Are you a newly single or divorced parent?
Is this your first Christmas celebrating on your own? Chances are money is tighter and tensions are higher.
A conversation I had with a close friend, who is going through his first holiday season as a single dad, caused me to reflect on MY first Christmas alone. I’d like to share my own experience and a few tips to help get you through AND make it memorable!
My first Christmas as a single mom was bittersweet. It’s not easy trying to figure out how to keep the holidays special in the midst of so much change.
Let GO of traditions that don’t matter or stress you out!!
(and loosen the reins on those expectations a bit)
Just because you made a huge fancy dinner or took part in certain community activities before does not mean that you need to continue. Talk to your children (if they are old enough), you just may find that they would prefer a casual dinner of fun finger foods and more time at home.
Find NEW traditions!
Don’t be intimidated to think outside the box when creating them. All that matters is you are together. My first Christmas alone, I was very intimidated by the idea of going to get a tree by myself. We got a real tree every year and getting it in the house and set up seemed like a “man necessary” task to me…so, I invited a man. I invited a whole family actually. We invited Jewish friends who had not had the whole tree experience before. They had invited us over to light the Menorah one evening, and the trade off on traditions was a great experience for all involved. Getting the tree that year ended up being a lot of fun and I have since found that I am more than capable of getting a tree into the house and up in the stand by myself.
Something can become a tradition at any time and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Often, the simplest things lead to the best memories.
Here a few of our Favorite Traditions:
- bake cookies together, they don’t need to be anything elaborate. Kids LOVE cookies!
- set up a simple Hot Chocolate Bar in your kitchen to leave out through the season
- watch Christmas movies every night (we LOVE ABC Familys 25 Days of Christmas)
- when you go buy your tree (if getting a live tree) pick out a smaller tree that is still tied up. Cut it loose when you get home and see what you got. Saves time & stress of picking out a “perfect tree” and is a fun/silly tradition!
- go to a local display of lights or drive around looking at decorated houses in your town
- wrap 24 books in Christmas wrap and unwrap one each night to read before bed, ending with The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve
- share in holiday traditions with families of different religions or cultures
- Children love to GIVE! Take them to the Dollar Store, give them each $5 and let them fill a stocking for you! They will LOVE seeing you open their gifts on Christmas morning
The kids and I have had many Christmases since and I no longer feel overwhelmed or worry they are missing out. Remember to be patient with yourself and your children, especially if the divorce/separation is recent. With time, humor and love I am confident you can give your children the kind of traditions they will carry into their own homes.
I would LOVE to hear your holiday traditions!