by mssinglemama on November 25, 2009


Do you think if I played dead for a day I’d wake up and the house would be clean, the bags would be packed, the cooking would be finished and the Thanksgiving meals would be had.


And I wouldn’t want to miss all of this.

For the first time in years I’m in the mood for the holidays.

Any tips on surviving the holidays without having to fake dead? Being in the mood helps, at least on the onset but will I survive another one without even more gray hairs? What about the ex-factor and sharing over the holidays? What about the budget? But what about all of the good stuff – like holiday parties? Christmas morning around the tree with the kids…

Tell me how you really feel and one of you will win a special holiday present from me! I’m not going to tell you what it is, but it will be wrapped and it will arrive right around Christmas.

My advice?

Knight costume

Take it like a champ. Pull yourself up and face the holidays with the right attitude – don’t let the scrooges and the grumps get you down.

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Sushi and H1N1
December 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm

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Major Bedhead November 25, 2009 at 6:41 am

I’ve always been a bit disappointed by the holidays, mostly because they never live up to the Hallmark-card-holiday-movie expectations I have swirling around in my brain.

What I’ve learned to do is dial it down a few notches. I do some of the things we used to do as a kid – I have to watch the Macy’s Day parade on Thanksgiving morning, I must bake a pumpkin pie, but I don’t stress over the meal being Martha Stewart perfect. Christmas has to involve this special French Toast, stockings can be opened early but presents have to wait until after breakfast. But mostly I just try really hard not to stress out. It’s not easy, though, and sometimes I have to go into another room and take a deep breath to keep from losing it.


Rachel November 25, 2009 at 7:06 am

Both of my parents have divorced parents so the Thanksgiving and Christmas are really about battling fatigue from visiting all the relatives in separate events. I try to find something special about each traditional visit to look forward to.


Steph November 25, 2009 at 7:25 am

I’m a working single mom of twin 11 year old girls 100% of the time, and I live in an area with alot of SAHMs, who I am secretly a little envious of. My ex has absolutely no contact with my girls and hasn’t since they were 8 months old. Because I work full time though, I’m constantly juggling my time. I LOVE the holidays. I do my best to save as much vacation time as I can so I can spend the entire week with my kids between Christmas and New Years (while they don’t have school) just being “Mom”. Not an employee, not anything but Mom and I love it. Yes it’s stressful, yes it’s expensive, but the time is precious and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Jenn November 25, 2009 at 7:27 am

I usually stress right up to the parties and then relax when everything starts. We also put ourselves on a rotation schedule for Thanksgiving, so we aren’t driving to 3 places in one day. It’s the only way for us to enjoy our time and family without stressing too much. It’s the simple things I look forward to. I don’t care so much about the presents, but I try to focus on spending time with the people I love and catching up on all we’ve missed throughout the year.


Tisti November 25, 2009 at 7:38 am

How do I survive the holidays? I do what I can…trying really hard not to stress out. Okay who am I kidding? The holidays kind of suck.

Sharing? I hate it. It sucks. Thankfully I have my daughter for Thanksgiving. But that means I don’t get her for Christmas Eve 🙁

I also deal by completely spoiling my niece and nephews. They are my “fill in” kids.


alexus November 25, 2009 at 8:40 am

I get a glass of wine and go with the flow. I stress enough throughout the year as a single mom and the holidays are my one time to enjoy myself and the family.


AshMama November 25, 2009 at 8:56 am

This year will be our first year as a ‘non-family’ during the holidays. I have mixed emotions about it but am trying to stay focused on what really matters..like my 2 year old son and all of his wonder.
On a sadder note, while going through our decorations when my ex was picking up our son, I found an ornament we had personalized with our names on a gingerbread family. Our son was one month old when we had it made and at the time, there was no end in sight.

My ex saw me getting misty-eyed and commented “don’t break it!”

“It’s already broken,” I said with despondence in my voice.

“Yeah…it sucks..but it’s OKAY.”

Maybe that level of “okayness” is easier for him to attain because he’s the one who left. Or maybe it’s his general approach to everything. In that moment, I realized that it is really okay, but ultimately, I want more than that. The status quo is not enough.
This holiday season I will relish in the new freedom I have found, focus on the present and the future, and maybe, just maybe experience a rebirth of my own for merely being in the prescence of such innocence and curiousity that is my son.
Calmly, I slipped the ornament in a kitchen drawer and decided not to pine for what was. Because “what is” is better and simpler!


debra November 25, 2009 at 8:59 am

I’ll survive this holiday season like my 2 before as a single mom, and the 10 before that as a married one, and those before that all the way back to childhood, actually. I’ll spend a few minutes, acknowledging and being sad about who we’re missing being able to spend time with on that special day, then I’ll embrace those I’m lucky enough to be with.

