What His Holiday Gift Really Says About Your Relationship Status

You’re in a relationship with a new guy and it’s the holidays. That means gifts. Well, usually.

You get a present from him and, in true female fashion, you analyze what his holiday gift means. You wouldn’t have a pulse if you didn’t. But instead of the guess work and sleuthing, there are a few ways to find out for sure.
Before we dive into the dirty details, let’s consider a few things:

Money doesn’t matter. People should spend what they can afford. It’s the thought that counts the most. The exception to this is a wealthy guy who goes cheap on a gift.
The thought and time invested is what counts and shows how much he cares… or doesn’t.

1. A gift card of low denomination
It means he considers you… and that’s about it (unless he is broke, then it is more meaningful). He wants you to feel acknowledged but he’s not about to go crazy for you. This is a good “early dating,” gift but if you have stronger feelings for him, you’ll be disappointed not about the dollars spent, but the less personal gift.

Now, if he is broke and does this, it means he probably didn’t know what to get you and wanted to acknowledge you still. And depending on how broke he is, it could mean you really matter to him but he doesn’t know you well enough yet.

Read More: What His Holiday Gift Really Says About Your Relationship Status

Thoughts Count,
Laura

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Broke Single Parent Holiday

The buzz is on. Everyone is chatting about their awesome holiday vacations. The presents they’re buying for their spouses. The gift list they have made for their kiddos. The smashing New Year’s Eve reservations they’ve got in store. It sounds so thrilling and wonderful, but to you, it feels pretty god darn awful. This is the part in which your “Fa-la-la-la-la” is completely flat:

The part in which you realize you’re flat broke and there’s no awesome holiday getaway or hot spousal date or worse, an amazing list of gifts you’re dying to buy your kids.

Sure. Those things exist in your head but they’re not reality. Instead, you sit down and look at your budget. You look at how much money you have coming in and how much you can use to contribute towards the holidays, whether that be taking any days off or buying gifts for your children. You don’t feel so “Fa-la-la-la-la,” when you look at the bottom line that money is tight and that you’re going to be lucky if you can take vacation days because guess what? As a single parent, you probably used up quite a bit already.

It’s enough to make you Bah- humbug and honestly, feel inferior and sad that the holidays in your head aren’t living up to the ones you’ll have in reality. Does it suck? Sure, but is it the end of the world? No. No, damnit it’s not. Instead of feeling bad that you can’t make the holidays some huge smash, remember that your kids don’t need huge gifts and getaways to be happy. That being a broke single parent at the holidays is hard, but it’s not awful. Being a homeless single parent on the holidays IS awful. And even still—it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Being an unloving and unresponsive or absent parent makes you a bad parent. Not buying your kid every one of his or her whims and fancy does not qualify you as a bad parent. Having to work Christmas- New Year’s Eve vacation does not make you a bad parent.

Read More: Broke Single Parent Holiday

Jingle Bell Broke,

Laura

15 Things Working Moms Should Definitely NOT Do This Holiday Season

The holidays are a special time of year, but they’re also the time of year for insane work deadlines, sugary binge-eating, serious spending—and way too much time with those extended family members we avoid the rest of the year. So it’s pretty easy to blow a gasket or burst a seam while at work or home during this period. Want to avoid losing it this year end, and gain some ho-ho-ho instead? Do not do these things.

1. Line Up Back-up Care at the Last Minute

Will the kids be out of from school from before Christmas until after the New Year, but you’ll be powering through at the office? Hello, working mom. Many of us will be making the commute to work during the holidays. One thing you definitely cannot do at the last minute: get back-up care.

You think your family and friends will be around to watch the kids. You think your sitter will be on deck. Uh, uh, life happens. So make concrete plans well in advance—including a plan B in case plan A falls through. This way, your kids will be cared for, and you won’t have to drag them with you to the office (if you’re even allowed to).

Read More: 15 Things Working Moms Should Definitely NOT Do This Holiday Season

Relax This Season,

Laura

4 Friends a Single Mom Needs Over the Holidays

For a single mom, the holidays can be daunting on multiple levels. If she’s sharing her children with their other parent, the pain of missing them at the holidays can be hard to deal with. If she’s not sharing them, she might be feeling overwhelmed with the pressure of her own life, plus the pressure of the holidays. Let’s not forget the financial difficulties that may present themselves to a single parent and the struggles a single mom may come up against when coparenting with an ex. More than ever, moms, your single-mom friends need you, whether it’s to join you on the holidays or perhaps to just be a willing ear to listen to what’s going on with them.

The Inviter

Single moms are often sharing children with a coparent or perhaps they’re on their own with the kids during the holidays.

Read More:4 Friends a Single Mom Needs Over the Holidays

Friends Are Family,

Laura

3 Times You Will Cry Thanks to Your Mother-in-Law Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season for bright lights, cookies, gift wrapping, and in-laws! Some of you are already drinking simply knowing you’ll be spending lots of “quality time” with the in-laws, while others who are blessed can’t wait for the chance to hug their in-laws hello. Even the nicest of in-laws, though, especially those mother-in-laws, will bring the calmest and most easygoing mother to tears if you’re spending long amounts of time mingling with the in-laws. Here are three times your mother-in-law is bound to make you sob into your eggnog or latkes at the holidays. Grab the tissues and some chocolate. If your MIL is a real “sweet” one, add Xanax to that list.

Read More: 3 Times You Will Cry Thanks to Your Mother-in-Law Over the Holidays

Sniff, Sniff,

Laura

When Grandparents Stay in Your Home, Whose Rules Win?

‘Tis the season for gifts, baked goods, Santa mall visits, and . . . in-laws and family visiting. Eek! Whether you’re best buddies with your mom or your mom-in-law or at your wits’ end with one or both of them, staying under your roof with another “Head Woman in Charge” can be a challenge because both you and Grandma (or Nonna, or Nana, or whatever your family calls her) are used to being the rule-maker. So what happens when Grandma stays over at your house? Are you the boss or is Grandma?

 

Read More: When Grandparents Stay in Your Home, Whose Rules Win?

It’s a Balancing Act, But Maintain Your Homes Moms,

Laura

Dual Holiday Celebrations? How to Celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas Without Blowing a Gasket!

Growing up, I didn’t get a Jewish education, but we celebrated the Jewish holidays. My mom had converted from Catholicism and Protestantism to Judaism for my father and then years later when I met my ex-husband, I started to celebrate the Christian holidays with him as well as the Jewish ones. Back in my parents’ day, this would have been considered unusual to raise children with more than one religion, but nowadays it’s more common. In fact in 2013, the Pew Research Center found that 81 percent of non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas. Perhaps the holiday has become more American than religious for those of us raised in this country who comes from non-Christian backgrounds?

Read More: Dual Holiday Celebrations? How to Celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas Without Blowing a Gasket!

Keeping Zen & Merry Chrismukkah!

Laura