Skip to main content

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.''

Story continues below advertisement

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?

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies