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The Secret Joys at Christmas

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CHRISTMAS INVITE LIST
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During the holiday season, joy, gratifying joy, is ubiquitous, both night and day. Don't you just love it - the magic of Christmas: the carols; the decorations; the lights - particularly if you are a child. But you probably aren't, if you're reading this blog.

Adults tend to experience similar ethereal joy too even if it is the most stressful time of year, especially mothers. But what if you're not a mother, nor in a position to experience this euphoria through the eyes of a child? Say you are among the one in five women in the UK and the US who have chosen to remain childless, or are part of the many couples dealing with infertility?

Don't despair! Love the magic anyhow because 'tis the season for you, without offspring, to be joyous too, and bask in the secret joys of not having children at Christmas.

Of course, there are great joys in motherhood, which are highlighted at this time of year; such as trimming the tree with a little one, searching for the hottest toy, then watching a child open it and experience the 'wow' factor. This in itself has to be worth all the trouble a mother endures at Hamleys: tripping over FurReal Go Go Walking Pups, making her way through the swarming crowds, that include Fireman Sam and Rock Star Mickey and the rest whizzing around the shop on micro scooters.

It's all part of the experience, memories to savour, for sure. But as I said, there are joys in not having children too, even if they are closely guarded. The first being that you're not on the frontlines of the hype, which means you don't have to go near Hamleys, Toys R Us, or any such place, unless you foolishly volunteer to take a load off a friend or a relative, like I did several years ago. All I can say is that once was enough! Aunties should be exempt from such traumatic experiences.

Furthermore, on a slightly more serious note, you come into financial freedom at this time of year; even if it's relative to income and the economy. It's the season for giving, so much so that many of us often lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, particularly when it comes to offspring.

Without this worry, you can be far more focused and generous with loved ones, including nieces, nephews and godchildren, as well as sponsored children (my husband and I have two through Compassion UK). And you don't have to skimp on your own gifts. Come on...you deserve those shoes, that handbag, that holiday, that really big 'Good Gift' that will make you feel great, whatever is it.

Spoiling oneself, at least once a year, means more relaxation and less worry, in general; just what you need leading up to the big day, and on it too. How wonderful not to have the responsibility of wrestling away sweets from a little one during the annual Christingle Service, or a lit candle away from her for that matter or to have to snag or sew the awkward costume for the Christmas play. And on Christmas Day, what a pleasure it is to sleep in.

This, of course, is a rare joy. I don't know about you, but I rarely sleep in owing to the hustle and bustle of life and, if my memory serves me correctly, children don't find it joyful to sleep in ever, and certainly not at Christmas (as a child, I got up at five, maybe four o'clock seeking Santa. Sorry, Mother!)

Sounds well and good, right? But what about Christmas dinner, when all the relatives and friends bring children, little and big, happy and chirpy? Never mind. They get to take them home, while you experience the joy of quiet time.

Imagine, and in doing so, savour what you have. We've all heard this before: focus on what you have, not what you don't have (yaddy-yaddy-yadda), and surely we've practised it from time to time. But, during the holiday season, this, in particular, perhaps leads to the greatest joy of all; the one that brings true freedom.

It is the joy of staying in the moment, just a little bit longer than the next person. After all, who has any spare time these days, what with working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and all that accompanies the festive season?

But with no children to care for, your moment just got longer. Take it for what it is...a secret joy. Go ahead! Enjoy the magic of Christmas, with or without children.