Being childless during the holidays was an awkward and uncomfortable time of the year for me. I used to feel as though I didn’t have a right to celebrate because I didn’t have kids and the holidays are all about kids. And while it can definitely feel this way due to adverts and marketing campaigns. And we can’t forget the focus placed on the traditional family unit of mother, father, and one or two kids. Which can make childless couples feel a little left out. However, this year I’m determined to redefine what the holidays are about while making them fun and magical for my untraditional family unit. So if you’re like me and looking for fun things to do with your mate, you’ll enjoy many of the rituals I’m sharing here today.
Childless During the Holidays: 15 Must-Try Rituals
#1. Create A “Safe” List
If you’re grieving the absence of children this holiday season, you will definitely want to create a safe list. Simply put, a safelist is a list of events or activities that trigger depression and grief. Perhaps activities that appeal to couples with children are potential triggers for you. But then, it’s okay to plan your holiday season around those activities.
However, this safe list doesn’t just extend to activities and events. It also includes family, friends, and people who ask invasive questions regarding your childlessness during the holidays or your infertility journey. It can be annoying having to answer the same questions over and over again. Or having to explain why you don’t have children to people that refuse to accept it. So, avoiding these awkward conversations altogether takes a lot of pressure off you and helps you enjoy the season better.
#2. Decorate But Make It Fashion
I’ve taken advantage of not having to decorate in this kitschy way that can be overkill. Instead, I have tasteful, chic holiday decor sans Rudolph, frosty, and all of the clan from the north pole. This year my decor aligns with the overall style of my home. Which means it’s a black, white, silver, and gold kind of holiday. It’s minimal while still being tasteful and non-traditional.
Take this opportunity to express yourself and experiment with different color patterns and schemes. I highly recommend getting a black Christmas tree. It’s chic, stylish, and definitely not traditional. Whatever you choose, enjoy yourself and have fun.
#3. Make Christmas Decorations
Just because it’s you and your spouse doesn’t mean you can’t do fun activities together. And there’s nothing more memorable than making decorations together. You can make this ritual as light-hearted and fun as you want. I like to put my name and my pets’ names along with the year on the ornament. This creates a memento for each Christmas we celebrate together. You can also attach more meaning to it and make decorations for loved ones that have passed away. Which I may do this year in honor of my aunt and uncle. Whatever you choose, this is definitely a lovely ritual to create.
#4. Bake Holiday Treats
There’s just something about the holidays and sugar cookies. One of my favorite things to do each year is to bake holiday cookies with my hubs and decorate them while listening to Christmas music. It usually turns competitive, and we try to see who can decorate their cookie the best. And it’s so fun. By far, this is one of my favorite rituals.
Another fun spin on this is to have a cookie swap with your mate. You can each choose a specific type of cookie to make. For instance, you can make sugar cookies, and they can make gingerbread cookies. And, then, you swap them. That way, you get double the cookies! I really love cookies, okay.
#5. Adopt A Family for Christmas
For me, the Christmas season is all about giving back to others. Especially those that are less fortunate than others. And while this is a ritual that should be performed consistently throughout the year. We can all do a little extra around the holiday season to look out for those struggling. Whether it’s mental, emotional, or financial. Hence why, I like the idea of adopting a family for Christmas. If a family you know is going through a hard time, take the opportunity to make their Christmas holiday special.
Perhaps you purchase their Christmas dinner, buy gifts for their kids, and treat them to gift cards. Or, if you desire, host Christmas for them and invite them into your home. Whatever you feel comfortable doing, show up for those families that really need it. Especially this year.
#6. Go On A (COVID Friendly) Getaway
Being childless during the holidays allows you more time to connect with your partner. Planning a holiday getaway for two can be the break from the hustle and bustle you both need. You can escape to a cozy cabin with a delicious fireplace. Or escape to a warmer climate and soak up the sun on the beach.
If a vacation is too much to plan for this year, a staycation is always a good alternative. Reserve a hotel suite in town, and have a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant. Enjoy some relaxation at the spa and get a yummy massage or facial. You can even look into enjoying a day trip to a town nearby. The sky’s the limit, and you can enjoy a fun and spontaneous Christmas.
#7. Not Your Traditional Elf on the Shelf
Okay, I know I said no kitschy holiday characters. But this isn’t your mother’s elf on the shelf. Since you’re an adult and childless during the holiday season, your elf can be as scandalous as you dare. Maybe your elf is a bit of a party animal and enjoys the sauce too much. Or, perhaps they’re a bit raunchy. Whatever the point is, this is a fun, albeit silly, activity you can do with your other half. Points for whoever creates the most unique and creative scenarios and adventures for the little elf.
