On Being Childless: Christmas Lies . . .

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a broken Christmas ornament on "On Being Childless: Christmas Lies . . ." on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog
Wobble Warning:  During the holiday season, our emotions are often heightened.  So, there are times when unexpected things cause a wobble.  I do mention my Grammy in this post.  And I talk candidly about Christmas traditions.  Since I’m not sure exactly where you are on your journey, I’m just going to say, “Be kind to yourself.”  If something causes you sadness, it’s okay to take a moment to process that grief.  I truly believe this post will leave you feeling empowered.  Often, however, we have to stumble along before we find our strength.  HUGS, fabulous warrior.  So many HUGS…

During the holiday season, it can be difficult for we childless to find joy.  Often, we are inundated with insensitive, ignorant, not so helpful questions and comments.  In fact, just a few weeks ago, we talked about one of the dreaded questions—are you pregnant?  (You can read that blog here.)  On top of the flippant remarks, our childless grief is too often minimized by others who just don’t get it.  (We also recently explored how childless grief is disenfranchised grief.  You can read that here.)  The quips and dismissals can cause us to sink deeper into the pit, longing for Christmas to just get over with.  This is disheartening, as the holiday season can truly be a fabulous time of year.  Well, fabulous IF we don’t believe the Christmas lies . . .

Christmas lies?  What are these “Christmas lies,” Brandi?  Well, here are a few…

Christmas Lies . . .

You must

  • Attend every holiday function.
  • Buy gifts for everyone.
  • Celebrate on December 25th.
  • Be jovial throughout the entire holiday season.

And the biggest lie of them all…

Christmas is for kids.


You do NOT have to attend every holiday function!

You know, we childless talk about the fact that it’s okay to skip the gender reveal or the baby shower or the kid’s birthday party.  Well, you know what?  It’s okay to skip a holiday function or two.  Heck, it’s okay to skip all of them!

You do NOT have to buy gifts for everyone!

And the gifts?!  Oh, let’s just buy for the kids this year.  Ummmm.  No.  I’m not buying gifts for everybody’s kids to “save money.”  You know who saves money?!  Everybody else because they don’t have to buy anything for me and Dane!  (Except that I’ve become quite vocal about the fact that Maddie is our kid and expects presents!)

You do NOT have to celebrate on December 25th!

As for December 25th…  Of course you can celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day–if you want to.  But you can also celebrate it another day.  Dane, Maddie, and I often celebrate Christmas on New Year’s Day.  One year, Santa was so busy that he didn’t visit until February!

You do NOT have to be jovial all the time!

And being jovial throughout the entire holiday season?!  Let’s get real!  There are times on the childless journey when joviality simply isn’t going to happen.  The childless journey involves grief, after all.  (Even if others don’t always understand this.  Those of us who’ve been in the trenches do.)

Christmas is NOT just for kids!

As for “Christmas is for kids…”  LIE!  Christmas is for everyone!  Let me say that again for those in the back…


You know, my Grammy loved to give presents and ensure that every kid had a magical Christmas.  Her parties were legendary.  And they were always around mid-December.  She said the party was her “big Christmas.”


My Grammy also loved to have a gift for Christmas morning.  So, she always saved mine and waited until December 25th to open the present I gave her.  Because of this, I never actually watched my Grammy open her Christmas package from me.

By example, my Grammy taught me that you can adore Christmas, have a wonderful holiday, AND make your own traditions.

Perhaps that’s why the holidays are so hard…  Because they are so focused on the “traditional.”

Debunking the Christmas Lies . . .

Finding our own traditions can be tough–especially when we longed for the traditional.  And as we try to accept, redefine, embrace…  Well, others don’t always understand our need to break with tradition.  But knowing your limits, saying “no” to some (maybe all…) traditions, debunking the Christmas lies…  Well, that takes true strength and courage, fabulous one!


Attend the holiday functions that you want to attend.  Buy the presents you want to buy.  Celebrate on the day you want to celebrate.

And remember…

Christmas is for you too, fabulous one.

Because Christmas is for everyone.

And that’s the Christmas truth.

If anything I wrote resonates with you, fabulous one, tell us about it in the comments…
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Catee November 29, 2021 - 10:13 pm

I always feel so grinchy because we now have 2 nieces, 3 nephews, and 3 great-nieces and nephews with guaranteed more to come in the next few years and I don’t want to buy for them all! Last year it came to a head and we only bought for my mom, his parents and the greats. Same this year. It’s just so much and while one or two of them thinks to buy sonething for us, the vast majority do not. It’s not about the stuff but it IS about the thoughtfulness and love in the giving.

Brandi Lytle November 30, 2021 - 4:55 pm

You are correct, Catee. It IS about the “thoughtfulness and love in the giving.” I’m glad you are taking control over gift buying/giving. And I hope you don’t feel “grinchy” and instead, realize that you are creating a Christmas that works for you. And that is 100% okay! So many HUGS…

Kathleen Guthrie Woods November 29, 2021 - 8:18 pm

I actually sighed out loud when I read your post just now. So many expectations! So many LIES! Thank you for helping us release them. Time to make our own traditions. xoxo

Brandi Lytle November 30, 2021 - 4:55 pm

Exactly, Kathleen! THANK YOU for reading and for the support & validation! HUGS…

Mali November 29, 2021 - 7:40 pm

Yes! It’s so good to see the message getting out there. I wrote a post a long time ago (11 years) about Reclaiming Christmas with the same sentiments that Christmas is not just for kids! And two years ago I wrote my four rules for a childless Christmas – https://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.com/2019/12/four-rules-of-surviving-christmas-for.html – which emphasise we should do what feels right for us.

Brandi Lytle November 30, 2021 - 4:56 pm

Thank you for sharing this fabulous resource, Mali!

Sherry November 29, 2021 - 6:29 pm

And that’s the Christmas truth. LOVE this blog! If you aren’t willing to change plans and make new traditions, you will miss out on a lot of joy. Life is fluid. Go with it!

Brandi Lytle November 29, 2021 - 7:22 pm

Exactly! As always, THANK YOU for your support! HUGS…

Christin November 29, 2021 - 3:53 pm

Love this! Our first few Christmases of being childless were rough, and I forced myself to buy lavish gifts for nephews and attend functions to appear that everything was “fine”, even though I would sob in the car and at home all night. Two years ago we put our feet down. We designate Christmas Eve morning and afternoon to visiting family, and make it clear that we will be leaving and home by 4 p.m. Christmas Eve is our wedding anniversary, so we block out that night and all of Christmas Day to celebrate us, our fur babies (kitties), and the holiday. We wear silly matching pjs, sleep in, eat breakfast before presents, nosh on an extravagant charcuterie board we design ourselves, and enjoy the peace. We also have stopped forcing ourselves to put out holiday heirlooms that were intended for children, and just decorate with the items we like and enjoy. We do the 24 dates of Christmas starting on December 1st every year since 2015, and try to not repeat as much as possible. We acknowledge that we miss being able to shop and wrap for a child, so we channel that into Operation Santa for a child or family in need. This year and last year we finally really feel like we are in control of how we chose to celebrate, rather than how others expect us to!

Brandi Lytle November 29, 2021 - 7:24 pm

Christin, THANK YOU for sharing your perspective! Your Christmas traditions/celebrations sound absolutely FABULOUS! I’m so glad that you have set firm boundaries so that you can celebrate your anniversary (which I adore that it’s on Christmas Eve!) and Christmas in ways that bring you joy! HUGS, fabulous one!


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