We are alone for the Holidays. Our children and grandchildren are elsewhere. This is the fallout from having children who marry spouses whose families have holiday traditions they want to honor with their presence. When our children were young, our tradition was to escape the hoopla and take the family skiing. But our children are grown now with families of their own, live in cities far from us and are creating their own ways of observing the Season.
We're not alone in this. There are lots of reasons why adult children spend their holidays with other parents or friends or doing something else. Many of us have found work-arounds. Some of our friends have time-shifted the holidays. That is, they pre-celebrated or are post-celebrating the holiday at a time and day more convenient to gathering everyone together. Good will to all.
But that still leaves the vacuum that is the day of the holiday itself. Christmas, in particular, can feel like the world has ghosted us, that everyone else is gathered around their living rooms, singing carols, opening gifts, eating Christmas dinner and thinking about peace and goodwill to man. (Well, maybe as an outsider looking in my imagination is over-firing.) But the fact remains that on Christmas day stores, restaurants, theaters, museums and other amusements have shut their doors. Shout out to movie theaters for keeping their screens lit.
What to do? Not all of us will over-compensate by crowding into Chinese restaurants. One set of friends whose children are otherwise occupied made reservations for Christmas dinner at a very chic--and fabulous--country inn. Friends of theirs--also without the company of the children from either his or her first marriages--will join them.
Other friends are leaving the country--off to Baja, Mexico to loll in the sun and enjoy water sports while their children celebrate the holidays skiing and hiking in the deep chill of New England.
And then there's always a good book, Netflix and freshly popped popcorn. Stream The Crown or Jack Ryan and, poof, before we know it, it's the day after.