I’m lucky this year, no one is travelling out of town, so my son’s Dad and Step Mom and I have decided to share our boy for the holidays, splitting Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day into half days so we all get to celebrate with him!

Steph – I’m looking forward to my ‘just being Mom’ time too with the school break; a real treat!


Kelly November 25, 2009 at 9:03 am

As for Thanksgiving, we have done our dinner on the “off” day of Friday for years. It’s always been more important for my Mom to have us all there than it being on a specific day. For Christmas, I have to share with the ex. Some years he gets them and takes them out of state to his parents, but this year they are mine! It’s making this year so much better, I was a bit depressed last year without them. I just try to stay positive and surround myself with friends and family while they’re gone. I still love Christmas- it’s such a magical time- especially when kids are involved. It can be stressful- staying in the budget and getting everything done- but the looks on eveyone’s faces on that day are so worth it all. Just take a few breaks now and again- a glass of wine, a hot bath or just go outside and breathe in the cold air for a moment.


Bobbi Janay November 25, 2009 at 10:07 am

My family has stop having the worlds idea of traditional Thanksgiving food, we opt instead to have different things each year. One year we had pizza, the next Mexican, and so on and so forth. That is when we get together for Thanksgiving sometimes we just forgo getting together if everyone is already super busy. Also for Christmas we celebrate (my immediate family) the Saturday before to make Christmas day a relaxing day for all. My extend family has been known to celebrate Christmas as late as Jan. 15 to keep everybody sane. It isn’t about the day you get together on it is about the feelings and love for one another.

If you see what I am getting at is enjoy the time with the ones you love is the point not the Day, that is what my family has learned.


Amyinbc November 28, 2009 at 1:02 am

So wonderful to read… Making the holidays very special and spacing the wonderful times as they work for you and yours 🙂


T November 25, 2009 at 10:15 am

I’m with you Alaina. For the first time in 4 years, I’m actually excited about the holidays!

Cheers to you!
*chink chink*

Happy Thanksgiving!


Stac November 25, 2009 at 11:22 am

As part of our healing process, I’ve invited my ex over for breakfast Christmas morning. I’ve never had to share the holiday’s before, because he was thousands of miles away and not involved, but now he’s back and I’m trying to be forgiving and caring. That’s what the holiday’s are about, right?


Barb November 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

My ex and I are pretty flexible with Thanksgiving and have half-timed the kids some years so we both get to spend the day with them.

Fortunately, my family always celebrated on Christmas Eve and my ex’s family celebrates Christmas Day. This works out well for us now that we’re divorced and in separate households.


Bonnie November 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Oh, I’m trying so hard to pull up my big girl panties and put a smile on for the holidays! I’m in the midst of a terrible marriage and I can’t seem to figure out how to make it on my own. I’ll be forcing a smile tomorrow at the in-laws dinner table. I am looking forward to decorating for Christmas this weekend since the (hopefully) soon to be Ex will be working lots of retail hours at work. Horray for small miracles!

I will just keep my chin up and make the best of an ugly situation for the kids. I was unemployed for 9 months this year so money is really tight and I’m so afraid that both kids will be so disappointed on Christmas morning. Sigh…

I pray everyday for courage.


mssinglemama November 29, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Awful. Doesn’t get much worse than that – just know many of us have been there before and survived. Save your money… every cent and start building a plan on how to leave.


won November 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm

My most practical tip for surviving the holidays is to never leave home without my ipod and headphones. Seriously. This saves me from having to hear “Tis the season to be jolly…” for the hundredth time piped into the music systems in the stores when I just don’t feel like being jolly.

It allows me to bypass some of the media onslaught that presumes we will all feel the same spirit at the same time.


Zoeyjane November 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I threw myself into the spirit, whole-hog, 300% on November 1st. I’ve annoyed countless people, but I’m also *so* positive, have almost all of the presents bought, haven’t broken my budget (never mind the bank) and feel like priorities are finally realigned. That? Is the reason that this will likely be the best Christmas I’ve had in my life.


