Retiring Traditions

As you may know, hubs and I have no children.  For the record, I had everyone else’s children for the best hours of their days.  For.Thiry.Years!

Back in the days, when they found out we didn’t have kids, people would say, “Who will take care of you when you get old?”

My tongue in cheek answers were:

“Having someone to wipe your DROOL is NOT a good reason to have children!”


“I don’t know…I’ll call you from the Caribbean
and let you know how it all worked out!” 

Up until now, we’ve spent Thanksgiving in North Idaho with his mom, and Christmas here at home with my family.  But things are starting to change.  The parents-in-law have all passed on, and the numbers available for big shindigs are dwindling.  The nieces and nephews each have their own families and traditions.  For the past couple of years, there has been quite a bit of leftovers from a 15-pound turkey!

So this year, hubs and I are approaching our Christmas Traditions with a little more intention.  We actually sat (with wine, of course) and had the discussion about which of our traditions should be non-negotiable, and which ones we could reinvent.

Surprisingly, neither one of us was opposed to traveling during the month of November or early December. Or even in January. Both of us want to be in our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  We will approach certain traditions with mindfulness:

  1. Decorating our small tree together, with the ornaments we’ve collected from each year since we were dating.  Again, wine (or perhaps hot cocoa with Cinnamon Schnapps) will be involved.
  2. Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
  3. Baking Christmas cookies – perhaps with my sisters if they’re available.  It doesn’t matter that I’ll probably give many away, or put them in the freezer.
  4. Finding the lights – Putting the dog in the back seat of the pickup, grabbing a couple of Starbucks specials, and going in search of festive lights and decorations.
  5. Christmas Concerts – We plan to attend as many Christmas art events as we can squeeze in, without getting overwhelmed.  Friday night we saw Elf – The Musical, and it was magical!  Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming up!
  6. The Decorations – We’ve decided that we don’t need to kill ourselves decorating our home for the benefit of others.  This year, I decorated only with those items that make my heart sing – The antique Santa toy that belonged to my mom, the carved Santa made by my brother-in-law.
  7. Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
  8. Charitable giving – For many years, we have filled a local Toys for Tots box.  I mean, seriously…just because we have no kids, doesn’t mean hubs isn’t just a great big one!  We love shopping in the toy department.  He always tends to pick out toy cars, trucks and construction equipment – Go figure!  This year, we have another fun idea to try.  But that’s another post.

I guess the important part is that we’ve given ourselves permission to intentionally alter or change entirely those tradition we’ve held for years, when they no longer meet our needs.  As we age, we don’t want to be seen as “charity cases,” invited to people’s homes because we are old people with no place to go (Ooooooh – that sounds yucky, even to me!)  Nope, not us.  We’re going to take this holiday bull (or reindeer) by the horns and create our own Encore Holiday Season!  Someday, we might even board a cruise ship on the day after Christmas.  Who knows!  I’ll call you from the Caribbean and let you know how it’s working out!






24 thoughts on “Retiring Traditions

  1. Kate Crimmins

    Good for you! I don’t have kids either and my husband’s (very adult) kids live across the country and don’t come home for the holidays. When I worked, people would give me a sad face when I said we wouldn’t be with family. I would laugh. Christmas was a magical day dedicated to us. We didn’t have to clean, cook or entertain. Our gift giving has dwindled to one gift (thank heaven) and it’s a peaceful day of reading, singing and making over the top dinners that we wouldn’t think about if we had guests. Some folks have tried to include us in their traditions but quite frankly, I’m content with my own. I don’t need a lot of people around to be happy and peaceful. (There is no judgment here for people who prefer large scale entertaining for Christmas.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Michele

    I love it that you are choosing which traditions to continue and creating the holiday that is meaningful for you. We, too, are in a place of deciding which things we cherish and thus want to hold on to, and which things we can let go of. Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anabel Marsh

    Aargh, we don’t have kids either and have had that same “who’ll look after you when your old?” routine, whereas I would never question their reproductive status. Live and let live, whether it’s children or Christmas traditions!

    Liked by 1 person


    Love this! As you know, my hubby and I are in the same boat (or, maybe the same cruise ship headed to the Caribbean 🙂 ) and we have scaled way back on the holidays too. We haven’t had a tree for years and just put up a few decorations. It’s perfect for us – and a lot less hassle putting up and taking down. We’ll be traveling this year over Christmas – and friends of our who are also childless will be “vacationing” at our house while we are gone. There are so many other ways to enjoy the season without getting your tinsel tied up in a knot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      I have a friend who each day tells me how close she is to having her house “Done.” My brain is screaming, ….”WAIT! This shouldn’t be that much WORK!” Not getting our “tinsel tied up in a knot” is now gonna be my new favorite saying! Thanks, Janis! ~ Lynn

      Liked by 1 person


    I love how you and your husband decided upon your Encore Holiday traditions…wine in hand! Wishing you a very happy holiday season, Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. karen207

    Like you, Lynn, I don’t have any kids and was a teacher for many years. I get the same question – sigh.
    I love my holiday traditions and am enjoying paring down the decorations to just the most meaningful; watching sappy made-for-tv Christmas movies, and eating and drinking exactly what I want when I want. It’s a delicious time of year in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. patwdoyle11

    Hi Lynn, I tried to comment earlier but it looks like my message didn’t process through! (unless it’s caught in cyberspace and this is comment #2!) Anyway, this year I am definitely de-cluttering on holiday things – using the “do you love it” approach. I still love a real tree. I love decorating it with hubby and remembering when we got the various ornaments. I’m thinking hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps might be added to that activity this year – one should always experiment with new ideas! I love the Christmas lights – our local zoo does an amazing light display. I’m not sure about the family gathering on Christmas Eve. My niece took it over last year and made all kinds of changes – time, food, even gift giving traditions all changed. And this year, there’s not been any communication of there being a family gathering that night at all! After reading others comments, I’m putting together a back-up plan of Lobster and Midnight mass… could be a new holiday tradition I could love. Pat

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joanne Sisco

    I have to admit I’m not a fan of Christmas. All the shopping, all the cooking, all the cleaning … ugh. Where’s the joy in that?

    Sorry if I sound like a Grinch. I guess I am. I breathe a huge sigh of relief when it’s finally all over.

    I’ll be thinking of you with envy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      That is precisely why I believe it’s important to give yourself permission to do Christmas in a way that suits YOU! Who says you need to exhaust yourself cooking and cleaning??? You get to decide your own traditions! As for us, we’ve really pared back to only the joyful and meaningful! ~ Lynn


  9. Terri Webster Schrandt

    It is refreshing to read more and more how Boomers are reinventing, well, everything! We do have kids, my hubby’s and mine, now all adults in their early 30’s. My hubby is adventurous so our Christmases begin in San diego with family, then most years we head to Mexico (Hawaii in a few weeks, just to change it up)! Bravo on your new traditions, Lynn! They sound delightful!

    Liked by 1 person


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