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7 Tips to Survive Christmas Without Your Children

Christmas is Christmas, but it is not the same when you celebrate a happy and reflective day without the joy and excitement that only children can bring.

I love to observe young children around Christmas time.

First, there is anticipation and waiting.

Wondering what is hiding in the so beautifully wrapped presents. “Does Santa know what I want, what I have been waiting for for half the year already? Did Santa remember me? Is it even possible for him to find me what I want? Wow…”

Then, the excitement of finding the presents.

Coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and seeing all the wrapped presents. Yes, it is Christmas, and I can open my gifts today. There is no more waiting.

And, of course, the highlight! Opening the presents.

“So many new toys to play with… Joy, laughter, and even confusion! Where do I start? Ooh, I love Christmas!”

Opening Gifts on Christmas Morning

And then we grew up! And then they grow up! (All too fast)

Do you remember those feelings, the joy and wonderment? Now, without getting philosophical, the joy of Christmas is still inside us, within our inner child.

Maybe Christmas is the day to remember and reconnect with the child inside us. Maybe to enjoy Christmas like children, we need to go back into that place in our hearts where we are children and can look at life through a child’s eye.


What if you could have a conversation with the 5-year-old you? What would bring you the joy and excitement you knew when you were a child waiting for Christmas? Think of what you would share with the adult you. What do you want from life?

Now, think about what you want to see wrapped under the tree. What do you hope to hold when you unwrap your beautiful present?

Think for a moment: There is never a Christmas without children when we remember the child within.


Let’s look at practical, simple ways to cope without your kids or grandchildren this holiday season.

After all, as we age and families become more complex, holiday celebrations change. It is not always possible to have our loved ones with us. So, find ways to create joy and peace, even if it is your year without the grandkids.

7 Tips to survive Christmas without your Children and Grandchildren

Be flexible!

What you plan may not work out. Try to keep an open mind, and sometimes, you may be surprised that things work out much better than you expected or hoped for.

Don’t take it personally.

Your children and grandchildren have many responsibilities and people to accommodate. And yes, at the same time, they are creating their own traditions. Remember when you were a child and holidays were stressful because you had to accommodate everybody?

Plan your day.

Set your day up for success.

If you know you tend to get sad in the morning, plan this time with a friend or family member. If you need alone time, do that. For many, the evening is a tough time to get through. If that is, you? Plan something special for that time.

Decide upfront what you need and want to do and create a plan. It may be a suitable time to reflect on your life or the following year, but do not add stress to your day. This is the day to be kind to yourself!

Spend the day with special people.

Just because your kids or grandkids are unavailable doesn’t mean you have to spend the day alone. Spend the day with friends or family members. Work on creating new traditions and memorable moments with friends.

Plan a quick hook-up with your grandchildren or great-grandkids.

Thanks to technology, this is now easy. Plan for the best time to talk to them:

  • When they won’t be too excited about opening presents.
  • You don’t want to catch them when they are hungry.
  • Or tired after a long day of eating and celebrations.

Speak to your son, daughter, or grandchild before the holidays to find the best time to arrange a call with a little one. As you know, it is easier when they can see you, so set up Skype or FaceTime.

Maybe the family can dial you in so that you can watch them opening gifts.

If the kids are young, don’t take it personally if they are not interested in a conversation with you. They have a lot going on.

Spend your day doing things that make you happy.

This is not the day to overthink your life. If you like to paint, then paint. Read that book that you haven’t found time for yet.

Don’t limit your Christmas celebrations to one day.

Plan celebrations with your loved ones around the one day when everybody is stressed and overwhelmed.

Also, a lot of what makes the holidays special is the planning. Just because your kids may not be around doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate your home and make some DIY decorations.

This may be the year to add a few owls to your decorations or make yourself a beautifully decorated Christmas candle.

Spending Christmas Alone Without Children and Grandchildren

What do you do if the kids and grandkids are with your estranged or divorced spouse?

This situation might be unpleasant and sad, but it is life. If you still have bad feelings towards your former husband or wife, maybe now is the time to find a way to deal with this.

These holidays that you associate with family gatherings will not go away. Feel sad but then also learn to move on.

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