The dual-income-no-kids-yet (dinkys) generation don’t necessarily want to go home for an awkward Christmas, and this was a chance to seize the moment
December 16, 2023 6:00 am(Updated 6:02 am)
Let me start by saying that Christmas with my immediate family is joyful. At my parents’ home it’s almost a Hallmark-like event – roaring log fire, a stream of delicious homemade dishes rolling out of the kitchen and a succession of meticulously planned games. I’m not saying it’s perfect (the year that I got so drunk on Christmas Eve that my sister had to scoop me up off the pavement outside a pub at 2am is best forgotten), but generally it’s a lovely time.
When it comes to other branches of the family – both my partner’s and mine – Christmas has become a juggling act of driving around to visit the various warring factions that no longer speak to one another, having to lie about who we’re seeing next, and dealing with the anxiety-inducing atmosphere when one person inevitably says something they shouldn’t after having had too much to drink.
Christmas has become more stressful than celebratory. I’m part of a generation that’s expected to go “back home” to our parents over Christmas; no other possible alternative is seriously considered.
As a cash-strapped 20-something, this was ideal. Free food! Free heating! Free lifts into town! But, quite frankly, at the age of 35, I’m too old for it. Too old to sleep in a cramped childhood bedroom, too old to base the whole day around opening presents, too old to still enjoy the traditions that we did as children.
After a particularly stressful Christmas “back home” in 2021, my boyfriend and I decided, after a few glasses of Baileys, to go abroad the following year. And not just anywhere: to the Maldives.
Now let’s be clear, this was wildly out of our usual holiday budget. We spent all of 2022 paying for it, and a large part of 2023 too. The Maldives is a famously extravagant holiday destination at any time, but over Christmas they really rack up the extra charges.
Festive cocktails outside the all-inclusive package? $20. Lunch in the Michelin-star underwater restaurant? $200. Beachside Christmas Eve banquet and gala? $300. But as “dinkys” (dual income, no kids yet) we thought that this might our one chance to do it, and to have a Christmas to remember.
Happily, it was. It really was a paradise island with over-water villas, luxury dining experiences and tropical sunshine. Yes, it felt a little weird to be eating teppanyaki instead of turkey on Christmas Day, and watching someone dressed as Santa Claus pull up by jet ski rather than sleigh. But the atmosphere was jubilant. Everybody was in good spirits and we were, for the first time, spending Christmas doing exactly what we wanted, when we wanted – no driving, no trying to please everyone, no drama.
We’re clearly not alone. Research by house-swapping service HomeExchange (think The Holiday) has found that 39 per cent of Britons have chosen to spend Christmas Day by themselves, while package holiday provider Holiday Best has seen a 210 per cent increase in searches for winter holiday deals for couples, solo travellers and groups of adults.
So if you’ve been dreaming of spending Christmas Day however – and wherever – you want, even if it’s just once, this is your cue to give it some serious thought. Your family (and your bank account) will get over it, trust me – and it might just be your best Christmas yet.