Beginning to feel a teensy bit Christmassy after a visit to the Rockefeller Center even by single parent standards? A feeling of déjà vu sweeps in with the holiday season for most single parents. Here we go again with another disorganized (most probably) Christmas. Here are some tips on how you can make Christmas enjoyable for your kids and yourself. Most of these have to do with letting go.
Our own and our children’s expectations of happiness during the holiday season can be huge and consequently very hard to attain, especially when you don’t fit in the ‘normal’ nuclear family definition. Christmas for a single parent can be very tough given the imagery we and our kids have been peddled over the years. All that fantasy of happy parents and exuberant children are rarely the reality. How often do we see images of children rushing in the master bedroom only to be wished ‘Merry Christmas’ by a single smiling parent?
So here are some tips for single parents to make this Christmas really festive:
1. Look on the bright side: This is going to be a Christmas with your rules. You get to decide what makes you happy and let your children decide that too for themselves.
2. You don’t have to hang out with your former in-laws just because it makes the kids happy. Let the kids decide who they want to be with and let them have fun. It is going to be painful but you have to let go in order to make your kids and yourself happy.
3. Invite friends over: Do everything different from the previous Christmases. If you don’t have your children on the Christmas Day to enjoy a hearty meal with, cook for them on the Christmas Eve or Boxing Day instead.
4. Wrap up a present or two for yourself: Even if reading this makes you sad, it’s OK to get yourself a present this Christmas. At least you will get what you want for a change.
5. Try not to battle over children too much: Sometimes it is easier said than done. But the children will have an argument-free Christmas and will learn the spirit of sharing with you as their role model.
6. Try and let go of a few expectations: Several other families won’t find the festive season any easier to spend. Be grateful for what you have and let go of things you don’t have.
7. Live. Laugh. Love: Make this your motto of the day and celebrate Christmas differently this time. Try and enjoy it regardless of the situation you are in.