This stage of life is a really interesting one. It's really fun, and I can see how many couples would decide not to have kids after living here for a while... The freedom to do whatever you want and to be spontaneous is a beautiful thing. There are limited ties on your money, and all your activities are focused on you and your spouse. There are no carseats, no snacks to fix, no schedules to keep besides your own. It's like college, only better, because you don't have to share this experience with a lot of awkward people smashed into one building, trying to find themselves and whatnot.
This makes for some interesting holidays. Sometimes I think that without small children in our lives, we have a strange void in Christmas. There is no more magic, there are no more silly games, there is no more waiting up at night or setting out cookies. The adult world, the starkly "real" world, is a world without pretending. Our imagination is used towards conceiving the perfect treat to share at the potluck family social; our minds limited to the details of travel and the logistics of packing the perfect suitcase.
With children in our family, I wonder if that magic will return, if we will all put on the guise of Christmas past as we relive our fondest memories through the creation of new ones with these new small people. It makes me consider the traditions lost in youth, and the ones kept childishly. Mr. Kopf and I still sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, as was the tradition in his house--we still make and decorate sugar cookies as was the tradition in mine. The difference is that the Happy Birthday song carries a little more reverence, the cookies less so. Maybe the lack of magic refocuses us on the true meaning of the holiday: the religious significance, the family connections, the lengths we go to in order to make each other happy, the memories of the ones we miss, and the traditions that hold us together, despite time, distance, and age.
My nieces and nephew fill the void on one side of the family. This year, I made them drawstring backpacks for all their adventures. Nephew was a little discouraged by his, but I think he'll come around. The girls gave the present a vote of confidence by wearing them around immediately.
My sister in law got a jersey knit infinity scarf, as well as a coupon for free kid-sitting whenever they want to have a date night. The gift that keeps on giving!
So the young, childless adults travel... this was Christmas number one. Christmas number two at my folks', here we come.