My husband Nuno and I are childless, and we can tell you one thing: Christmas is a feeling that is all around us and within us. It’s the “spirit” we carry throughout the holiday season as we celebrate the birth of Christ.
For those of us without kids, Christmas is enjoyed in a unique way. There is no toy-shopping pressure — it is replaced by planning our social calendar with family and friends.
Our ornaments tell the story of our lives together.
There are plenty of different Christmas traditions to enjoy — and whether you have kids or not, you celebrate them with gratitude.
I am always filled with excitement as the season approaches. It’s a joy that bubbles up from inside. There’s something about the crispness in the air as we wait for the first snowstorm up here in New Hampshire, and that special energy and hustle and bustle that is the season.
For us, getting together with friends for a Yankee swap over a cocktail or two, or attending a bash at a Chinese restaurant in Boston, are all part of our December plans as a couple.
Immediately after Thanksgiving, we put candles in the windows, and our home takes on a warm, glowing atmosphere, reminiscent of the works of Charles Dickens or Norman Rockwell. All the decorated houses turn my evening commute into a magical 30 minutes of witnessing the Christmas spirit. It’s alive and well — and displayed everywhere.
The selection of the Christmas tree can be challenging — not too big, not too small, good strong branches to hold the heavy ornaments. We traditionally purchase our tree from our local fire department — it helps them raise money, and we feel good knowing we’ve contributed to our community in some small way.
We decorate our wreaths with berries from our own holly plant, and admire our handiwork all winter long. While they may not be spectacular, we enjoy doing it. It’s part of our husband-and-wife Christmas preparation.
The tree is in the stand, the twinkling Christmas lights wrapped around it, and we unpack the ornaments. On goes the Christmas music, and the sing-a-long begins as my husband and I together unwrap each ornament and place it on the tree, in just the perfect spot.
Each ornament has a story, a memory, and I always love the one that we completely forgot about — the one that takes us back to a special time and place. These ornaments tell the story of our lives together. This is my favorite Christmas tradition.
We also hang a small stocking for each pet. They don’t know or care, but it makes us feel good to include them — a stocking for each family member.
Our marital tradition is to stay home on Christmas Eve watching “A Christmas Carol,” starring George C. Scott. It’s a simple but enjoyable tradition — being home, all the humans and animals safe and sound together. The fireplace and Christmas tree are the only lights in the room, and we are filled with peace.
On Christmas Day, we travel together to spend the day with family — my mom, brothers, and nephew. We don’t see each other often during the year, so it’s wonderful to just spend time together, and reminisce about Christmases past. There are always lots of laughs and storytelling, amazing food, and a few gifts exchanged.
As we get older, we narrow down the number of gifts. My shopping list consists of my mom and my nephew, which keeps me out of the stores. It really allows me time to enjoy all the other traditions of the holiday season.
Each Christmas, my husband and I remember those no longer with us, silently or aloud. They are all acknowledged, and still very much missed.
At some point in life, you realize you don’t need or want anything — everything important, we’ve already got. Time is the true gift, Nuno and I have realized. And our family — without children — is how we are meant to be. And for that, we give thanks at this holy time of year.
Lisa Ferrari is a service coordinator at a New Hampshire car dealership and a freelance writer.