In recent years, I’ve taken my passion for adventure and paired it with my daughter’s love of holidays and all things festive. The holidays are totally different when it's just you and your kid, and I've learned to embrace those differences in a way that allows us both to create our own, unique, fulfilling traditions. In other words, it's the best.
Sometimes, the combination of my passion and her festivity means we spend the holidays away from home. Other times, it simply means we make a holiday for ourselves within the four walls of our every day life. The point of our time is not to reach a destination, but to make whatever we do together an adventure.
Since we started approaching holidays from the perspective that what is best for holidays is adventure, the natural shift was for holidays to become a time for just us. Most of the time, the winter holidays are spent with my daughter and I figuring out for ourselves how we want to celebrate. Many of us experience this at some point in our lives; we suddenly find ourselves creating our own traditions and spending the important days with just our children. So, with that in mind, here are a few changes you can prepare yourself for, if you plan on spending the upcoming holiday with just you and your little one:
You Experience Less Stress
People significantly smarter than myself are able to concoct an algorithm that calculates stress based on the amount of people involved. I can’t do that, but the more people involved in an event, the more stressful it becomes. Especially if you’re a people pleaser, reducing the amount of people you’re required to please can result in a great deal more enjoyment. When it’s just me and my little, we can figure out exactly what we want to do and make it as simple or extravagant as we want.
You Spend Less Money
OK, this isn’t necessarily true. However, there’s less money that’s required. Like most single moms, I’ve experienced good times and bad as far as my checkbook is concerned, and it’s nice to know that the budget of a holiday is up to me.
When it’s just me and my Minion, I get to decide how much we spend on gifts and how we want to celebrate. Sometimes, this means we spend more money by traveling somewhere epic. Other times it means we spend very little. Either way, the choice is mine and that is somewhat freeing.
You Don't Drink As Often
When not surrounded by family, moderation is a tad easier. No hangover, no problem.
You'll (Probably) Eat Less Cookies
Not everything about celebrating holidays with my child, and only my child, is good. While I love the reduction in stress, I really miss my mom’s cookies. When it’s just us, the cooking and the baking falls to me. Since I use the smoke detector as a timer, this does not result in the bountiful harvest we enjoy when we choose to participate in group festivities. However, Paris has excellent macaroons and, though they can’t touch my mom’s homemade cookies, they do help to tip the scales toward celebrating with only us.
Your Audience Is Friendlier
Nothing brings people together quite like laughter, and children are excellent at timing their laughs to the end of a joke regardless of whether or not they understand it. This is a trait most of my other family members do not possess.
You Focus On Time, Rather Than Gifts
One of my favorite things I’ve noticed since celebrating with just my daughter, is how the focus has shifted from gifts to time. We would much rather spend the day at a museum together, than have a few extra toys or a sweater. We’ve even done detailed charts comparing the cost of a birthday party vs. a trip to Niagara Falls. When Minion realized the output was the same, she quickly chose a weekend trip with mom over two hours in a bounce house.
You Have An Easier Time Pleasing Everyone
The less people you have to please, the easier it is to please everyone. While we’ve missed celebrating with extended family and do occasionally venture back to share in the festivities with friends and family – often we find ourselves doing Christmas in January or birthdays a month before they occur – there’s something special about having this time with her.
Perhaps the biggest difference, the only one that really matters, is the amount of attention I can give my child. Everyone says it because every mother knows it’s true: they grow up too fast. Each of the holidays we spend with only us is a bit more time with her. Time I will never be able to replace.