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How To Handle The Holidays as a Single Parent Family

by Victoria Watson Henry

a The Kids & Me contributor


The end of the year is upon us. Holiday festivities and celebrations are a time to gather together with family and friends. It is a time spent catching up with each other, sharing gifts, family updates and reminiscing. Whether you are a single parent by divorce, separation or widowed, holiday festivities are not always joyous. Holidays are sometimes lonely, sad and depressing if your focus is on what was, instead of what is. Philippians 3:13 inspires you to focus on this one thing: Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead. However, as family dynamics change, you may feel disconnected from people and emotionally unconnected to the present. Therefore, take the time for re-orientation, and decide how to make the most of a successful new beginning by creating new ways to spend the holidays.

One single mom shared, “The tradition that I became used to for over 13 years came to an end with the divorce, and it was time to deal with the realities of a two-family tradition for our son and daughter. The Holidays for the first time in my life became a very lonely time and something I dreaded- a stark change from the joyous time to plan meals and events it had traditionally been. How were we going to help our children navigate this change? We agreed to alternate the holidays each year and on the day - be it Thanksgiving or Christmas - we each would spend some time with the kids, be it brunch or dinner.”



A Few Tips For Navigating The Holidays as a Single Parent Family:

  1. Redefine what the holidays look like, see change for what it is. Accept your loss and difficulty and learn to rest in God’s peace. (Matthew 11:28-30, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 55:6)

  2. Choose to spend time and to celebrate the holidays with people who lift your spirits.

  3. Plan celebrations with friends (and with other single-parent families) if you are not be with your extended family for the holidays.

  4. Sign up to volunteer and serve others. (Matthew 25:38-40). This will help you and the children to gain perspective as you help others who are less fortunate than you. It will help you to value what you have.

  5. Start new family traditions and make new memories that might have more meaning for your family’s current situation.

  6. Know your limits. Do the best that you can, even if it doesn’t feel like much.

  7. Above all, keep Jesus at the center of the season. Teach your children the true meaning of Christmas. Help them to understand that a relationship with Jesus will not only make a difference during the holidays but during every day of their lives.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV


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