Christmas Pity Parties

Yesterday I attended a Christmas party…not your typical Christmas party, but one I threw for myself, and the main dish that was served was a big ole helping of pity.

I always give myself a big pep talk around the beginning of November.  I tell myself “I’m going to enjoy the holidays if it kills me.  I don’t care that we’re nearly flat broke, childless, and our families are dysfunctional to the point of needing professional intervention we’re going to have fun!”

Around the second or third week in December reality sets in and I usually have a big ole Christmas pity party.  This year I decided to throw that party a little early.

At this point in my life the fact that we won’t ever have children has firmly set in, but the truth is traditional Christmas with no children equals some amount of torture for a couple who dreamed seeing rosy cheeks and eyes full of wonder on Christmas mornings.   I’m fine when I stay away from situations that remind me of what I can never have, but the holiday season is chock full of those painful reminders.  You either choose to participate and endure the reminders, or you withdraw and begin to feel like Ebenezer Scrooge to some extent.  I’ve done both in the past, but for the sake of those who love me and want me around I participate in most festivities.   I always think about who might not be there next year.   It seems vitally important that I savor every holiday moment with those I love, because I/we are not guaranteed the next day much less the next year.

While we have developed our own Christmas traditions they are not anything that anyone would consider normal.  More often than not we are so busy traveling, attending parties, and working as usual that we don’t get much decorating done.  “What’s the use?” we usually say.  Decorating is usually the one thing we mostly opt out of, and while we may not do a tree or wrap the house in lights we usually pull out a few little decorations just so we don’t appear like we belong to one of those cults that do not celebrate Christmas at all.

I can try to spin everything in a positive light, but I feel I would be lying to myself and to those who read my blog.  The truth is the holidays are just hard for the childless not by choice at least to some extent.  I’ve never met a childless couple who did not admit to some level of sadness that accompanies the holidays.  While Christmas is (and should be) about the birth of the Christ child it’s also about children and families. But sometimes folks don’t have the Norman Rockwell type of family meaning their family may be dysfunctional, they may have lost one or both parents, and if you are like us you’ve not been able to have children.  The end of the year  also reminds us of another year that has passed without the coo of a baby, the laughter of children in our house and/or the fact that some people we love are no longer with us.

So, it’s difficult at times, and yesterday was one of the difficult days for me.   This has been a difficult year in a lot of ways, and it all came crashing in on me.  It was so bad that my husband laid with me on the bed for around two hours while I cried and “released” everything I was feeling.  I could feel his anguish over not being able to fix things for me.  He’s such a trooper.  Anyone else would have committed me by now.

I’m better today, and the upside of all of this isthe holidays are no longer complete misery for me.  I enjoy being around my extended family and watching our niece’s wide-eyed wonder when she opens her gifts, but there are always a few Christmas pity parties I feel obligated to attend.

I’m praying for those of us who find ourselves in less than ideal conditions this holiday season.  I especially pray that we will find ways to avoid having to attend Christmas Pity Parties, because to be honest the entertainment stinks, and the food and drink are really bitter…


3 thoughts on “Christmas Pity Parties

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  1. I just read your blog on the christmas pity party. I too have a hard time around the holidays without children. I just went to my office christmas party and my biggest fear happened. It was that someone would blurt out in front of the whole table that one question that makes me want to crawl in a hole – “Do you have children?”. I sat next to someone who did just that, she blurted it out so loud, the whole table waited for my answer, and of course it was no, I dont. I was just dying. After that, a few of the woman asked me in a slightly pathetic way – do you even put up a tree? I wanted to say, no, I grow fangs on christmas, but i bit my tongue and said, oh yes, I put up a tree ! I try to make the best of the holidays, but its just not what I dreamt of.

    1. Barb, Sorry you are having a rough day. Those are the kind of situations that are the roughest. Please know you are not alone in your struggle. Thousands and I daresay millions of us go through the same thing. Please try not to let it overshadow your holiday, but on the other hand let yourself feel the disappointment and work through it. I’m glad that you put up a tree and try to keep traditions going. Part of the reason I don’t do a lot of decorating is busyness and just down-right laziness. It is important that you establish traditions, but don’t feel obligated to do things if they bring you too much pain.

  2. WOW finally people who understand!! I have been married for three years and after the first found out my husband can’t have children. This is the first year I am not into the holiday at all. it sucks!!! I use to love it this year I don’t see the point. It is sad really.

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