I remember my very first Christmas as a single mom. Faith was 3 years old. I was quite nervous about how I was going to make this all work. It's a lot of work for any family to make sure all the presents are wrapped. Cookies and milk are set out for Santa. If you are extra on the ball you will leave carrots for the reindeer too.

My first year doing it all I was working at the Hastings on Georgia as a Guest Service Manager. It was an exciting but scary time of my life. I had a new career and new responsibilities.

All the responsibilities were on me now. Buying and assembling all the toys was really a scary thought for me. Those instructions that come in the package stress me out to this day.

Were there going to be things I couldn't do without the help? Were there going to be presents I wouldn't be able to put together? These were real concerns of mine.

When working at Hastings I remember that they had a very awesome employee discount, so as a single mom I took advantage of that.

I bought these two stuffed animals. One is a reindeer and one is a Christmas bear. It became my tradition that I left those two animals out on the kitchen table and when Santa came on Christmas Eve.  His job (among many) was to leave these two friends with Faith before he left.

credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM
credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM
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Faith would wake up Christmas morning with these two in her bed. So she knew Santa Claus had come to pay her a visit. She would come running to my room all excited to show me that Santa left her friends again for her.

It's one of those traditions that even to this day I make sure I grab them and get them ready for their Christmas Eve appearance. This year they will be making a trip to Dally. They will appear Christmas Eve when Santa comes to visit. This year will be the first that Santa will leave these two out for her daughter, Laila.

I hope this is one of those traditions that go on forever. My little addition to the Christmas magic.

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