shopping together for stocking fillers for one another, we agree a budget and then meet up afterwards and maybe head to the pub or a coffee shop after to soak in the Christmas atmosphere.

On the big day itself, we enjoy breakfast at home, most likely visit DH’s family then head to my parents. We enjoy a leisurely lunch, watch tv, DVD’s or go for a walk then prepare a lovely buffet to eat whilst playing a game.. last year it was Ant and Dec’s Saturday night take away which was great fun. The point I guess is that we appreciate not being on a schedule, we make the most of not being woken up at 5am, not having to worry about over exhausted kids, picky eaters, having to have a tonne of batteries in the house. We relax and enjoy the day.

Boxing Day we will either have a buffet at home or a meal out, or venture off to the cinema.

The days in between Christmas and new year we head into Town for a family activity, last year we did an escape room.

I desperately wanted children when we first got married and 2 rounds of IVF, one miscarriage and almost completing the adoption process we are both comfortable with where we are now, which is childless and more importantly happy.

I like to think we take advantage our situation, we spend money on nice things, we have lots of holidays, we lie in if we want to, we spend time with and loving one another and appreciating one another. We have made a happy life that we both feel content with, and I’m really proud of us both that we have achieved that from where we have once been.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas OP.

Lottapianos Thu 02-Nov-17 22:16:15

'We have made a happy life that we both feel content with, and I’m really proud of us both that we have achieved that from where we have once been. '

You should be very proud indeed. Happiness is even more precious when you know how hard you have fought for it x

BonnieF Thu 02-Nov-17 22:33:01

We are a child-free household. Christmas is pretty low-key, with no church, no decorations, no turkey and only token gifts. Of course we have nice food and wine, but we don't go mad.

We both usually work on the days between Christmas and new year, and I usually work at least one of the bank holidays. Not using annual leave at Christmas means we can have an extra holiday in the summer.

We usually go to a sporting event on Boxing Day, either rugby or horse racing. Anything but bloody shopping.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 03-Nov-17 08:29:04

We really love it. We decorate the house, buy nice food, go to as many Carol services/theatre performances as we can.

We have a little dog who we love tramping through Greenwich park with and it’s lovely doing that on cold, clear mornings.

We’ve had 3 christmases on our own and it’s been fantastic.

MaroonPencil Fri 03-Nov-17 08:40:19

This was us for the years between my sister turning 18 and my other sister having her first baby. My personal favourite aspect of the adult Christmases was the ability and time to make everything look lovely - using the posh glasses etc we got for our wedding, going full on with elegant table decorations, adding twiddly bits to the Christmas dinner, making it more of a posh multi course affair. Really don't have the time for that now, and the Christmas tree looks like Wilkinsons has thrown up on it (I like that too!)

Also, we played grown up games (that sounds a bit rude! I just mean games that wouldn't interest little children) and didn't have to let small children win grin.

And could go on walks that lasted more than 10 minutes

Also there was more involvement of friends, in the day and the surrounding days, which was lovely. Christmas was about the Christmas markets, the ballet, concerts.

OverinaFlash Fri 03-Nov-17 10:23:41

I'm so pleased there are so many people out there like me enjoying a Christmas without children. I absolutely do not subscribe to the idea that Christmas is for kids!

Also, on the back of your suggestions, DH and I are going to visit Standen House for one of their pre-Christmas twilight openings and are going to have a Christmas afternoon tea before wandering around/heading to the gift shop. It's the only remaining weekend before Christmas that we have to ourselves at home so very much looking forward to that.

We went to Berlin for a long weekend last year in December for the markets which was just gorgeous.

Thank you star for sharing your experience too. We've been at the TTC lark for nearly two years (I know this isn't long in the scheme of it but I'm also down to only one tube) and awaiting referral to fertility clinic but I am adamant I don't want to not enjoy life/Christmas/everything, putting it on hold for something that might not happen for me.

Mrscog Fri 03-Nov-17 16:51:42

ragwort I'm so glad someone else said that. My DC are still really young, and I do love Christmas with them but I am wistful for the christmases pre their existence where DH and I would have a week off work together in a lovely tidy cosy (poncetastic) house cooking sophisticated food, lying in, drinking, reading books, playing games, popping out, going for a run etc.

Now it is quite magical but with the risk of flu and general chaos and none of the 'me time' it used to have!

fluffiphlox Sat 04-Nov-17 09:11:53

Parkrun or a walk
Breakfast
Bucks Fizz and stockings
Late lunch
Stroll
Film
Bed
It’s great and just the two of us.

scrabbler3 Sat 04-Nov-17 14:33:49

I'm listening to a retro 1979 chart on Radio 2 as I type, and it reminds me that I had a chocolate box Christmas as an child. I grew up in a picturesque cottage with a roaring fire, there was proper carolling, nativities, letter to FC, aunts and uncles popping in for a drink, Christmas parties, presents under the tree etc.

So, you'd think I'd be a "Christmas is about the small children" type. However, I am not. I enjoyed it just as much as a teen/young adult. We just did different stuff. From age 15, a bunch of us from school would go to the pub a few days before Christmas (and we still do it now aged 40+ but no longer worrying about not getting served!) On Christmas Eve, I'd go for a drink with my parents and my dad's best friend, and we'd get fish and chips on the way home - simple stuff, but fond memories. Christmas Day was so relaxed. It was just nice to have time off school/university/work. Christmas can be magical at any age. My DCs are now nearly 6' tall and past the Father Christmas stage, but they're still excited.

Star2015 Sat 04-Nov-17 20:03:00

Thanks Lotta and Overina

Life is definitely what you make of it and I’m so thrilled to say I’m genuinely the happiest I’ve ever been.

Xx

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