Christmas is a special time of the year, when everything is about spending time with the family. So we are told, at least. When the structure of your family changes and you suddenly find yourself alone without a partner, the thought of Christmas can rapidly become daunting rather than festive.
As friends start to play happy families from mid-December onwards, you can often either be left on your own with your child or children for the first time, or totally alone if your ex-partner has the children and is now doing Christmas elsewhere, and guilt and loneliness can set in.
Both combinations can be particularly difficult during the festive season. So here are a few easy tips to make absolutely sure your first Christmas as a single parent is a successful one, and a symbol of new beginnings and optimism rather than less positive feelings.
No Guilt, No Regrets
You’re divorced for a reason, and there’s no point dwelling on how much nicer it would be if you were still spending Christmas as a two-parent family. Don’t look back wishing you could somehow reconstruct your old life. It’s not going to happen. Try not to feel guilty about your child or children spending their first Christmas with separated parents.
Children just want their parents to be happy, and are capable of adjusting to new life situations much faster than adults credit them for. At some point between Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning, steal five minutes just for yourself. Think about what you’re most thankful for this year – all that you’ve received and all that you’ve given.
Time to reflect is hard to come by at a busy time like this. Tough, but doable. Try to exude positivity, and look to the future with confidence. Your little ones will quickly pick up on this, and consequently suffer far less as a result of your separation or bereavement.
Help the Less Fortunate Ones
Christmas is also a time of reflection. With so much poverty and hardship going on all over the world, take the time to help those in need. Join a charity of your choice, and get involved in charitable activities you might not normally have bothered with. It will distract you from your own situation, and you will feel happy and proud to have been able to help those more vulnerable than you.
Create a New Christmas Tradition
Instead of holding on to what you had for all those years as a couple, try to re-invent your Christmas including a new twist. Transform Christmas into a new experience (so the kids will think it’s better because it’s just the two/three of you now) by calling on friends and neighbors to join.
Try keeping your eyes and ears open to find other single parents who might be spending Christmas day alone. Your kids will love the company. If your kids are slightly older, try involving them in the preparation in the kitchen. Give them one special thing to be responsible for (Yorkshire puddings, sausages wrapped in bacon, whatever). They’ll enjoy showing off to the newly-invited guests.
Do most things on Christmas Eve, so you get more time watching the kids opening and playing on Christmas morning. And on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, SWITCH YOUR MOBILE OFF!
Get Away From it All
Try planning a short trip over Christmas or New Years. A change of scenery often helps in creating a healthy distance between old and new lives for all involved. Make it affordable, but if you try to keep everything exactly the same as it was in the past, all you’ll do is emphasize the fact everything has actually changed. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. There are millions of single parents out there willing to share, so give yourself a big pat on the back, another year done and dusted – and roll on the New Year!
From the team at Single Parents on Holiday who know how daunting and lonely the holidays can be when you are a new single parent. This post was supplied by Andrea, a parent and founder of a specialist single parent holidays website.
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