Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Christmas as an Adult

I'm going to preface this post with a quick note that I am not religious in any way, making Christmas more of a family get-together (+ presents) than any sort of religious celebration or gathering, but somehow it's long been an important date in my life. Be prepared for a slightly rambling post, but if you bear with me, I appreciate it!

Learning to celebrate Christmas as a single, childless adult is weird. This realization has been coming on for a while now, but this year I've become a little obsessive over the changes adulthood (and single-hood) brings to holiday celebrations. Growing up, Christmas was split between my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve and my dad's side on Christmas Day (which only half-counts, because those grandparents were Jehovah's Witnesses and don't believe in holidays). Over the years, celebrating with my dad's side faded away (for a lot of reasons I don't want to go into on the Internet), and Christmas with my mom's side became more important as my grandpa's health faded and we treasured each year we had with him. If you've been with me for a while, you may know my grandpa passed away this spring, and it feels a little like the strings that held the family together have unraveled a bit. My grandma is still with us and rather healthy for her age, but his passing was a catalyst  of change for family celebrations, especially as we don't have any young children left who we need to put on a happy face and play Santa for. This year, we're not even celebrating on Christmas Eve because there are too many families' schedules to work around. Last year, I ended up at a bar with friends when I had nothing else to do Christmas day...any bets on where I'll be this year?

A touch more backstory on where this is coming from (and maybe getting to the point of where it's going)—my mom's family isn't huge, but all the adults are married, engaged or in long-term relationships. One is even expecting a baby this spring—the only ones showing up stag are a recently divorced aunt, my widowed grandmother, a 19-year-old cousin in college, and myself. It makes family celebrations a little awkward, especially as I've no plans to settle down anytime soon. I've even considered traveling out of the country at the holidays (smart thinking, Hallie!) instead of freezing to death in Iowa in future years—a few days at home will more than suffice, as opposed to the two weeks I'm currently subjecting myself to.

If you celebrate the holidays as a single adult THE single adult, I'm curious—how do you make them feel special??

*image via


  1. My sister is in your same boat--the only single one in a family full of married siblings. She typically just stays a few days with my parents and whoever else is home for Christmas, then breaks up the rest of her vacation visiting her friends at their parents' houses. While I'm married, I definitely feel like as I get older, the more I want to spend Christmas with friends and just do a small thing with my husband (and baby daughter). It's just a lot of work to get family together!

  2. Interesting! Thank you for sharing... I think what's so fun about Christmas is just buying presents for the people you care about and really taking your time to choose something they would actually use and appreciate, not just any piece of $@$@... if you know what I mean.
    I am organizing a little dinner with my best friends tomorrow and am SO happy!

  3. I'm not single but my boyfriend and I have never spent the holidays together. Our families don't live in the same place and even after 8 years neither one of us wants to travel for the holidays. So I'm kind of the single person at all of my family's Christmas parties. I just focus a lot on creating the little things that make me happy like trying new food and drink recipes for others to try. This year I hosted a boozy brunch with my friends the Saturday before Christmas. It was a fun get together and broke up the routine of family parties/being out at the bars.