Single Moms and Dads: Give Back To Yourself This Christmas
Here's a tip for the single parents out there who celebrate Christmas. We all work hard and do our best to make Christmas Day a fun and nice time for our kids. We'll sacrifice any extra cash we have in December to get them the toy or game they have their eye on, buy the ingredients we need for a special meal and cookies, etc. - the list goes on. Single moms and dads often get left out of the present opening fun - depending on your family situation and how you celebrate, a mom or dad without a partner is likely not to find much under the tree on Christmas morning. And after taking the kids to church, to see Santa or holiday shopping without a partner on hand, the solitude of singleness can get you down.
Don't get me wrong, opening presents on Christmas morning is not why my kids and I celebrate the holiday. Present opening is a lovely gathering full of tradition, fun and joy. One of coming together to acknowledge and love one another through gift giving as God did for us when he sent the gift of His Son so long ago.
And while it's a happy moment to watch the eyes of our kids light up when they open a special present, there can also be a slightly dissatisfied feeling of the single parent of being left out of those festivities or even feeling like you weren't able to participate fully. As if you were only to provide the fun for everyone else to enjoy. Ask any parent (moms in particular) what a monumental effort pulling together a big holiday can be. Most aren't after big thank you's or huge acknowledgments for their efforts but it is nice to bask in the warmth of being remembered and cherished on Christmas morning. In the absence of, a large amount of cash to spend and a doting partner, you can still feel the love and be the one who provided it for yourself and I'm going to tell you how.
My daughter, in particular, noticed my non-existent gift pile one Christmas and felt sad about it. That's the last thing I want for my kids. I'm not the kind of parent who burdens my children with taking care of my needs but I was touched by her compassion and interest in wanting to look after me. It was then I decided that I could do better to make it a morning where everyone feels satisfied and happy about the joy we're all sharing.
The next year I decided to to take some of the things I needed for myself and wrapped them up under the tree with a tag that said, "To Mom, From Santa." I've wrapped up mittens, boots, sweaters and even kitchen utensils - all things that I would have bought for myself anyway - and put them under the tree. When they were smaller, my kids got a kick out of seeing that Santa had left presents under the tree for me. As they've gotten older, they know where the presents have come from and I hope I have been an example in showing them one of the myriad of ways to love on themselves and make lemonade out of lemons. As for me, I found it was great fun to open a few presents alongside my children as we gleefully show off our surprises under the tree to one another. They may not yet understand the lonesome side of where my efforts came from but that's not really the point. The point was that the traditions we share together at Christmas are sacred and with a little bit of effort and a sense of fun you can fully enjoy all of the special holidays you celebrate with your family in the ways you like to enjoy them.
The best part of it all, though, is that I stopped feeling sorry for myself and took some action to replace my dissatisfaction and loneliness with something fun. Nobody else gave that to me. I gave it to myself. And that has made all the difference.
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