Nancy November 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I am nervous as I write this – but this will be my first holiday season with a ….*gasp* boyfriend. It’s been 4 years since my ex left and now I can’t even express how much I am looking forward to the season!


Speedgirl November 25, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I’m lucky that my ex and I are on “good” terms. We wanted some stability for our kids, so he gets them every Thanksgiving and I get them every Easter. His family always gathers for Christmas Eve, so he takes the kids there and then opens presents with them at his house. He brings them back to me so they wake up at home on Christmas morning. And he comes over around 10 to see what Santa brought the kids; he usually stays for a few hours.
I have always hated the holidays, because I come from a small family that is not really close. All of the big family gatherings have never been part of my life. I thought that the divorce would make my holiday depression worse, but really it isn’t that bad. My friends make sure I am welcomed and well-fed every Thanksgiving. I use my time alone on Christmas Eve to wrap all of the presents. I guess we all just have to make the most of what we have.


Brooke November 26, 2009 at 3:25 am

I love the holidays! Our family has been doing a ‘secret santa’ for the adults for a few years and it’s great because there’s no stress over gifts, or overspending.

I survive by putting together a spreadsheet of fun events around town so there’s always something festive to do if we’re in the mood. We’re in Australia so christmas day involves the beach, the pool and a bbq with fresh seafood and salads.

It also helps that I don’t have to share my son – his dad lives too far away. My office closes for 2 weeks so it’s my favourite time of the year for many reasons!


Shannon Kieta November 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

Wellll…We don’t really do Thanksgiving dinner, we go to my mom’s. Which is good for me, because Christmas Eve is MY tradition. It’s also my Anniversary and THAT was the biggest mistake EVER! My hubby and I do not get a moments peace to suck down a glass of champagne let alone get any alone time, so this year is our 5th wedding Anniversary and we are re-newing our vows…IN JUNE! Ha! That way we can go away every year and tell the world to kiss our a$$ and enjoy the Holidays as they should be…with the family. However, this will be a shitty one. It is the first CHristmas without my beautiful sister here with us. She passed away last Jan. of stage 4 Lung cancer. It is so hard because it was her most favorite time of the year. So, sissy, wherever you are, I love you, and Merry Christmas from down here in hell! Hope your Holidays are better than ours! Shannon


Alexis November 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

We must always be thankful for the beautiful things we have, and remember it’s a day- it’s not the definition of our families. Always make the most of the time you have with everyone. Special traditions can always take place every year no matter how the split goes. The holidays are about giving and creating special memories….these are the things I remind myself of quite often at this time of year.


Amyinbc November 28, 2009 at 1:00 am

My goal yearly is to make it as enjoyable and fun for my kids as I can. I am not talking loading the tree up with tons of presents beneath it but rather creating a FUN and involved holiday season. Reminding them that Christmas is a season, not just one day.. That the gifties under the tree are a very small part of the holiday season.

Partaking in all of the fun (and usually free) events in town during Dec. Driving around looking at the Christmas lights shortly before the 25th, donating food stuff with the kids to the local food bank, sending cards out to faraway friends.. Making special gifts for those that are dear to us.

Baking our favorite cookies (sugar) and decorating 🙂 Decorating the tree and having the kids wrap gifts for me (they love that.. lucky me!) Having friends and family over to celebrate pre and post Christmas.

We are very fortunate to have a lot of family in town so there is a lot of visiting 🙂

As a kid the gift opening Christmas morning was SO looked forward to and when it was over no matter what lovelies we got it seemed we were disappointed, so much was focused on the actual day and what Santa brought. My goal is to make the entire season special with events, giving and family time. So far so good…

Happiest Holidays to you all 🙂


Jenna Jean November 28, 2009 at 8:59 am

I just had a miscarriage on my birthday November 22. I just don’t want to be anywhere near turkey, the mall, or anything related to Christmas. The only thing that is pulling me through is my boyfriend and pain medicine.
As long as you are asking for honesty.

Jenna Jean


mssinglemama November 29, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Jenna- I am so sorry. God, can’t even imagine. And yes, I was asking for honesty – thank you for being just that.


arscuore November 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Thanksgiving was a mess. Holidays without the boy just are. I try to make it “me-time”, but my nerves get the better of me, and I end up ill. Spent this one with a four-day headache. Yuck.


