A single mum takes back Christmas for her family
Olivia Wix looks back on what went right for her family this Christmas.
When it comes to crappy Christmases, I can stake a strong claim. On Christmas Eve 2017, I got up to feed my five-month-old, and in doing so stumbled across something that resulted in the end of my marriage. What was once my favourite holiday became a time that fills me with dread. But enough was enough. This year I decided to take back Christmas.
I admitted defeat early
On November 30, I wrote 24 things my toddler and I would do leading up to Christmas. Snowman pancakes, hot chocolate dates, snowflake making, looking at Christmas lights etc. I popped them into an advent calendar, and, well, I forgot about them. Come December 5 we hadn’t done anything. End-of-year exhaustion had wiped me out and I barely had energy to make dinner for us, let alone getting up early to make snowman pancakes. I gave up. The elf was shelved.
We started some easy traditions
After throwing away my Supermum cape, I decided we’d do a few fun things in the days between me finishing work and Christmas. We stood in line for half-an-hour to get a photo with Santa. The second Jasper saw him he leapt on me like he’d seen a ghost and screamed the mall down. We went blueberry picking and another kid told us Santa wasn’t real. His mum was mortified but Jasper is only two and had no comprehension of what this child said, so we were able to roar with laughter at her son’s sass. We also built a gingerbread house that collapsed within minutes, and got takeaways on Christmas Eve and ate them at our favourite spot along the river. Back home we spent a good hour making a runway with solar lights for the reindeer to know where to land. Not for Santa, just the reindeer.
I prepped in advance
Last year I went all out on dinner and made a thousand options, and had 10,000 dishes. This year I decided we’d have a roast with potatoes, beans and broccoli. The fact that three of these came from my garden meant it was easy peasy prep on the 23rd. My other prep was to letting my mum and stepfather know they were responsible for dessert.
I got some fresh air
Jasper went to his Dad’s on Christmas morning. I knew I’d lie about the house moping about my old life and get myself even more upset so I went for a long run along the river and through a forest. It was a beautiful day, and with only a few people around, it meant I could have a couple of sneaky cries behind my sunglasses without anyone seeing. Fresh air, vitamin D and some new endorphins fuelled me for the afternoon.
I prioritised us
Last year my family smothered me, in the nicest of ways, knowing I’d be feeling rough. This year I said no to so many invites on Christmas Day from family and friends. Instead, Jasper and I went to the park all afternoon. We swam, ate ice cream, played and looked for dinosaurs in the bushes. It’s what we do most weekends so wasn’t out of the ordinary for him. But for me it was everything - one on one time with my favourite person doing what he loves most.
We went home, had the family dinner, and snuggled up in bed together and had an early night. I haven’t got a single regret about this Christmas. In fact, it was a taste of the kind of Christmas I now want to remember.
Olivia Wix lives in Palmerston North and works in public relations. She is a single mum to two-year-old Jasper, and at the moment they’re on a mission to visit all 58 playgrounds in the city within a year.