Family Christmas Hopes and Fears

Dec 13, 2023 | Insights

Your family Christmas is a time to reflect on the emotions you experience over the season and consider how they echo the rest of the year.
Friday is market day in Helmsley, where I work. As usual, I was there at 8 am last Friday to pick up some croissants from Cinnamon Twist (they are delicious and go fast, so you have to get there early), visit the butcher, buy some fresh vegetables from Think Fresh and have a coffee with anyone who is around at Happy Barista.

With two weeks to go before Christmas, it was also an excellent time to listen to the hopes and fears of fellow shoppers.

Christmas is about family, and most parents with young children thought the day would be pretty straightforward, if a little exhausting.

Mixed emotions for empty nesters

However, the emotions around Christmas were much more extensive for parents whose children had left home.

For one, there was a touch of sadness as she told how her son was spending Christmas with his partner’s parents. Another seemed to relish the entire family (twenty-three at the last count) coming to stay for Christmas whilst admitting to being daunted by the logistics.

I heard another parent dreading the day and hoping that the occasion would not degenerate into a blazing row as the family came together, as had happened in previous years.

And the Deedes family? Our son, who will drive down from Scotland over the weekend, will join us at Christmas. There will be seven of us (including two cats and two ferrets), and I expect it to be quiet, peaceful and enjoyable. I suspect that we are the lucky ones.

A time for reflection

So, Christmas drives many emotions, especially for empty nest families. Sadly, the sugar-coated ideal of Christmas portrayed by the media and the loneliness experienced by those on their own bookend this spectrum of emotions.

It seems to me that Christmas for parents whose kids have left home is a microcosm of life in general. For some, it comes with anxiety, sadness and worry, whilst others see the season as a joyful opportunity to catch up with family members living away from home.

To this end, Christmas is a time to reflect on the emotions you experience over the season and consider how much they echo the rest of the year. Then, ask yourself if that needs to change and, if so, how you will make it happen.

Photo attribution

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

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Next post

This is the last Insight post of 2023 and the last to be published on a Wednesday. In 2024, Insights will be published on Sunday mornings, and the next Insight will be published on Sunday 7th January 2024.

My name is Jeremy Deedes, and I support parents whose children have left home to re-organise their lives and money so that they grow their wealth, make a difference and live with purpose, grace and style.

The Empty Nest Navigator is a single session and ongoing support to help you get started.
Find out more at jeremydeedes.com/navigator/ or register your interest now to take part in one of twelve navigator sessions between 9 and 18 January 2024.

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