Christmas without kids is strange. A bunch of adults sitting around a tree opening gifts. Half the boxes are full of things that are unneeded. If I listen closely, I hear an empty sound behind the holiday music on the radio. No pitter-patter of footed pajamas running down the hallway. No excited chatter about leaving cookies for Santa and carrots for reindeer. The nativity scene sits on the table gathering dust (when my brothers and I were little, we loved playing with all the figurines and the straw-roofed stall that served as the manger).

Most days I can manage the roller coaster of emotions that comes hand-in-hand with infertility struggles. But Christmas is hard. I didn’t want to deal this year. I suggested getting away, and Ron loved the idea. We’d rent a house on the beach and invite family to spend the weekend with us. We’d cook lighter, healthy meals and simply enjoy being together. We’d pay. It would be our gift. That idea was shot down. The relatives wanted to stay home. Next, we proposed Secret Santas. Instead of each adult buying every other adult a bunch of gifts, let’s pick names. One gift given, one received. Yikes. Bad idea. Ron got an earful for that one.

So….we bought gifts. Lots for everyone. We lugged the packages into the car and sat in a huge traffic jam all day. Arrived at the relatives. Ate too much sugar. Opened stuff and stuff and more stuff. Drove treacherous, snowy roads back home.

And you know what? It was okay. In fact, it was fun. I know his parents won’t be around forever, and celebrating in this way is important to them. So we made it important to us. There is a joy and appreciation that comes with thoughtful gifts (even unnecessary ones). And all the cookies and candy…while I could do without them…they were homemade with kindness and love. Not everybody has that. The season always brings about a time of spiritual reflection. And although I can’t explain the mysterious ways of God (why no kids for us?), I do believe God walks alongside us. And I believe he cares about our pain. I’m thankful for the families he has given us and all of their holiday traditions.

About Jenny Rough

Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. Visit her on the web at

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