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Christmas is coming and I am wondering how other single moms handle the holidays and gifts etc.
I don't do well at Christmas for various reasons. Emotionally I am a wreck, family gatherings often end up with my sister fighting everyone. I am on a fixed income and trying to figure out what to do. My ex is helping pay for the Santa gifts.
I have to admit he has stepped up lately and it makes me think that maybe we could reconcile in the future but then he still is not good with money.
 

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Well, I signed up for food stamps. I work full-time as a nurses assistant which is back-breaking work. Literally. Ex is not making enough money to pay child support. I get $360 a month but lately I have gotten $160 in the last 3, almost 4 months. It isn't like him to be behind so I know he is really struggling.
I am going to use the foodstamps to get the kids some goodies to eat to put in their stockings. Things that we normally don't get because I scoff at junkfood. I will get them some Little Debbie snacks, small cereal packs, nuts, pringles, and single-serving fruit cups. That is if I get the foodstamps before Christmas which I am praying for.
I did get a $50 Walmart giftcard for good attendance at work and I will get another $15 for our lousey Christmas bonus. I realized 2 days ago that I get 3 pay periods in December so I will be able to buy the kids some gifts but I am going to be very careful with my money! I will be wrapping their gifts in paper bags that I will decorate and cut, newspaper comics, and leftover wrapping paper from years' past.
I already explained to the kids that money is tight this year so they won't be getting a ton of stuff and they were cool about it. They don't believe in Santa anymore and they understand times are rough right now. They are great kids!
 

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A perfect opportunity to focus on what Christmas is really about, and it isn't the presents.

Homemade treats, gifts, spend EXTRA extra time with your daughter doing holiday activities. Look around your area and see what the library is doing for free, what the schools are doing, go to school holiday parties and performances they are usually really cheap $2 or so.
Sign up for various free charity things such as Santa Cops if you have one in your area.

Visit the thrift shop with your daughter to pick out decorations super cheap. Its always nice to add one or two "new" items.

Make a popcorn strand, its really messy and fun and obnoxious to try to do, while eating it and talking, music in the background.

Walk or drive around the neighborhood to see decorations with a cup of hot chocolate from home.

Read aloud Christmas stories to your daughter or if she is old enough have her read aloud to YOU while you do dishes each evening.

CREATE MEMORIES, YOU CAN DO THIS IF YOU WANT TO.
 
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My advice---slow down for Christmas, take a breath, and think about whatever SHINES for you at Christmas. (or whatever used to), such as ----

going around with daughter and seeing the lights everyone puts up, after dark some night. Do the OOOH and AAAHHH thing. My family when I was a kid was poor, had 6 kids, and this is the one thing I remember that I LOVED as a kid.

Do cheap, fun, decorating things like we used to take and make little strips of construction paper, glue or tape them in a ring and make strings of these all through the house and around the tree. FUN! We also did those paper snowflakes, where you fold paper 4 twice and then make cuts, open up and oooh and aahhh. Hang in the windows.

Do you know anyone who works at a doctor's office or somewhere where they can get rolls of paper? I used to buy some cheap (dollar store) paints and let my kids dip sponges or potatoes or whatever is a cute shape (cut the sponges or potatoes in shapes) in the paint (in a bowl) and stamp them on the paper and make your own wrapping paper! Or you can stencil---make your own stencils out of paper...they don't have to be pretty or perfect, just have fun with this. Even use the snowflakes you made (above), or anything in the house that can be a stencil.

I'm really glad your Ex is helping with Christmas. That's a break.

When your sister, (or anybody else) starts up at CHristmas with fighting or nastiness, just go up to them and give them a BIG hug, and say "I really love you, sis, Merry Christmas!" I'm pretty sure that will stop them in their tracks. Even if they continue, smile and be sweet to them. Maybe she is as stressed out over the Holidays as you are, and that is her way of showing it.
 
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I will be wrapping their gifts in paper bags that I will decorate and cut, newspaper comics, and leftover wrapping paper from years' past.
I always did that too. Hated......(and still do).......buying wrapping paper to only have it ripped off and tossed.

If they have something that they like to eat........and can be made portable.........put that in their stocking.......just for them.
(with DD it was always crispy treats.......which I didn't make very often.)
 

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I'm beginning to panic about the holidays this year too. I don't have alot of money to spend.

The first Christmas I moved out of my ex's house was the hardest I've ever had. I had zero money, a tree that was about 2feet tall and all I wanted was to give my son (he was 4 then) a great Christmas.

We ended up color pictures in his coloring book, cutting them out and hanging them on the tree. We made a paper chain out of construction paper. I tell you, it was the nicest Christmas I ever had.

This year I'm a bit better off than that but I will always remember that. Christmas is about being thankful for your family and friends and everything that you do have. Its not about money & gifts and who wants what or who's going to think what about you.

A little creativity and a lot of construction paper and crayons go along way!
 

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As a single mom of a 21 year old man I know a thing or two about your feelings. It has just been myself and Shane since he was a 1 year old.

Some years were better then others but looking back...he always had more than enough. He also now has the ability to not need a ton of things and has a good grasp on want versus need. I am glad of our circumstances in the past for this reason.

Now there is money and I could go out and buy a big Christmas. I don't. He understands why. This year we are coming up with ideas of what to do on the cheap...just because we can. So far we have...travel mug with hot cocoa and driving around looking at lights planned. We have Christmas specials / movies night planned with popcorn. I am going carroling with a group of friends and am trying to talk him into going.

I know that we want to do the best for our kids and at this time of year it is easy to get caught up in the buying of things and such...but just remember what it is all about. If you are feeling anxious or uncertain stop and give yourself a couple of moments to think about that and it will help...I promise.

I have no doubt that your child/children will have enough...and I certainly have no doubt that you are enough. Please remember that.
 
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I'm seriously thinking about starting a new tradition next year where we celebrate the meaning of Christmas on the 25th with a nice meal. And move the gift exchanging to New Years day (Now that my kids are older 11 and 13). That way everything is half price..lol This year I went overboard, I will do all my Christmas shopping next year through the Fatwallet website or eBay.
 

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I'm seriously thinking about starting a new tradition next year where we celebrate the meaning of Christmas on the 25th with a nice meal. And move the gift exchanging to New Years day (Now that my kids are older 11 and 13). That way everything is half price..lol This year I went overboard, I will do all my Christmas shopping next year through the Fatwallet website or eBay.
Anyone else start their Christmas shopping yet? I have found several nice gifts on 1saleaday, Ben's Outlet, Shark stores, sites like these. I'm setting a limit of 5 gifts a piece this year.
 
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