Remember the old Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas? "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." Let's change it around a bit. For the 12 Days of Christmas, let's look at gifts you can give to yourself during the holidays and all throughout the year.
On the first day of Christmas, I gave a gift to me: an evening out just for me.
When was the last time you gave yourself a night out? (If you're wondering where you'd go, that's a sure sign that you need it now more than ever!) Go grab your calendar and mark off a night out for yourself. I know it's complicated, and you'll have to find child care or swap babysitting duties with a friend, but that's why you're planning it out in advance, so you have time to take care of those details.
As for what you do, it doesn't really matter. Getting together with friends would be great, but even if you just go window shopping downtown or treat yourself to a decaf latte while you do the grocery shopping, it's worth it. As a single parent, carving out moments of "me time" is an absolute must. In addition to helping you get back in touch with yourself--which is crucial if you want to keep your cool with the kids and make wise on-the-spot decisions day after day-- time away will also allow you to return home with fresh resolve and a greater sense of appreciation.
It's nothing to feel guilty about, either. Just like the airline stewards tell you when they demonstrate how to use the air masks on board: taking care of yourself first equips you to take care of those around you. So if you're going to give yourself a gift this year, start with some "me time."