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The empty-nest holidays

Last week, I spoke with a friend about Christmas and asked if her children would be home for the holidays. Her son graduated from college last spring and is currently living in another state, and her daughter moved out of Virginia, too, after graduating from college several years ago. She said they would both be home, and she and her husband are very excited. Our conversation prompted me to reminisce about past holidays that Jim and I have spent alone while our sons were off to faraway places.

That first empty-nest holidays without the kids happens to all of us who have spent the major portion of our adult years preparing our children to venture forth on their own. It isn’t easy when the time comes, and it isn’t fun. In fact, the first Christmas alone can be depressing, and I feel for the moms and dads who have to face that reality unprepared.

Not expecting much of a response, I decided to Google “empty-nest Christmas ideas,” and immediately received 708,000 hits. The results we...

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