As a single 30-something, my holiday season is sometimes more about spirits and less about Santa.
I do not have any wee ones under foot, so I thankfully do not stress about any holiday high jinks involving elves on shelves, and I've never had to suffer through a session with Father Christmas and a whiny, wet toddler.
But that's not to say Christmas is any less meaningful and fun (and hectic) for us singletons.
It starts early - the grueling schedule of cocktail parties, festive happy hours and holiday open houses - they hit the schedule not long after Thanksgiving and have the potential to squeeze out every last bit of free time you might have anticipated.
While other folks are navigating the stress of quasi-professional holiday decor and forays in gingerbread architecture, my Christmas season involves a standing date with the irreverent. Every year I am invited to one of my favorite holiday parties - a White Elephant gift exchange that calls on all guests to bring clever, coveted and downright illicit mystery gifts. This tradition is the epitome of raucous, with nearly every guest in attendance enraptured in giddy laughter and good humor.
I think most single folks have a similar annual holiday gathering on their calendar. While our peers with children are extolling the virtues of good behavior, we independent types take advantage of the holiday season to flirt with the Naughty List.
And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Like lots of other people, I think the Christmas season means spending time with people you love. Even though the days are short this time of year and the day planners are full, we squeeze in lunches, cocktails or coffee dates with friends to catch up on the year that has passed and toast to the year ahead.
Life is too busy. We're all guilty of saying it, and these scheduled sessions often feel like clandestine meetings that let us steal away with friends for a moment away from the maelstrom of merriment. No present required - the occasion is gift enough.
Christmas wouldn't be the same without some quality time with the other people I love - my family. I adore my parents, my sisters and their respective families and/or significant others. Each Christmas season brings on remembrances of holidays past and favorite recipes including our beloved Welsh potch (a dish made of mashed rutabaga and potatoes. Trust me, it's good.).
And of course some Christmas Vacation, swaddled in blankets on the floor of my parents' bedroom.
But at this stage in life, family is so much more than the people who share your genetic code.
Family includes the people who share your dreams, your priorities, and your civic passions. We cling tight to people who accept us, inspire us and push us to be more. Our urban families are the people we first turn to when we hit roadblocks or minor milestones, at the ready for equal doses of commiseration and celebration.
And that includes Christmas celebration that carries through to the New Year.
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.