Christmas Tradition Ideas for Those Without Kids

coupld decorating a Christmas tree
Hero Images / Getty Images

When many people think about holidays, they think of children. But there is no reason you must have kids to enjoy the winter holidays or any holidays. Couples can create Christmas traditions. No children required.

For those who are unable to have kids, the holidays can be a difficult time. This is true for those with medical infertility and situational infertility. It can even be difficult for those who have chosen not to have kids or delay having them.

Christmas advertisements feature moms and dads sharing gifts with children, and you may feel nostalgic about your own childhood holiday memories. Santa doesn't visit for the adults. He's there for the little ones. Is there any reason to leave out cookies and milk if it's just you and your partner?

With that said, what about the sexy Mrs. Santas, made famous by the Rockettes? They were probably not meant for the kiddies. There are many ways those without children can enjoy Christmas. Don't let a lack of children or infertility keep you from creating your own family traditions for the holidays.

Here are some ideas to consider.

Child Free Christmas Parties

Christmas parties don't have to be only for family. If you haven't received any invites to a child-free event, then host your own party.

When making your list, brainstorm people who you know are without young children at home. This may include:

  • Single friends
  • Couples childfree by choice
  • Fertility challenged couples
  • Empty nesters

Are you part of an infertility support group? Consider putting on a party for your fellow members. It can be as simple or elegant as your imagination allows.

Go Away for the Holiday

There can be an expectation that until a couple has kids, they will travel home for the holidays. But you can break that "rule" and do your own thing. In fact, it may be better for your holiday stress levels.

Instead of being around your family (and likely lots of pregnant or little children), deciding to go on vacation alone with your partner can become your yearly holiday tradition. Choose a romantic spot, possibly one that is unlikely to be a family-with-children destination magnet.

Or, take the opportunity to truly enjoy popular family vacation spots as a couple. For example, Disney World. Take time to be a kid yourself. 

Volunteer to Holiday Shop for Your Fertile Friends

Holiday shopping can be a huge stress for those with little kids. Volunteer to shop for friends or relatives laden with children.

You'll get to shop without spending your own money, enjoy some holiday spirit, and help out a friend!

Be a Proud Aunt or Uncle

In the same light, who says you can only spoil your own kids with Christmas gifts? There's no reason you can't take the role of Proud Aunt or Uncle and shower your friends' or siblings' kids with presents for the holidays.

This isn't always an easy role to fill at the start of your infertility experience. However, with time, many fertility challenged people come to embrace this opportunity.

Be Active in Christmas Church Activities

Maybe it's time to join the choir or join a group for caroling. Many churches host parties and can use volunteers to help plan, set up or clean up holiday parties and events.

For some, active church members can become an extended family.

Disconnect from the Internet and Reconnect to Yourself

Christmas doesn't have to be about community. It can also be a spiritual renewal time, and for some, this is best felt by disconnecting from the world and focusing inward. Perhaps you can declare a social media fast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You could organize your day around what feeds your soul, whether that's prayer, attending church services, or meditating somewhere alone.

This can be something you do alongside your partner or alone.

Go Christmas Lights Seeing

You may want to start an annual tradition of driving around with your partner to check out holiday lights. Maybe you'll listen to your favorite Christmas tunes as you drive. A quick internet search will likely let you know which local neighborhoods have a reputation for being beautifully decorated.

Also, many cities host various light events in honor of the winter holidays. Some of these events are intended primarily for adults. 

Invite Friends Over for a Christmas Decorating Party

Who says only kids can have fun trimming the tree?

Invite some friends over to decorate for the holiday together. You might invite only adult friends, or you may invite a family with kids to help. If you're the crafty type, you can even set up some projects for friends to make and take home.

While few are brave enough to host such an event, many adults with and without kids would love to join a Christmas crafting party.

Visit the Family That Needs You Most

It's rare to find families living all within a comfortable drive from each other. That means that some family members will be left out or lonely on the holidays.

These are often the elderly relatives in nursing homes or assisted living communities.

Making an effort to visit those who really need the company can warm both your and their heart.

Volunteer on Christmas at the Hospitals

The holidays aren't much fun for those stuck in the hospital, not for children or adults. Many hospitals have volunteers dress up as Santa or Elves, who then visit patients.

Speak to your local hospital and see if you can participate in a program like this.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Those without food at home (or without a home at all) can use help on the holidays. Maybe you can start a tradition of volunteering at your local soup kitchen on Christmas Eve. Or, you can help collect food for the holidays for food pantries.

Help Someone You Know (Or the "Stranger" Down the Street)

Perhaps the idea of volunteering appeals to you, but you've only thought of it at the last minute. Volunteering on Christmas is actually very popular, so your local organizations may not need your help at this time of year. However, that doesn't mean you can't be a helper.

Think of your neighbors or even your co-workers. Is there an elderly couple that lives down the street? An older gentleman who lives alone? A family that you know has been struggling? Do something for them. This might include bring over cookies, shoveling snow off their sidewalk and walk ways, or just coming over to visit and say hello.

Romantic Christmas for Two

Don't forget that you can create a romantic and loving Christmas for two, any year you like. Candle lit dinner, great holiday music, and gift exchange can turn a potentially lonely holiday into an intimate one.

A Word From Verywell

The holidays can be an emotionally trying time for those wanting children but struggling to conceive. Remember that you can spend the holiday as you want it. Create your own traditions, and schedule some fun and enjoyment. Be careful not to get stuck in a "holding pattern" where you keep telling yourself you'll come up with holiday traditions "once you're a real family." You are a real family now.

As always, reach out for support. Tell your friends and family how they can support you, and consider counseling if you can't shake off the blues.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Morrison J. The management of involuntary childlessnessBr J Gen Pract. 1997;47(415):69–70. PMID: 9101687 

  2. 3. Mason J, Muir S. Conjuring up Traditions: Atmospheres, Eras and Family ChristmasesSociol Rev. 2013;61(3):607-629. doi:10.1111/j.1467-954x.2012.02138.x

  3. Sister mary jean . Traditional Christmas. Can Hosp. 1956;33(12):36-7. PMID: 13374570

  4. Lentner E, Glazer G. Infertile couples' perceptions of infertility support-group participation. Health Care Women Int. 1991;12(3):317-30. doi:10.1080/07399339109515954

  5. Chen X. Gift-giving and network structure in rural China: utilizing long-term spontaneous gift recordsPLoS One. 2014;9(8):e102104. Published 2014 Aug 11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102104

  6. Bennett CR, Frankowski AC, Rubinstein RL, et al. Visitors and Resident Autonomy: Spoken and Unspoken Rules in Assisted LivingGerontologist. 2017;57(2):252–260. doi:10.1093/geront/gnv079

  7. Müller S, Rau HA. Too cold for warm glow? Christmas-season effects in charitable givingPLoS One. 2019;14(5):e0215844. Published 2019 May 22. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215844

  8. Rooney KL, Domar AD. The relationship between stress and infertility. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2018;20(1):41–47. PMID: 29946210

Additional Reading
  • Dawn Brubaker, MSW. Email interview. November 29, 2011.