13 Holiday Traditions for Couples Without Kids

couple watching christmas movies on laptop

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For many people, the holidays mean special family time with their children. But just because you don't have kids of your own doesn't mean you can't enjoy the holidays. Couples without children can create their own meaningful holiday traditions and still have a holly, jolly good time.

For couples who are struggling to have children, however, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. This is true for those with medical infertility and situational infertility. It can even be difficult for couples who've chosen not to have kids or delay having them.

Christmas advertisements tend to feature smiling parents sharing gifts of holiday cheer with joyous children, which might make you feel nostalgic about your own childhood holiday memories. The tradition of the Christmas spirit is strongly associated with catering to the little ones.

While Santa doesn't shimmy down the chimney to visit adults, there's no reason why you and your partner can't savor a plate of cookies and a glass of milk together. In fact, there are many ways couples without children can enjoy the holiday season together. Here are some ideas to create your very own Christmas traditions for two.

Host a Kid-Free Christmas Party

Christmas parties aren't just reserved for family gatherings or couples with kids. If you haven't received any invites to an adult-only holiday party, then that just means it's time to host one of your own.

When making your guest list, consider people you know who are without young children at home—or else those who would be willing to get a babysitter and could use a fun night out. Your list may include:

Are you part of an infertility support group? Consider throwing a party for your fellow members. It can be as simple or elegant as you desire. Either way, enjoy the planning process as you deck the halls and put together your holiday drink and snack menus.

Take a Holiday Getaway

There is often the expectation of traveling home for the holidays, whether or not a couple has kids. But it's OK to break that "rule" once in a while and do your own thing. In fact, it may be better for your holiday stress levels if the usual family dynamics are not involved.

Instead of being around your family (and potentially a bunch of kids running around), taking a holiday alone with your partner could become your yearly holiday tradition. Choose a romantic spot, maybe a destination that is less likely to be crowded with children and their families.

Or, if you're comfortable and happy being around children, you and your partner might take the opportunity to enjoy a family vacation spot like Disney World to reconnect with your inner child.

Spending time with your inner child may remind you of the magic of being a child during the holidays.

Holiday Shop for Other Parents

Holiday shopping can be a huge stress for parents with little kids. Ask your friends or relatives with children if you could help take some of that shopping off their plate.

In doing so, you'll get to shop without spending your own money (unless you want to, of course), enjoy some holiday spirit and good cheer, and help out a loved one in need.

Be a 'Proud' Aunt or Uncle

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 family members' kids with presents for the holidays.

Of course, this isn't always an easy role to fill if you're at the beginning stages of your infertility journey. However, with time, many fertility challenged people do come to embrace this opportunity.

Be an Active Participant in Your Community

Maybe it's time to join the choir at your local church or participate in a Christmas caroling group. Many community spaces and organizations host religious or non-denominational parties and often need help planning, setting up, or cleaning up holiday events.

For some people, the connections formed while volunteering with a community group can feel like an extended family.

Unplug and Reconnect to Yourself

Christmas doesn't only have to be about connecting with others—it can also be a time of spiritual renewal that fosters a connection to yourself. For some, this is best experienced by disconnecting from the external world and turning inward.

Perhaps you and your partner declare a social media hiatus from Christmas through New Year's. You could also completely unplug for a day and do the things that feed and nourish your souls, whether that's meditation, prayer, attending church services, going on a Christmas Day hike, or savoring some self-care.

Depending on what your needs are, taking a digital detox and practicing self-care can be done either with your partner or alone.

Go See Christmas Lights

You may want to start an annual tradition of driving around with your partner to check out holiday lights in your area. 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 this time of year.

Many cities also host various light events in honor of the winter holidays. Some of these events are intended primarily for adults. 

Throw a Christmas Crafting Party

Trim the tree, put up some lights, and invite a few friends over for an evening of festive Christmas crafts like DIY wreath-making. You can keep it adults-only, or you may invite friends with kids to join in the fun and provide activities to keep the little ones busy.

Visit Family Members Who Are Alone

Many families don't live within a short drive from each other. This means that some family members may get lonely during the holidays if they're unable to go anywhere or don't have any visitors coming.

These are often older family members whose children have grown and moved out, and relatives in nursing homes or assisted living communities.

Making an effort to visit those who could really use the company will warm the hearts of everyone involved. Make a day trip out of it with your partner.

Volunteer at Local Hospitals

The holidays aren't very much fun for those who are stuck in the hospital, and that includes both children and adults. Many hospitals have volunteers dress up as Santa or elves to visit patients and spread holiday cheer.

Contact your local hospital and find out if you can participate in a program like this.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Those without enough food at home (or without a home at all) can always use help around the holidays. Consider starting a tradition of volunteering at your local soup kitchen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Or, you can help collect food for the holidays for food pantries or sign up to be a Meals on Wheels driver.

Perform a Random Act of Kindness

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 always need your help at this time of year. However, that doesn't mean you can't be a helper of some kind.

Think of your neighbors or even your co-workers. Is there an older couple that lives down the street? An older gentleman who lives alone? A family you that's been going through a difficult time? Do something nice for them. This might include bringing over cookies, shoveling snow off their sidewalk and walkways, or just popping by to say hello.

As a holiday bonus, research shows that acts of kindness can improve our well-being.

Have Yourselves a Romantic Little Christmas

Make the holiday special with a sensual Christmas for two to delight your senses. Whether it's an intimate holiday feast by candlelight accompanied by a playlist of classic Christmas songs, an evening of holiday movies and takeout, or simply a romantic gift exchange, there are many ways to make merry with your special someone and enjoy the holiday—just the two of you.

A Word From Verywell

The holidays can be an emotionally trying time for couples who want children but are struggling to conceive. Remember that you can spend the holidays any way you wish to by creating your own traditions and making time for lighthearted 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. Reach out to your loved ones for support. Tell your friends and family how they can support you, and consider working with an infertility counselor.

8 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.
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Additional Reading
  • Dawn Brubaker, MSW. Email interview. November 29, 2011.

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.