Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Holiday Slights December 6, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

“Come One, Come All!” trumpets the headline.

I’m skimming the special calendar section of our local paper and find myself drawn into a description of a holiday spectacular and crafts fair, featuring actors as classic Dickens characters and carolers strolling in Victorian dress as they sing in the season. I am so there!

But then I read the small print: “Revelers (that’s me!), particularly families (uh, wait), are invited to enjoy the festivities.” It’s possible I’m being over-sensitive, but I am so sick and tired of slights like this, and it seems to strike an especially painful chord with me as we approach the holiday season. The “Family Sing-Along” at church. The “Family Pot-Luck” intended to bring coworkers closer together. The “Family Movie Night,” where multiple generations come together to enjoy a touching holiday-themed film. I love love love all of these fun activities, and will participate even though I’m not a 5-year-old, even though I am not part of a “family.” It’s sad to me, though, that my revelry is diminished by the sting of not feeling legitimately part of the event, all because of a marketing choice.

While I don’t want to get PC (politically correct) to the point of ridiculousness, I’d like to suggest to the world that there are other ways to welcome everyone without making single and/or childfree people feel…well…unwelcome. “Fun for all ages!” “Something for everyone!” The marketers for the fair had me at “Come One, Come All!” I wish they’d left it at that.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. “Mele Kalikimaka” might be her favorite Christmas carol.

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2 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Holiday Slights”

  1. Kemish Says:

    I’ve wondered about this too. In our local community during the summer months they have a street festival every Wednesday night and it is called the Family Festival. I have never attended. Yes, I know, some may say that I am being ‘petty about the title’ I mean, what’s in a name – but the truth of the matter is as some one who doesn’t have a ‘family’ I feel like I am not included. Who ever markets this event is missing out on us DINKS – double income without kids – and our disposable income.

  2. loribeth Says:

    This is a pet peeve of mine too, & not just in relation to the holidays (although it certainly seems more prevalent at this time of year). Advertising is very much geared to families, & to moms — even though, as Kemish says above, those of us without kids probably have even more disposable income to spread around. ; )

    Plus, I’m not sure that every occasion needs to be turned into a “family” event. I am seeing more & more of that these days — parents taking their kids to places & events that were once reserved for adults. It’s nice to be inclusive, but I think even parents sometimes appreciate being able to get away from their kids & spend some time in the company of other adults. — Well, some of them, maybe. I have heard of some parents who absolutely will not leave their children with anyone else under any circumstances — not even relatives, let alone (heaven forbid) a teenaged babysitter. But that’s probably another post entirely…!


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