Being a single parent at Christmas can be tough. Christmas is a special time of year, where the image of happy families buying presents, visiting Santa and sharing traditions are impossible to escape from. In reality it’s often the most stressful time of the year for families, any families, including single parent families. Whether separated, divorced or bereaved, how do you survive this time of year?
Christmas Past or Christmas Future?
If this is your first Christmas going solo then like Jacob Marley, you’ll probably be plagued with memories of Christmas’s past; maybe even with rose-tinted glasses you’ll recall the traditions you have shared as a family and even start to wonder what your ex is doing. First rule of survival is to look forward not back – this is a new start so make new traditions. Let the kids chose what they would like to do and embrace being free to make your own decisions.
We often find routines and traditions comfortable, and it can be distressing when that’s all thrown up in the air following separation or bereavement (or missing your kids at Christmas). Now’s a good time to start those new traditions, perhaps doing those things you’d always have wanted but never quite got around to. Do whatever makes you and your children happy, even if it’s a row of duvet days, feeding on the Christmas chocolates whilst watching boxed sets of Disney. Don’t see days like this as a waste, they’re a good opportunity to spend time with your kids without distraction – one day you’ll look back on these fondly.
A little help from our friends
Now’s a good time to make the most of a few days off work and meet up with friends . Days outdoors walking off the post Christmas lethargy are a great pick me up, or perhaps invite friends round for a home cinema night with popcorn and a fun movie – it doesn’t have to cost a lot.
If you’re without your children this year, it can really hit you hard. Distraction can be the best antedote, and there are some great interest-based events that help fill the gap (you’ve still time to find a new hobby in anticipation !) At Single With Kids you are amongst many friends who know exactly how you feel so join in with events, or come online and chat on the forum or our Facebook page if you find yourself alone.
Be easy on yourself
If you can, treat yourself to your favourite food and drink, perhaps even buy yourself a treat and tuck it under the tree – you deserve it. If your budget can’t stretch to this then reward your self with a bit of quality time instead. Go for ease rather than the stress that Christmas often brings – buy a fake tree if you can’t manage a real one; buy in food rather than cook; accept that you can’t buy everything the kids want and don’t feel guilty.
This is also the time when co-operation is key. If your child’s other parent is around, whatever your relationship with this ex partner, try to focus on the kids and don’t be drawn into long arguments – this is a time of year for compromise. Planning ahead means that these discussions are sorted before Christmas so that you both know when you will have the kids and can make sure other relatives get to see them too. It also means you can make plans to fill your time when you are on your own; accept those party invites, go shopping with friends or plan in a bit of rare R&R for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t feel compelled to make visits or join in activities you’d rather not. The ‘festive’ season can be one of sadness, particularly if you’ve recently lost your partner or loved ones and it can be difficult to feel you have to put on a brave face. If you’d prefer time alone with your children rather than a friend or relative’s party, do it. Anyone who cares about you will understand.
Time for you and the kids
If you’re scratching around for things to do and would like a little escape this year, why not have a look at the Single With Kids events and join in; you may decide that you want to get away and be with people who really understand what you are feeling and where your kids can make friends and have fun. For a truly magical break we have our fantastic Lapland Adventure complete with reindeer safaris, husky sleigh rides, tobogganing, enchanting hotel with tropical pool and spa and a visit from Santa himself. Or for something closer to home, how about seeing in the New Year with new friends and a new outlook? Try our New Year in Stratford break complete with dancing and party. All of our holidays are accompanied by a Single With Kids Coordinator who organises opportunities for everyone to get together – you decide what you chose to take part in.
We’ve lots of stories from our Single Parents who have been in your position and decided to join us for Christmas and/or New Year find out how they felt from the testimonials on our breaks. We’ve even had some find romance – I guess it’s true that it happens when you least expect it!
Happy Christmas to all single parents– you’re doing amazing!
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