When I was a little girl, I definitely never dreamed of a single parent Christmas. Money is always tight and the calendar fills up even before December arrives. By the time we get to December, I'm just ready for it to be done. I hate feeling that way.
Christmas is busy and financially hard for many people. However, single parents face a little different spin to the holiday hardships. We deal with the decisions of who gets the kids, how to afford Christmas presents when money is already tight, and loneliness when the kids are with the other parent.
This time of year is just hard...dealing with everything by yourself just stinks.
Every year I try to remember the reason Christmas is so special for us. Celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending time with family should be my most important priorities. This month, I decided to come up with some different ways to lesson the stress and deal with the hardships of facing the holidays as a single parent.
1) Learn how to say NO
Practice saying no to yourself in the mirror everyday. After you practice saying no to yourself, start saying it to other people. You don't have to attend every Christmas party or event. Make sure to schedule family time and time for yourself. Do not...and I repeat DO NOT push your health and fitness to the side in December. Make it a priority.
2) Make a budget
Make a list of every person you need (or want) to buy a Christmas present for. Then, make a budget. Make sure to include your kids and family in the list. The easy part is making a budget; the hard part is sticking to it. I promise that your kids/family/friends will not be scarred for life if you can't buy extravagant presents. Check on Pinterest or Google search Christmas present ideas. I have a board on Pinterest which includes a few Christmas Present ideas that are good for teachers, friends, family, etc.
3) Take some time to focus on others
Be creative and think of ways to show others you care. This year, Brenn and I are planning to make cookies and then deliver the goodies to some neighbors and friends. Other ideas would be to help in a food kitchen, adopt a child from the Angel Tree (if you have the extra funds), or even babysit another single parent's children so he/she can go Christmas shopping.
4) Make sure to surround yourself with family/friends, especially if your kids will be with the other parent
Don't sit at home and sulk. I know it's hard. I remember crying the first time Brenn wasn't home on Christmas Eve. Keep yourself busy and connect with friends and family (if they live close). My family lives six hours away and we don't always travel to see them for the holidays. Thankfully, we have very good friends who invite us to their house if they know we will be in town. Another idea is to find and connect with other single parents or single parent groups.
Being a one-parent family doesn't mean we can't enjoy and make the most of the holiday season. Cease every opportunity and make sure to focus on your blessings.
How do you deal with this time of year as a single parent?