Single Parents :: How to Treat Yourself This Christmas


This is the fifth Christmas that I’m spending with my kids post-divorce. Is it a difficult time of year sometimes? Yes. Is it more about presence than presents? Absolutely. Of course, it is. But do I have presents under the tree for me? Heck yes! Are they from me? Heck yes! As I’ve navigated these new holiday years, I’ve learned that one of my love languages is gifts – even if it’s to me from me.

When I was married, I pretty much bought my own Christmas gifts anyway because my ex-husband was Jewish and celebrated Hanukkah. I learned quickly that if Mom’s stocking from Santa was going to have anything in it, she’d have to do it herself. But at least I knew I would get what I liked!

So, if you happen to be a single parent for the holidays, get a little something for you. Even if it’s something small. Times are hard right now for everyone and each and every one of us deserves a little gift. Here are some of the things that I’ve done throughout the years.

1. Participate in a Gift Exchange

This could be with professional groups, social groups, acquaintances or close friends. The one that I have participated in for the past few years is through a Facebook group of Peloton riders that are fans of Cody Rigsby. It’s called the #BooCrew. Every year, there is an online gift exchange set up through Elfster where you can choose to participate and send a gift of a predetermined amount to a fellow Boo Crew member. On Elfster, you can create your wishlist with links to items or just a list of things that you like. This year I got some fabulous BIG red wine glasses that I’ve been eyeing that I would probably never have purchased for myself.

I’ve also had some small gatherings here and there with a gift element. One was a holiday pajama party with friends where we did crafts and a white elephant exchange. Some girlfriends and I are also getting together for a night in this week and doing an ornament exchange. 

2. Treat Yo’Self

I shopped my Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals for gifts that I’m wrapping under the tree. I stopped by All Good Books in Five Points and got a membership for myself after Thanksgiving that came with a free tote that day. I bought some books I’d been wanting to read and will wrap that up (cause it’s not like I would have started them until the holiday break anyway!).

I like to save up gift cards throughout the year to treat myself. I had a Target gift card saved and had seen some cute ideas on “Brrrr” Baskets on social media that couples would make for their significant other. Since I don’t have one, I took myself to Target and made one for myself. In it, I put a holiday blanket, some cute holiday coffee mugs, some candy and a cheesy holiday romance to read this month. I think it’s perfect!

I also got some crafts and things that are on my 2024 list so that I can occupy my time with things that I’ll enjoy when the kids are away. I bought some chunky yarn to learn how to make those chunky yarn blankets, a mini blender to finally learn and perfect my kimchi recipe next year, and the books I mentioned above which are a mix of fiction, cookbooks, and self-care.

3. Surprises 

I subscribe to an annual Fab Fit Fun box with various fun items that arrives quarterly. For the last quarter, I always just put the box under the tree and don’t open it until Christmas. That way, at least it’s something that will be a surprise.

Another fun thing I like to do with my kids (and my daughter asked if we could do it again this year) is take them to a store where I’d give them a set amount of money and they would get one thing for their siblings that they could pick out and something for me. It doesn’t have to be an expensive store – we’ve done it at Five Below and Pop Shelf and those are some of my favorite presents because they picked out something that they thought I would like. They also wrap it when I’m not around and it’s another fun little surprise for all of us.

4. Experiences

As my kids are getting older, I try to get them more experiences as gifts, rather than things. That way, we can do things together but also make memories. Sometimes, it’s with me and all three kids and other times, it’s just me and one child depending on the experience. Since Hamilton is coming to Columbia and all three of my kids are obsessed, that was an easy gift to check off the list for all of us! Experiences could be a family vacation, a concert, a show or even a trip to the zoo or to get a manicure.

The holidays are a happy time, but they can also be a difficult time. Give yourself grace if you are the sole Santa in your home and remember also gift yourself a little joy this holiday season. You deserve it. 

What are you planning to give yourself this Christmas?

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Mee Jean Sasine
Mee Jean is a divorced mom of three amazing kids: Alyssa, (14), Jacob (12) and Isaac (7). She moved to Columbia in 2002 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Once wondering how she could live in a small town, she now embraces it and loves her home in Northeast Columbia. She is a Proposal Writer at HCSC and loves being involved in the community and making Columbia the best place for her kids to grow up in. Mee Jean loves going to local events and supporting businesses around the city. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her friends, reading, watching Georgia football, running races (whether it be 5ks or Spartans), taking pictures and making memories (lots of selfies and hashtags), shopping, relaxing with some wine by the pool and sleeping. 


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