This year will be my first Christmas as a single mother with my beautiful offspring. All of my family live in The Netherlands and I will spending Christmas Eve and Christmas day partly on my own, as the children will be having Christmas quality time with their father too. With a very small budget and no other family members here in the UK to share Christmas day with, I must admit I was dreading it all a little bit. However with my glass always half full and able to find that silver lining in every cloud, I’d like to share some of my thoughts and ideas on how you too can smash this Christmas. In spite of changes from previous years and little funds to splash out to make sure my two children will have the fabulous Christmas they deserve, spending time by myself will be fun and meaningful too!
I am super blessed with my 16 and 12 year old, who both are very sensible and understanding of my low budget situation this year. However as a parent you like to give your children the best and want to see happy and surprised faces when they open their presents on Christmas morning. There is no shame in admitting your budget can’t stretch very far. It’s far better than spending money you don’t have for just one day and start the New Year with a hefty debt. I have learnt with honesty and a fair explanation children, family and friends are very understanding of your situation. Instead of splashing out on expensive presents and unwanted gifts, use your creativity and imagination. I did budget a few months back for one biggish present each. The rest of my presents are homemade or bought from small local businesses. Not only will you support and help local businesses, you are also supporting a dream and the area where you live, work and play. As for using your creativity and imagination? Think trips out to create new memories and something to look forward to. Think silly games to play together and make Christmas day a fun day. Presence really is more important than lots of presents. And let’s be honest…… How many of us have been guilty of finding unwanted and unopened Christmas presents in cupboards when we are doing our spring clean?
“It’s not what is under the Christmas tree that matters,
it’s who gathers around it”
Christmas Decorations and cards
There is really no need to spend a fortune on Christmas decorations and cards. If your children are still of a young age there is no better way to spend the cold days leading up to Christmas indoors making your own decorations. There is no shame asking friends and family for ‘old’ Christmas decorations they don’t use anymore. You will, trust me end up with more than you can decorate your whole neighbourhood with! As for cards, choose to save trees and send a digital card. Use your creativity and take some fun family Christmas pictures. Not only will you have lots of pre-Christmas fun doing so, it will save you expensive delivery costs. Alternatively you could do what I have done previous years. Instead of spending your money on cards and postage, donate an amount to a charity of your choice. They need it so much more and Christmas cards will just end up with the old papers after the festive season.
So this year I have the challenge to cook a Christmas meal for three, all by myself. As my close friends know by now, me and cooking are not exactly best friends. However when I told my two I will be making Christmas dinner this year they both immediately offered to help! After laughing and looking slightly worried at the same time, I asked them both to come up with a totally different thing to eat. Just to make cooking more fun and a family effort. As for the Christmas food shop that can be not only stressful but very expensive too. I will be shopping at my local Aldi and am going to make a list of what we really need to avoid buying unnecessary extras that will probably end up in the bin. Aldi do a tasty 5-bird roast consisting of Turkey, Duck, Goose, Pheasant and Chicken layered with pork Clementine and Cranberry, for only a tenner! And with clear cooking instructions you can’t go wrong.
“Gifts of time and love are surely
the best ingredients of a truly merry Christmas”
Do something different
I understand traditions can be very nice and comforting. However some of us are not in a position to do so this year for various reasons. They say a change is as good as a rest. So don’t be scared not to follow the crowd and previous Christmas traditions, but do totally something different this year. Instead of slobbing out in front of the TV after the Christmas meal with a tin of Celebrations, get some old fashioned board games out. Go for a little refreshing walk. Have little group chat about your highs of the year and your plans for the New Year. Throw all the chairs and tables aside and have a little dance off and miming competition. Or have a little pamper session with face masks and massages. Anything to get you all going and have something fun to look back on with a smiling face.
Be mindful of others
Not everyone is lucky to spend time with their loved ones during the festive season. Not everyone is looking forward to Christmas. Whether this is due to depression, illness, loss of family member or loved one, being elderly and alone or having to work. Just take a moment and see if you can maybe do something for someone who is struggling behind closed doors. A phone call, a text message, just nipping to a neighbour or eldery person for an hour or inviting a friend for a Christmas drink can really make a big difference to someone’s Christmas. Isn’t that afterall what the Christmas spirit is really about. With me spending some time alone over Christmas, I’ve decided to get in touch with the Salvation Army and will be spending Christmas night given a helping hand in Warrington. If anyone would like to join me feel free to get I touch. The more the merrier!
“Kindness is a wonderful way to let another struggling soul know
that there is still love in this world”
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas however way you decide to celebrate it. If you are not in a good place and need someone to talk with don’t hesitate to ring The Samaritans on 08457 909090.
Peace, love and joy, Essy xxx