Christmas without kids is freaking awesome.
I know what you’re about to say, but hear me out…
-Disclaimer: I like kids. I do. I’m going to have some baby-bats of my own in the coming years, but that doesn’t stop me from referring to them as snot-making poo-machines. I’ll still be doing so when I’m the one cleaning up the snot and poo. So put away your pitchforks, GothMums/Dads, and have a giggle with me.-
I know it’s not what you’ve heard. You’ve heard that Christmas is all about childish excitement and seeing the kid’s happy faces when they open their presents.
And here’s the thing,
that’s not all it is. You don’t need to have little baby-bats drooling everywhere to have ‘childish excitement’ or kids to have ‘happy faces.’ And if you’re feeling especially daring you can go line up and have a photo with Santa with your other grown-up adult friends instead of missing out on the fun.
So this is for anyone who’s an adult celebrating Christmas without tiny people snotting on their Christmas decorations.
Society has fed us so much bulldust about ‘fitting in’ and not stepping outside the norm, that sometimes we’re too scared to just have fun and enjoy the season in case someone somewhere somehow thinks poorly of us. So instead we hide from the season if we’re childless, or use kids as an excuse if we have them, because we can’t admit to ourselves that it’s Christmas is what we make of it and we need to allow ourselves to make it fun.
I’ve learn that it can be just as much fun being surrounded by adults, possibly even more so because you don’t have to worry about bedtimes or supervising a perpetually intoxicated-seeming little person, or waking up someone’s screamer. But I’m not going to go into a tit-for-tat list here.
I spoke to a new parent about Christmas’s with his kids. Bastion of wisdom he is, he said that “Christmas means so much more now than before I had kids” because of their reactions to Christmas. But here’s the thing: after questioning him further (In the nicest possible way, I wasn’t interrogating him at knife-point or anything, I promise!) we ascertained three main things:
1. He now puts more effort into Christmas than he did before,
2. Christmas is now more stressful because he has to organise other people and their kids so that his kids can see the family.
3. It’s all worth the stress because of their child-like wonder, excitement and joy. (Yes, his words. He did try to re-word it once he had realised what he’s said, but I’m sticking with his first answer because it communicates so eloquently what I’m getting at.)
Following that logic, in order for the rest of us to have just as great a Christmas sans kids, we just need to do three things:
1. Put in as much effort in to Christmas as we would if there were children attending.
2. Organise our friends and family to be there so we can share it with them.
3. Actively react to the season and gift giving with child-like wonder, excitement and joy.
So, how do we do that?
Put in the effort.
Start with yourself. It’s easy-peasy to be excited as a kid. Society’s influence hasn’t sunk in to the point where you can only loose your inhibitions if you’ve a drink in your hand. But give it a go. Do things that are going to make you happier towards the big day. If you’re a snappy dresser, plan your outfit. If you’re a HomeGoth, clean up and decorate. If you’re a cooker/baker/foodie, plan a dessert or something to either take with you to someone else’s place, or for people to have at yours. If you’re a crafter, make cards or presents for the people around you. Self talk yourself up to the point where you’ve decided to just have fun and damn whatever society says you should do.
Kids are easier than adults to excite. Give the little darkling a box to play in and their happy-meter will go though the roof, but if you allow yourself to find fun in everything, not just the things you’re ‘supposed to’ and put as much effort into Christmas without kids as you would if there were kids there, then you’ll have a much better time and your happy-meter will go up too. It’ll rub off on the adults around you and you’ll help them have a better time as well.
Organise friends and family to be there so we can share the fun. Surround yourself with happy people. If there isn’t an event planned, offer to host one yourself. If you put on the effort into yourself (see above,) the adults around you will warm up too. Avoid grumps who will only bring you down and surround yourself with people who want to have a good time.
It’s the day before Christmas, nothing planned? EEEP! Take a breath, don’t stress, just send out a quick invite to those around you to join you for an “Orphan’s Christmas.” Get people to bring something to share. Make sure you put down a specific time and ask for RSVP’s so you’re not stuck waiting around. Don’t want to host yourself? Invite yourself somewhere. Call a friend and just go for “Hey, I’ve got nothing on, do you mind if I join you for Christmas lunch?”
Surround yourself with people, put an effort into making things awesome for them, and it’ll reflect back on you in happiness.
Actively react to the season and gift giving with child-like wonder, excitement and joy.
“Christmas is a time of giving…” Don’t forget that! If you’re just going to expect people to give you things, you’ll be disappointed. Give, without expectation of return. The more you give the happier you’ll be. I don’t mean buy people things, I mean give your time, your effort. Make people things, cards, food. Help out with decorating, cleaning, clearing up after the food.
I can’t deny that kids get extra excited about presents. But we all secretly do, adults just hide it better because we’re conditioned to act ‘properly’ in polite society. So give the adults permission to get excited. Make up for the quality with quantity. Draw out the excitement. We don’t have kids to open presents, so I ensure that we have a lot of little presents to open to prolong the fun (even if some of them are just packets of lollies that we’d be eating anyway.)
Most important of all, take a page out of a child’s book. Don’t be too scared to just have fun and enjoy the season. If it’s fun, do it. Screw society’s expectations. Don’t hide from the season, or use having/not having baby-bats as an excuse to change what you want to do. If what you want to do is make a giant ball-pit, do it. If you want to eat dinner with your feet in a paddle-pool under the table, do it.
Christmas is whatever you make of it, so make it freaking awesome.
I’m not saying the oatmeal is right, just that sometimes a little perspective is needed.
Merry Christmas! What are you doing to make it freaking awesome? Let me know in the comments.