Holidays as a Minimalist Single Parent

Growing up, we celebrate a few holidays. I suppose by celebrate, I mean gave a nod to a few holidays. It was nothing like many families feel pressured to do…decorate, plan extensive menus, have themes, invite many people and post everything about your lovely event on social media. No. We didn’t do that, and I am very glad because I don’t feel pressured to perform such an elaborate show of enjoying and holiday celebration for my Bean.

As with most things in my life, I try to find out what is it that we enjoy the most about participating with concern to the holidays. For holidays, it is the food and the feeling we get when sharing a common activity with our family and friends. In a small way, I was dreading the holiday season this year.

The thing about being a single mom is that I have a hard time taking a firm stance on how to celebrate the holidays. As a minimalist, I know that I want to spend time with family and friends sharing food and conversation. I don’t mind a few decorations made from daily household items I can throw away or recycle at the end of the celebration. That is good enough for me. However, as a single mom, I often wonder if it is enough for my child. She is an only child and we don’t have family in our city. Inside I know that things will not make up for whatever I may feel like I need to give my daughter, but there is always that question of whether or not I am truly doing enough.

In the past years, Bean has been smaller and it has always been up to me to decide whether we are participating in an event or not. She knew something was coming up, but if we talked about it and saw a friend, that was enough for her. Now she is older, she goes to school and is in class with children who are doing a variety of events for the various holidays. Thankfully, she goes to a small, conservative school and most parents are not into impressing others or showing off. However, the children do talk about things that Bean would like to do.

When Halloween came around, I was dreading it. I have never been a fan. Since Bean has been a baby, the holiday always fell on a week day so I have never needed to make elaborate costumes or go trick or treating. Either the babysitter or her father would take her around the neighborhood. The last couple of years, the weather was so bad, no one did much of anything.

This year, Halloween fell on a Saturday. That meant the children would be doing something at school and I was probably going to be expected to do something on the weekend. Bean would speak every now and then about what she wanted to be for Halloween. Sometimes it was a princess character (No way), sometimes it was a cartoon character (we did that last year), finally she said a black cat. That didn’t sound too bad. I looked up how to make a homemade outfit online and we had all of the materials. Yes! A minimalist’s dream.

Fortunately for me there was no need to do anything else. Bean’s school, though Christian had events on both Friday and Saturday. I dropped her off at school on Friday and she had fun. On Saturday, her dad took her. She had a blast and brought back more candy than she has ever brought home in the past years. I just made it disappear when she was telling me about her day and she forgot to ask about it for about a week. I love it!

Now we have both Thanksgiving and Christmas to face. Thanksgiving is easy as it is our family reunion. We always go to the home of my parent’s or one of my mom’s brother or sisters houses. It is pre-determined the year before. Every one puts forth a great effort to be there sharing food, fun and memories. It is one of the highlights of the year.

Christmas is relatively easy. I don’t give Bean gifts, I give her a vacation. She will receive many gifts from her (mostly) adult friends and some family members. This year we will see what will happen as Bean is asking for more things. As time passes, the challenge will be if I can share love of minimalism with Bean. I believe the holidays just might be the perfect time to try. If you are aspiring to live a minimalist lifestyle, please tell me what you plan to do to keep the holidays sane. Your comments are always appreciated.

2 Comments on “Holidays as a Minimalist Single Parent

  1. I have given my children four gifts a year at Christmas: Something to read, something to eat, something to wear, something off their wish list. You see what I did w/no. 2 & 3? The food will disappear and the clothes or shoes will get worn and then depart. Books I have room for and we often do purges of them. This knowing they will only get one item from the wish list helps them think extra hard about what to put on their wish list. For a time when they were younger (now grown men) I would make them a wish list form that we filled out together. After a while I made the eats into What I NEED – which also might be something big, like one year for one of my son’s it was a new mattress. When I expressed that we would get him one anyway despite it being on his Christmas list and he could pick something else he insisted that it was okay either way. He just needed one. Done.

    ____’s Christmas List

    What Book/Magazine I Want To Read:
    What I Want To Eat:
    What I Want To Wear:
    What I Especially Want:

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