While our holiday season has been quite dramatic and we faced a few setbacks, we remained optimistic and cheerful. This year I wanted to create something different for myself and my children. It was quite exciting to forge a new look and feel for the holidays! I really have to thank my mom for helping me create my own holiday traditions. It started when she bought me my first fake Christmas tree for my birthday. Previously, he insisted on getting a real tree because anything else was inauthentic in his opinion. But I grew up with a fake tree and it was what I was used to and not to mention it didn’t smell when it started to go bad and no needles to clean up. Having my own tree could save money every Christmas, because let’s face it, real trees are incredibly expensive.
But for the past two Christmases, I used the old Christmas decorations and traditions that were still connected to my ex. There was that lingering feeling that these were “our” ornaments even though they were mostly the ones my mother had given me. The tree skirt and stockings reminded me of Christmas past. I could not stand the sight of them even though I had chosen most of our stuff. They were really bright, colorful, and childish. They screamed that I was trying way too hard to create the appearance of a happy home. It looked like Joe, our Elf on the Shelf, threw up on our tree and living room. So what is a mother to do? Head to Target, of course! And Target got me good.
My planned excursion to Target was just to pick up toilet paper. Toilet paper turned into a $150 Christmas redecoration! But it felt so good to choose a new aesthetic to reflect the sense of peace and calm that has taken place in our home. I chose new stockings, a tree skirt, and stocking holders. When trying to pick out a tree topper, my son #1 was very opinionated that we choose something that was not similar to the one my ex has (I let him keep it.)
While it may not seem much to some, to me, it felt light and refreshing. For me, this is minimalistic. It reflects a certain maturity. I am no longer a mother who is suffocating everyone with Christmas cheer and decorations.
We added the Polar Express train under the tree, an early Christmas present from me to my kids. My son #1 set it up and placed it under the tree. It was funny, because in order for it to fit, we had to rearrange some furniture, even move the area rug so the tracks could lay flat. Joe, the elf, was more mellow this year as well. I did not stage him getting into all sorts of shenanigans. He was just simply perched on the shelf. A tradition I created with him is that he comes back on Thanksgiving and brings a gift to the kiddos. This year he brought them little Christmas trees from the North Pole. Again, fabulous tinsel trees from Targets’ dollar bins! The children were able to decorate them with ornaments that reflect what they are into. Daughter had a pink tree with glitter and pink ornaments. The boys had a tree filled with Star Wars and sharks. It’s all about individuality in this home!
It feels so good to choose things for my family. I don’t have to ask for permission to purchase new stocking holders because the ones we already were starting to look shitty. I only consult with myself and my bank account.
I took time for myself to sit at a Starbucks and write Christmas cards. I personalized each one. I printed photo cards to place inside from when I took my children to get holiday portraits. These are things that I would have had to ask permission to do and probably wouldn’t had happened. But it happened this year and turned out how I wanted!
Most December nights, the kiddos and I snuggled on the sofa to watch movies. My daughter was really into The Grinch movie, the newest version.
Son #1: What do you want to watch?
Daughter: The Grinch.
Son #1: Which one?
Daughter: The green one.
Insert laughing emoji here.
This year, I decided to give them a few gifts, but they would get one really substantive gift. I decided to give my daughter a dollhouse she could use for her American Girl dolls. Reading the reviews, I saw that it took several hours to build. I being a single-mom would have to plan ahead. I enlisted my elves and we got together to have a doll-house building party. The women in my family met on a Friday evening to build it with some wine and fancy cheese. We toasted to “hard-working women!” It took three hours to build and then after we went for another Target run.
The last Sunday before Christmas my mother, aunt, and I met up for some last minute shopping. We rarely meet downtown to shop because it’s very touristy. But we braved the crowds and over did it.
With New Years’ coming up, I have plans to spend with my fellow single mom friend. This holiday season has been good because it has shown me the perseverance of the female spirit, sisterhood, and most importantly motherhood. This season was as much for myself as my children.
I hope everyone had a very merry holiday and were able to celebrate it in their own way!