It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
There are parties to plan and stockings to stuff and gifts to give…but wait! This is 2021 and we’re still recovering from the after-effects of a major pandemic. The news is flooded with stories about how this holiday season will be different. There’s a backlog of ships carrying all our stuff and the store shelves are less and less stocked by the day.
Maybe this year we’ll have to celebrate the holidays a little differently again, but that might not be a bad thing. Maybe this year our focus can shift to the true meaning of the season: BEING TOGETHER.
So go all out and deck those halls, my friends! But here’s one question to ask yourself before sending out your holiday invites:
Who’s on the list?
When my kids were little, there was nothing our family looked forward to more than the Hauser Family Christmas Kickoff weekend. It always fell on the weekend after Thanksgiving and involved watching Elf, drinking hot cocoa and making cookies, decorating the tree while sharing all the memories associated with the ornaments we’d collected on our grand adventures, roasting s’mores, and hanging lots and lots and LOTS of strands of lights outside (specifically organized exactly into red, yellow, blue, green order thankyouverymuch).
After Kevin died (three days after Christmas kickoff weekend!), it took years to figure out how to manage our grief and loss during the holidays. It helped that we had supportive friends who included us in their celebrations until I finally got the point where I could even play Christmas music again, let alone establish our own “Hauserbubble” traditions.
Confession: Being single during the holidays can really suck.
For some single parents and their children, the holidays are not necessarily the most wonderful time of the year. The happy family pictures on Christmas cards and social media posts can be a reminder of what they don’t have, or what they once had but are now missing. And it’s a reality that single moms face not just during the first year when friends show up in droves, but year after year, long after the meals, and the invitations, stop arriving.
Yep, being single during the holidays can be rough
We’ve arrived here many ways. Some have been widowed, while others have been through tough divorces that have left them with a completely different friend-scape. Some have courageously chosen the single mom life, while others have been dragged into it kicking and screaming. But no matter how we got here, there’s one thing we all have in common: Many times we feel like we’re stranded with Rudolph and Hermey on the Island of Misfit Toys.
The holidays are all about family, and when your family doesn’t look like everybody else’s, it can feel super isolating, especially in the traditional-family filled suburbs.
What can you do? It’s so simple.
Don’t forget your single friends
Eventually, I started hosting my own events. The first was a Friendsgiving dinner and gingerbread house-making competition, and I was here for it. I invited family, neighbors, and all my single friends and their kiddos.
Y’all, it was SO. MUCH. FUN!
The next year, I added a Samaritan’s Purse box-stuffing party where everyone brought items, we piled them all in the middle of the room, and the adults chatted while the kids packed away. Talk about a holly jolly Christmas!
The next year I stepped up my game and hosted an ugly sweater Christmas party. Everyone, married and single friends alike, pitched in to plan, signed up to bring a treat, and showed up ready to rock around the Christmas tree!
Bring joy through simple gestures
It’s amazing how the simple gift of an invitation can be the best gift of all: a reminder that we are not alone. Whether we’re married or single, part of a traditional family, blended family, or single-parent family, we’re all part of the beauty and the belonging that this season brings.
What kind of holiday event will YOU host? And most importantly, who’s on your invite list?