A Single Mom’s Christmas (Er, Hanukkah too) List


Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

The other day my daughter said she was upset because Santa leaves her way more presents than he does for me.

I’m a single parent and also, single. Thankfully, she believes in Santa. Not thankfully, I can only buy so many “fake” presents for myself. I told her that I tell Santa to not bring gifts for me and instead, to leave for her. This seemed to placate her.

In truth, while I wouldn’t mind a pair of diamond earrings, some dance classes and new shoes and a nice coat, I don’t view gifts in the same light as I used to. Or the holidays.

I won’t lie that nice gifts are attractive, but they don’t mean the same thing to me anymore. It’s not a priority for me. When I envision the holidays, I consider the people I will be spending them with and the experiences I will have with them. I would rather have love than diamonds. Time with someone than a gift to unwrap.

Today, as I cleared off my car of the first ice and snow of the season, I was reminded of how great it would be if I had had someone to do it for me while I got my kid ready for school, instead of spending 20 minutes doing it on top of everything else.

And while that’s not the same as seeing the tree in NYC with your partner or sharing champagne on New Year’s, it’s truly just the snapshot of how wonderful having someone great can be. Having someone to be present for you and helpful, is better than a present.

Maybe I feel so unaffected by gifts because I have been single for six years and so, I don’t really get gifts and haven’t for years.

I think truly it’s just because I am older and wiser.

I know that nice gifts can last for a long time, but the care and love for others can last a lifetime. They can bring so much happiness and joy. An hour of someone’s time to me is worth more than the fancy dress I want to buy myself just because.

I hope that one day, my daughter feels the same. That she remembers the experiences we have had together– decorating the tree, driving to see lights, lighting the menorah, etc.– rather than the gifts that either myself or loved ones worked so hard to place under the tree.

My grown-up gift list really only consists of 3 things:

  • the love I give to others
  • the love I want from those I care about
  • the time I spend with the people who matter

I hope for all of you it is the same and most importantly, I hope you have people who love you in your life. And if you’re still keeping your eyes open and looking for someone to share your time with, I hope that person shows up.

Warmth and Joy,


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