Are you a newly-single parent who is feeling nervous about navigating the upcoming holiday season? Or perhaps a seasoned single parent who is dreading this time of year, yet again?
Either way, you are in the right place! In this article, we will share with you our STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE to not only get through Christmas but to relish in it!
Before we begin, we want to recognize that while “single parents” are often grouped together, they sometimes share little more than the title itself. Single parents come from vastly different backgrounds and lifestyles and have found themselves as “single parents” for countless different reasons.
By following the steps in our guide, we are allowing the one thing that unites us, to empower us!
Without further ado, introducing “How Not to Be Left in the Cold This Christmas; A Guide for Single Parents”!
Step One: Evaluate what the holidays mean to you.
This season means very different things to different people. Is Christmas a time of intimate family gathering and long-standing traditions? Is it a time typically spent serving friends and strangers alike? Is it a time focused on religious worship?
Whatever your answer is, say it OUT LOUD to yourself to ensure that the season’s purpose is clear and understood. Once you have done that, consider what about your season’s purpose makes it meaningful and special for you. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are some of my favorite Christmas memories?
- What memories do I want to help recreate for my children?
- What attitude am I going to have, going into the Christmas season?
Step two: Consider who will be involved in your life this holiday season.
Regardless of your answers to step one’s analytical questions, most people can agree that the holidays emphasize good times with good company!
Make a list of all of the people in your life who encourage you to feel like the strong, confident, and happy parent that you try to be. Make an effort to include these people in any seasonal events or activities.
If necessary, make a list of people who drain your energy, break your confidence, or bring you down. Be intentional about keeping your distance from them this season.
While it is not always easy to create boundaries (especially with family or long-term friends), the holidays can be an exhausting time. Remember your strength and power to control who is part of your circle and who isn’t, and then push forward from there!
Step three: Allow yourself to find peace in the imperfect realities of the holiday season
Unfortunately, you do not have control over everything, and things aren’t always going to go as planned. Despite your best efforts, you may feel lonely at times, overwhelmed, or upset that you don’t get to be with your children as much as you may want to.
Regardless of your hurdles, one thing is vital: you MUST take the time to FEEL however it is you want to about these situations. Whether that means talking it out with a friend or professional, journaling, or practicing meditation.
The holidays can sometimes be mistaken as a happy-go-lucky time where the world and its problems come to a halt. Any realist knows that this isn’t the case!
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean that you have to ignore any hardships that you are going through. Ignoring the pain will make things worse, and could lead to feelings of resentment towards the holidays for years to come.
Step 4: Plan out your season!
While it may seem overboard, taking the time to plan out your holiday season will not only ensure that you get around to doing all of the things on your bucket list, but it will give you things to look forward to when the going gets tough.
Always prioritize joy! Here are some ideas of things to add to your Christmas celebration schedule:
- Attend a craft fair
- Take a picture with Santa
- Write handwritten letters to friends and family
- Go ice skating
- Bake Christmas cookies (try a new recipe!)
- Decorate gingerbread houses
- Drive to see Christmas lights while sipping hot chocolate!
- Go thrift shopping for gifts
- Treat yourself to a material item that you have been wanting
- Choose someone to serve!
Step Five: allow this season to be unlike any other.
If you have made it this far into the article, you are already anticipating that this season will be unlike any other. With that information, all you can do is embrace it! And you should do just that!
It might not be perfect, but nothing ever is… even the most “perfect” Christmases come with their unique trials that make the sweet moments of this time of year, even sweeter.
At this end of the day, this season will come and go whether you enjoy it or not. However, there is no reason to wait it out when there are ways to find joy and happiness in the most wonderful time of the year. If not for yourself, at least try it out for your children.
You’ve got this! Have a wonderful Christmas season… and stay warm!