At this time of year, people without children by choice can come up against inaccurate assumptions others make about them. Many people can assume that this growing segment of the population tends not to celebrate Christmas because they don’t have kids.
No Kids, Less Likely to Celebrate Christmas? Not.
Why would the childfree not celebrate Christmas? Some think it is because we don’t have to do the Santa thing and all that surrounds it.
However, this assumption says more about those doing the assuming—that Christmas to them may be more about the present giving than the true meaning of Christmas. This idea leads to the second assumption.
The more popular assumption about the childfree at Christmas is that we are more likely not to celebrate Christmas because we are not a religious bunch to begin with. Like many of the myths about the childfree, this stereotype does not reflect the truth. While some trend studies on the demographics of people without children by choice indicate we tend to be less religious, when you talk to the childfree on the ground, you’ll find this is often not the case.
There are many childfree with all kinds of religious affiliations. I have met and interviewed many who describe themselves as Christian, and practice a Christian faith. Many are active in their churches. Just like other folks, many celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus. The fact that they don’t have children of their own does not affect their desire to celebrate this holiday.
They give gifts to their loved ones, children and not. Many spoil their nieces, nephews, godchildren, and other children they love. They have Christmas trees. They decorate their homes, have holiday parties, just like families with kids do. They celebrate it as a time of giving and helping those in need.
Just because the childfree do not want to be parents does not mean they are not religious or spiritual people. Thinking parenthood is optional may still buck a strong societal expectation, but it does not mean the childfree necessarily buck other common aspects of our culture, like being a Christian and celebrating all of the joys of the season.
Childfree out there, how do you celebrate Christmas?
*Updated from original, 2010
Christmas is a meaningless day for me because I am an atheist, not because I am childfree. I was raised mildly Jewish so Christmas never meant anything to me before I became an atheist at age 13. To me, it is just a day when all the stores are closed and there was no school or work.
Hi Deegee–Atheist and childfree–you are not alone to be sure. What made you decide you were an atheist at 13? ~L
I am not a christian or religious in any way, and don’t celebrate christmas or holidays in general. However, most childfree couples I know of are christian and pretty much everyone I know celebrates christmas in some way. Being childfree makes it easier on me during holidays, I am free to do as I please; having kids would make it alot more difficult to opt out entirely.
Whatever reason deegee has for being an atheist really is no business of yours. It was stated as a fact, and you have no right to pry about it.
Dear atheistandchildfree: I agree with you that it is a personal thing and not for a stranger to ask. I would not have asked deegee if he and I already had not already been communicating on this blog and with each other personally for months now…I had a feeling he might want to share — and did (see this string) which I thank him for! ~L
As I nearing age 13, I was getting my Bar Mitzvah training. I had an “awakening” that all this religious stuff was a bunch of hogwash. I went on strike, refusing to do any more of it and was unafraid to make a total fool of myself if my parents held the event. This would, of course, made my parents look foolish and they knew I was stubborn enough to go through with it, so they had to call it off. (Pretty big win for a 13-year-old, huh?)
I never regretted my decision and never looked back.
Deegee–indeed it took a lot of chutzpah ;)!
I’m a childfree agnostic who still partakes in some X-mas stuff (the most Pagan aspects of the holiday like Yule logs and decorating the x-mas tree, not the church stuff). I think what I find more annoying than the assumption that I don’t celebrate is the implication that as a childfree person I don’t have the ‘right’ to celebrate X-mas. Like, because I don’t have or want what they consider to be a “real” family I should be bannished to the Land of Misfit Toys. In my experience this “real” family nonsense also comes up at Thanksgiving. People don’t blatantly say it but I think the underlying message in their assumptions is ” You couldn’t possibly have anyone in your life you care enough about to spend the holidays with. You don’t know real love/caring because you haven’t spawned.”
Deegee–indeed it took a lot of chutzpah ;)!
I actually am childfree and a practicing Catholic (a rarity among childfree I feel like, so many are Atheist and Agnostic!), so I do celebrate Christmas. Decorating my apartment every December is becoming one of my favorite winter traditions! I put on an Enya CD a friend gave me for Christmas a few years ago as I decorate (not a huge Enya fan, but this particular CD makes great background music on a winter’s day). I have a little 4-foot Christmas tree from the dollar store with cheap unbreakable ornaments (because I have two cats) and teacher ornaments I have received as gifts. I have an Advent wreath that I convert to a Christmas wreath on the 25th (with white candles instead of purple and pink). The Christmas Mass is one of my favorite masses (I like Easter more). My church did a cool thing this Advent by putting up a banner with a different word every week of Advent that had something to do with that particular week: “Awaken,” “Prepare,” “Witness,” “Embrace.” I love Christmas hymns. Lately I’m into “Rose in December,” a new one the choir has been singing at church. So beautiful! I don’t buy many gifts at Christmas. Instead I donate to charities in people’s names and I buy gifts for the Giving Tree at church. For me, Christmas is not about buying shloads of crap toys for ungrateful kids to show “love” for them. It’s about hope and faith in darkness, a young virgin woman saying yes to something she didn’t understand but trusting God anyway, how God comes to us in the most humble of circumstances, and giving freely to others.
Christine, what a lovely description of how you decorate and celebrate xmas. I know it may not seem like it, but there are lots of childfree that are Not atheist or agnostic. I would say that most I have come in contact with are Christian, some Catholic, some Protestant, etc. ~L