5 tips on how to conquer Christmas as a single mom

Single Mom Christmas | New Connections Counseling Center, Baltimore, MD

Many of us are looking forward to these holidays, especially after another challenging pandemic year. This is the time of the year when we gather around the family table, share all those Christmas traditions and reminisce about the good old days. 

Even with the stress of cooking the perfect meal and picking the right gift for each family member, we still find it to be the most wonderful time of the year. But this isn’t always the case. As a single mom, Christmas can be a period of painful reflection, loneliness, and sadness. 

Around this time we see all the heartwarming holiday commercials starring big family reunions. But when you are a single mom you might feel like something is missing. Your holiday experience may be very different from what you envision for your Christmas card, especially if you have gone through a recent separation.

As a single parent, you might feel pressure to present your kids with the best Christmas of their lives. However, for your sake and theirs, it’s time to drop the unrealistic expectations and accept that your festivities will be different from now on. The most important thing to add to your list is a Christmas filled with love and happy moments.

So, how can you prevent the winter blues from taking over your holidays? Here are our top tips on how to conquer Christmas as a single mom:

1. Involve your kids in the planning

Christmas baking cake Mom and Daughter | New Connections Counseling Center, Baltimore, MDYou were probably cooking up a plan to outclass all the previous Christmas memories. Setting the table with all your kids’ favorites and trying to check all the boxes on Santa’s list.

Don’t tire yourself out trying to bring back the spirit of Christmas past. Things won’t be the same, and your kids know that. Rather, try to involve them in the planning, starting with the decorations and how they would like to spend time over the holidays.

Involving them in the decision-making can be a good opportunity to give them more responsibility and create new family traditions. Thus doing things differently becomes a positive change for you and your children.

2. Sharing the holidays with the ex

If your ex-partner is present in your kids’ lives, you will probably share the holidays. So, it’s important to make plans early and have clear communication about who gets them on what day, and share your thoughts about gift ideas.

Just thinking about spending a day apart from your kids can be really painful, especially during the festivities. However, think about how happy they will feel to spend time with each parent. Plus, you can enjoy a well-deserved me-time.

If you’re going to have a few days to yourself, do whatever you feel like it. You can use the time to rest, take long naps on the couch, have a pampering day, or go out with your friends. There is no right or wrong. Enjoy yourself!

3. Invite friends and family

Christmas family dinner | New Connections Counseling Center, Baltimore, MDPlan ahead to make sure you know what you’re going to do, whether you have the kids for the whole holidays or only a few days.

Maybe you would like to spend Christmas at your family’s home this year, or maybe you want to host your dinner party and invite some friends over. Many of us have friends who are closer than our own family, so it could be a good idea to gather your posse and have some Christmassy fun. Do you know other single moms? Invite them too! It can be a great occasion to strengthen those relationships.

4. Check out local events

There are a lot of fun and festive activities to do around the holidays, especially if you’re near Baltimore, Maryland. You might want to check out the Inner Harbor Ice Rink, stroll through Baltimore’s authentic German Christmas Market, or book tickets to see a Christmas play.

If you want to make plans with your kids, remember to ask them what they would like to do and plan it together. These new experiences can strengthen your bond even closer and give way to new holiday traditions. 

For the days without the kids, there’s also a lot of activities that a single mom can do for Christmas by herself or with friends. Maybe it could be a good opportunity to go on a date. If you’re looking for holiday date ideas take a look at our suggestions.

5. Keep track of your spending

Christmas gift Mother and Son | New Connections Counseling Center, Baltimore, MDThe holiday season can be particularly challenging to keep your budget under control. But avoid getting carried away buying too many gifts for your kids. It’s quite common to feel this temptation to overspend because you want them to feel happy, but there’s a lot of ways to have a cheerful and festive Christmas without getting into crushing debt. 

Try to plan a budget for your expenses, and stick to it. It could be a good idea to draw your Christmas shopping money ahead and keep it in a separate purse so you can really track your spending. Whatever you do, don’t use the credit card if you have no means of paying it back. Sometimes we focus too much on the things we buy and lose sight of what we’re celebrating.

Getting through Christmas as a Single Mom in Baltimore, MD

Christmas Mother and Daughter | New Connections Counseling Center, Baltimore, MDWhile the holidays are a time of joy, you might feel smothered by unrealistic expectations for how special it should be. It’s easy to get sucked into the “perfect Christmas picture” in someone’s holiday card or Instagram feed. Things are never as perfect as they seem. So don’t worry about everybody else, just focus on you and your kids’ happiness.

Remind yourself that it is your Christmas too. Use this time to put into practice a bit of self-care. Start by thinking about all the things you have conquered this year and what you would like to achieve in the next one. If you feel that it could be good to ask for professional help, our therapists are specialized in counseling for women and mothers and can understand and connect with your unique needs and challenges.

You might also consider a single moms therapy group. Our experience tells us that connecting with other moms can have a real positive impact on your wellbeing and your kids’ as well. Want to know more about it? Check out our 5 reasons to join a single moms support group.

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