Every year, come January, I “hunker down” and just pray for March – for spring flowers and warmer weather. My detest for colder weather doesn’t help my mood, most would tell you. I have often been caught saying, “November and December are cold to make the holidays more festive, but January and February are cold for simply no reason!” Yet, for many, this holiday dreariness hits long before January. Take single parents, for example. The holiday season is so family-focused that being a single parent at Christmas can bring up all sorts of unpleasant, buried feelings.
Often, they must share their children with the opposite parent during the holiday season. They mourn the loss of a failed relationship. Financial woes mount, therefore limiting any gift purchases. I have been there. I have eaten holiday meals alone. I have purposefully slept the day away, hoping it would soon be over.
Here are a few tips that I learned to help me enjoy my holiday season as a single parent at Christmas:
6 Ways To Enjoy Being A Single Parent At Christmas
1. Be Intentional
Be intentional. Recognize that this time of year is a struggle for you, and keep a routine that doesn’t give you time to dwell. Map out a schedule for the next few weeks of activities you and the kids can accomplish on the weekends or during the evening, when Christmas loneliness can be particularly hard. Don’t forget to factor in time to treat yourself when your kids are with their other parent.
2. Host A Gathering
Being a single parent at Christmas can sometimes be isolating, especially when your social network insists on activities that will need you to find child care. Instead, why not let them come to you? Host gatherings – however big or small. Having a meal at your home can really brighten your mood. Friends help lighten the load and can deter your thoughts from the woes of the season.
3. Decorate The Way You Want
Did you always have to compromise on decorations when you were married? No longer! This year, you’re calling the shots. Pick a day when you have the kids and decorate your home together. You can even create new family traditions and decorations while you’re at it! Oh, what a big ol’ stuffed Santa Claus can do for your mood!
Reach out to your church’s single parents ministry and find out what your group can do to serve someone else. You are surround with others less fortunate than yourself. Serve at a soup kitchen. Visit a nursing home. Spend time with women in a battered women’s shelter. There is nothing like purpose that changes perspective.
5. Write It Down
Write down your fears and sadness about being single parent at Christmas and give them to God. He can help you through. And don’t forget to praise him too! Journal your blessings. The more you focus on what God has done in your life and all he has given you, the easier it is to remove focus from any lack you may have.
6. Talk It Out
Talk about it. Take a friend to coffee and be vulnerable. Share about the sadness and grief you are experiencing. Let people know. Chances are, you aren’t the only one feeling the holiday blues. And if need be, make an appointment at your local counseling center. (Many churches offer lay counselors and some even offer professional counselors, free of charge).
Being a single parent at Christmas can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Turn to friends, turn to your kids, turn to God, and let them show you just how much love is flowing your way. After all, the true meaning of the holidays isn’t about romantic love. It’s just about love, however you find it.
You might also be interested in: 3 Ways To Take The Sting Out Of Being Single at Christmas
About the Author: Author/Speaker Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents’ and mothers’ issues. She is the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs and has a heart to see that no single mother walks alone. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.