#8. Spoil the Pets
If you’re a pet owner creating rituals with your pets makes the holidays fun. Buying them presents and wrapping them gives me a tickle. You can make their gifts as elaborate or as simple as you dare. I promise they won’t care either way. For example, treating them with new bedding, updating their kennel, a new litter box, their favorite toy, or a new collar and tags.
Also, include them in other special activities like Christmas dinner. Make them a gourmet meal, or treat them to the super expensive dog food that you know they’ll love. You can also create a spin on the traditional family holiday photo by including them in your photoshoot wearing silly costumes. There are so many ways you can make them a part of your childless traditions and rituals.
#9. Make Care Packages For The Needy
Another great way to care for the less fortunate during the holiday season is to make care packages full of essentials. There’s a variety of types of care packages you can make. But for sure, make a period care package complete with pads, tampons, and menstrual essentials for those struggling to access period care products.
Additionally, create a personal care package containing hygiene essentials such as toothpaste, deodorant, wipes, shaving essentials, blankets, cold weather wear, thermos, instant coffee, or hot chocolate. Many homeless and women’s shelters will be grateful to receive and distribute these packages. Of course, you can always call ahead to get an idea of how many to make and when to drop them off. Bonus points if you involve your family and friends and have them drop off items for the care packages.
Another excellent idea is giving gift cards to the homeless, unemployed, or struggling this season. Good ideas for gift cards are fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick Fil A. Additionally, Walmart or a local grocery store is another excellent choice. Finally, if it’s within your budget, you can purchase a cheap pay-as-you-go phone. This will allow them to speak to family and friends they haven’t seen in a long while.
#10. Swap Gifts
This may seem obvious, but my husband and I didn’t swap gifts for many years. I always felt it was weird since it was just the two of us. But, this year, we are for sure swapping gifts. Again, you can make it; however you want to make it. You can keep it low-key and within a specific dollar amount. Or, you can go all out and treat each other.
Furthermore, you might opt to make each other gifts. Whatever you choose will, of course, depend on your budget and comfort level. However, you should definitely find a way to treat each other.
#11. Christmas Lights Date Night
Tons of events and festivals involve seeing the pretty Christmas lights. And your participation in these events will depend on your triggers since there may be kiddos involved. But, if you don’t mind them, you can visit the locations in your area showing off lights. My favorite places are shopping centers, malls, and parks. Also, if there are events or light festivals, I also love to go to those. But, if going to these events is a bit triggering, you can always drive or walk around your neighborhood and check out the lights with your other half.
#12. Matching Christmas PJ’s
Another bonus of being childless during the holidays is that I don’t have to get cheesy Christmas pajamas. Instead, I can enjoy sophisticated and luxurious nightwear. I’m talking satin pajamas, silk sheets, and silk bathrobes with fur-lined slippers. Or, you can have sexy adult nightwear. Have fun with it.
#13. Volunteer To Serve Meals
I talk a lot about giving back, but I feel passionate about it. And a great way to give back is to serve meals to others on Christmas. Not only does it feel so good to be there for others. You’re making someone else’s Christmas super special. And that’s what the holidays are all about. Being there for others and sharing love.
#14. Christmas Eve Camp Out
You remember the excitement you had as a kid on Christmas Eve, and you’d beg your parents to sleep downstairs so you could be close to all of the gifts under the tree. How magical did that feel nestling on the couch with the glow of the Christmas tree? Well, you can recreate that same magic. You and your spouse can camp near the Christmas tree on Christmas eve. Enjoy your favorite Christmas movies, drink wine, eat popcorn, and rock around the Christmas tree.
#15. Go All Out For Christmas Dinner
Just because there are only two of you doesn’t mean you can’t have an elaborate Christmas meal. Create a gorgeous tableau on your table fit for a king, complete with place settings, centerpieces, name cards, and ornate Christmas dishes. Feast on your favorite dishes or look into catering and save yourself the headache if cooking isn’t your thing. And make sure that you both dress the part. Get dressed for your special meal and make it a memorable experience.
I don’t know about you, but how I can enjoy being childless during the holidays makes me super excited for this holiday season. What are some of the rituals and experiences you’re planning to create with your spouse this year?