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The joys of an adult only Christmas

Sure, it’s lovely to have littlies around at Christmas. An actual baby is delightful, for those of us who are religious as well as for everyone else. One day I imagine babies and toddlers will once again be a part of my Christmas and I may wonder how I ever managed to enjoy it without them.

Right now, however, in the restful hiatus between my own littlies growing up and the arrival of any next generation they may produce (no assumptions!) I am revelling in the relaxedness of adult-only Christmases.

Believe me, I was a serious lover of Christmas back when we had a houseful of children. I revelled in the stockings full of chocolates and undies, fancy pens and toothbrushes and always an orange at the toe; the tree laden with baubles, the tinsel and carols and fairy lights; the crackers and the silly hats, even the piles of wrapping paper that festooned the living room once the gift giving was done.

But adult-only Christmases have their advantages.

The whole present thing becomes manageable. All our grown ‘kids’ are in agreement that none of us needs any more stuff in our lives. No one is under pressure to spend money and anxiety-fuelled hours trawling shops thronging with harried consumers, full of expensive tat and slick with tasteless muzak. Those who want to give ‘a little something’ do –these tend to be small, practical items or something made – generally of the edible variety. Others choose to give a donation in lieu of gift. Sounds random, but it works.

In terms of what is one of the biggest stressors at Christmas, the expense and effort of food production, that becomes easy too. We love our food, but the prep is divvied up so that no one spends days toiling over a hot stove. My husband makes the Christmas puddings weeks out – that’s his thing and we all reap the benefits of his commitment; the rest of us chose what we can contribute. The vegetarians are responsible for providing their alternatives. The son who doesn’t enjoy cooking provides vast amounts of summer berries – one of the joys of having the festive season in the southern hemisphere.

Most importantly, maybe, no little voices demanding breakfast wake you up the morning after you’ve had too much plum pudding and one too many glasses of sparkling shiraz. I can sleep in until I’m good and ready to get up for that kick-starting first cup of tea. That alone is worth celebrating.

This was published in The Melbourne Age on 24 December 2018


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Reader Comments (1)

What a lovely piece, Clare -- so economically written, and so true! It feels almost taboo somehow to enjoy an "adults-only" Christmas so much, and yet for all the reasons you show here (and I love the slow reveal), it can be such heaven. Thank you! For this, and for all your columns, which I read avidly when I can.

January 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Turner-Vesselago

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