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arguments & IbuprofeN: 

What Christmas looks like in your 20s

By Quarterlife readers


It's fine if it doesn't feel like "the most wonderful time of the year".


It’s a time for family, a time for friends and a time to rush around lit-up cities wearing ear muffs, while clutching mulled wine with a starry glint in your eye. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and that special time, as Billy Mack in Love Actually says, “for people with someone they love in their lives”. But when we we asked you if you were feeling the Christmas glow, you were split pretty much down the middle.


59 per cent of you said that Christmas is your favourite time of year, and 41 per cent of you said it isn’t.


Your quarterlife can sometimes feel like a strange sort of no-man’s land at Christmas. We’ve moved past the childhood frenzy of Christmas being the most exciting day of the entire year; when our stomachs would squirm as we lay in our beds on Christmas morning, anticipating stockings full of presents and waiting for our lazy siblings to get out of bed. But we haven’t yet graduated to having a Christmas of 'our own'. 

We aren’t yet 'grown-up' enough to have our own Christmas setup (complete with perfect partner wearing the perfect festive knit and a couple of angelic, chubby-cheeked kids), but apparently we’re “too old for stockings”.


Our most stressful Christmas thoughts are no longer “which game am I going to make Uncle John play with me this year?”, they now sound more like “please no one ask me what I’ve been up to since uni or about my loan repayments”. 


So, what does Christmas mean when you’re not still a kid, don’t have kids of your own but you’re still (somehow) stuck on the “kids’ table”?


To get a definitive answer on what a true quarterlife Christmas is like - not the ones we see in the movies and the Christmas specials - we asked what you love and hate most about Christmas. Your responses comforted us, and showed us we aren’t alone in our love-hate relationship with the season. So, we’ve listed our favourites below. We hope these comfort and amuse you in equal measure...


What you told us you love about Christmas...


  1. The smell of Christmas trees

  2. Shit Christmas tunes

  3. Shit Christmas movies

  4. The Christmas ad wars

  5. Seeing people I love but never get to see normally

  6. Cosy nights in with candles, fairy lights and crackling fire videos on Youtube

  7. Cheap chocolate advent calendars

  8. Christmas carols at some pokey local church that’s cold and smells

  9. A half-pint glass full of Bailey’s

  10. Glacé cherries, prawn cocktail and other 70s treats

  11. Mince pies in the microwave

  12. Snow (and when it inevitably doesn’t snow in December ever, making do by searching “snow scenes” on Youtube and have it playing on loop in my living room)


What you told us you hate about Christmas...


  1. Family you barely know and can’t be fully yourself with

  2. The waste - food no one eats, presents that will never be used, the new cheap glittery outfit I know I'll only wear once

  3. Constant washing up and tidying

  4. Trying and inevitably failing to keep up with everyone socially

  5. Seeing couples in love everywhere when you’re single and sad

  6. Spending more money than I have

  7. The Scrooges of the family who never stop complaining

  8. Constant eating and drinking when I don’t feel like it

  9. Cabin fever - I love my family but a week is a long time!

  10. Wrapping presents badly, forgetting to write xmas cards and feeling like a failure

  11. The build-up and pressure to be happy all the time

  12. Politics at the dinner table

Clearly, Christmas has its highs and lows for every 20-something, no matter who you’re spending the season with or what is going on in your life at the time. So, wrap up, hunker down and look after yourself this Christmas. Embrace each moment as it comes, without feeling the pressure to be loving (or even liking) every minute.

Image by unknown Pinterest artist.

Enjoyed this?

Why not try...

How to survive being on the “kids’ table” at Christmas in your 20s


By Jenny Rowe

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