Single? If you spent Christmas toasting your friends instead of your family, you may be in the majority. According to a recent study from a professor at Lafayette College, more than 40 per cent of unmarried US residents under age 60 are happy to spend the holiday with friends rather than biological family.
Avoiding stress is one of the biggest reasons why people create their own families to spend the holidays with says Jamila Bookwala, the author of the study.
"The reason many of them were creating their own alternative families, though, is because while we love our families and they often bring us great joy, they are also often our biggest source of emotional stress,'' she says. "And friends don't come with as much emotional stress.''
While the cost of travelling to be with family over the holidays may be the deciding factor for some singles, Bookwala says its more often than not a personal choice to spend time with a collection of friends.
"'Family' has taken on a fluid definition,'' Bookwala says. "'Family' in the past was always defined as those people to whom you were related. "But in terms of functionality, 'family' has always been described as a close-knit, loyal group of people. And in that regard, nothing has changed.''
In the celebrity world, one couple risked emotional stress in effort to make a nice Christmas for their children this year. People magazine is reporting that Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger reunited to spend Christmas together with their children at their California home. The two split in July.
Have you ever chosen to spend holidays with friends rather than family?