The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?!?
The Christmas rush is almost over. The day your kids have been anticipating for weeks is almost here, Christmas Day. Everyone keeps saying “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” but all you feel is exhaustion. As if everyday life isn’t tough enough as a single parent, you’ve spent the last few weeks shopping for Santa gifts and presents for the teachers. You found a tree and hauled it into the house, made cookies with the kids and decorated the house in an effort to make it a wondrous holiday season for your children. Oh wait, I almost forgot that darn Elf! Every night, after the kids go to sleep, you’ve succumbed to peer pressure and devised a clever new position or predicament to stage the Elf. Are you kidding me?? A single mother definitely did NOT come up with this idea!
Along with exhaustion from the frenzied activity, it’s normal to feel sad and lonely during the holidays, especially if this is your first Christmas as a single parent. It may be time to create some new traditions such as having other single parents and their kids over for a potluck dinner on Christmas Eve. Or better yet, meet at a kid friendly restaurant. If you’re alone for Christmas or if your kids are older, think about volunteering at a shelter serving a meal or delivering Meals on Wheels on Christmas Day. Many families have a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas afternoon. This year it looks like the weather might be nice enough for an afternoon at the park or a game of flag football in the yard.
If your kids are spending Christmas with their other parent, make sure you have plans!! Do something that will feel special to you even if it’s only making fudge and eating the entire pan while you watch White Christmas. After I became a single mom, one of my favorite traditions became the Christmas Eve glass of wine in front of the fire. After my kids were safely snuggled in their beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, I would sit in front of the fireplace drinking a nice glass of wine, lights on the tree glowing and soft music playing. It sounds corny but I would use that time to reflect on all the things for which I was grateful, the very fact I had a fireplace to sit in front of, presents under the tree and healthy children.
What you should NOT do is focus on your perceived shortcomings as a single parent on Christmas. Maybe you couldn’t afford everything on the list but it’s not the gifts that make Christmas special. And it’s not even that one specific day, December 25th, that must be magical. It’s spending time together throughout the holiday season and creating happy memories that is important. And if you feel like this year wasn’t the best, you’re in good company. It will soon be a new year and you can start all over again. Best of all, you can put that Dang Elf on the Shelf in his final position for the year, buried at the bottom of a box in the back of the attic!