Michelle December 1, 2009 at 12:56 pm

My advice…remember the reason for the season.


busymomma66 December 2, 2009 at 5:06 am

I’m feeling very conflicted this year. I feel in the mood, I actually have money this year to buy some decent presents. But both my jobs are extremely busy this time of year so I’m wiped out! Plus we’ve been invited to a lot of events I feel I can’t really say no to–people who’ve been extremely supportive over the past year or two. I’m starting to have anxiety attacks, so if I get my act together and get super organized maybe I have a fighting chance to actually enjoy it all!


Lindsay Manfredi December 2, 2009 at 5:07 am

Auh…the holidays.
I must say, you absolutely have to be prepared. Last Christmas totally sucked because of my spoiled step-daughter and her father. This year, I am going through a divorce. MY daughter (bio) however, will be with me. She is nearly six and is getting a drumset. So, I am determined…it will be all music, laughter, and NO stress. If we go to my parents, this may require a certain amount of spirits to get through the whole family “we really wish you would work out your marriage” schpeel. But I say, let the family cook. Spend emormous amounts of time with friends who love you. Drink amazing wine. Count your blessings. And if you are one who loves to be alone…do it! Take a mini-va. It could perhaps be the most relaxing time of the year.
Cheers, and happy holidays!


junctionmama December 2, 2009 at 5:10 am

It’s easy to get depressed around the holidays. This is my second Christmas as a single mom. The first time around, I was in shock and denial. But this year, I’m feeling the blues and I am determined to make the best of it for me and my girl.

Best wishes to you and all your readers.


Rachel December 2, 2009 at 5:47 am

With my daughter turning 10 in a week, I’ve mostly gotten used to sharing holidays. I do everything I can to make the best of the time we do have, and my family tries to make sure they get to see her, even if for a short time. This year will be harder for me I think because it will be her new baby brothers first Christmas. I was laid off while I was pregnant, my ex got his child support lowered to $80 a month (nice) and there are hospital bills to pay, but a small Christmas wouldn’t be so bad if my kids were at least waking up together Christmas morning.


Kay December 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

Best advice I’ve heard is put your big girl panties on. It’s not the time for bitterness and anger. Think about the children in everything you do. It’s not about the date on the calendar but the memories you make whatever day they may fall on. Holiday traditions can be making cookies or holiday lights in a carriage. My mom tells me my parents split up on Christmas but I have no memory because she always kept our traditions and kept her big girl panties on. As for presents, I keep the number to three no matter what. It puts the emphasis where it should be… on the family and who put us here, boo-boos and all.


Jenna B. December 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I was just starting to get in the holiday spirit when my debit account was hacked and my identity was stolen this week. I am just starting out, so every penny counts, and I was in hysterics the day I realized what had happened. Luckily we caught it in time, but my account and debit card are both frozen while I await a new card (two weeks…right up to Christmas). I’m sure there’s a silver lining in here somewhere…


TeacherMommy December 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Thanksgiving turned out positively excellent–half the day with my boys, and then the evening (and the rest of the weekend) with my boyfriend! I even passed the milestone of going to his mom’s place for the holiday dinner!

Christmas, while still looming with uncertainty, particularly in regard to custody arrangements, isn’t freaking me out like it was before. I’m rather enjoying the simplicity this year, stripping away all the excess and just concentrating on simple things and being with the people I love. My ex and I will figure it out. I’m thinking maybe we’ll do an alternating thing each year–kids with one of us on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas. That may minimize the craziness being packed into one day. What happens, happens.

I haven’t turned on the Christmas music yet, but maybe even that will happen one of these days…


Robyn Jones December 5, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Lower the expectations and enjoy the small moments!

Trying to achieve the perfect Martha decor and attempting to make twenty dozen homemade Christmas cookies only made me loathe the holidays. Trying to recreate my mother-in-law’s Christmas dinner usually turned into a blackened crisp of a disaster. Attempting to make every storytime, yulelog hunt, cookie exchange and party made me the most grumpy and overscheduled woman on Earth.

Now that I am a happily single mom, I am dialing everything down and we are enjoying it much more. We are only saying yes to the events we really really want to do. The kiddos are decorating the tree, Martha Stewart isn’t coming over to inspect and we will all be happier for less decor. Christmas breakfast may be thaw and cook cinnamon rolls and fruit which Supertween and Timesboy will enjoy much more than when mommy got up three hours early to make a feast. We are enjoying the moments- putting a dollar in every red bucket, stopping for peppermint hot chocolates, reading “The Best Christmas Pageant” and more.

Enjoy the everyday little things- by peeking at your blog, it looks like you have it figured out already!



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