5 Ways You Can Help Single Parents Survive the Upcoming Holidays



From Halloween through Christmas can seem like an entire season for single parents. For people parenting alone or co-parenting these two months have a tendency to loom very large over them.

  • Stress is high – finances are low.
  • Parties are often – a full night of sleep is desired.
  • Shopping and rushing around is endured – calm quiet activities are rare.

What can you do to help single parents provide for their children and help the kids survive this year’s holidays?

1.  Open up your home for a meal or help the single parents organize a single parent meal where several of them will come together to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be on the actual holiday but close to it.

For single moms or dads who don’t have their kids on Christmas Day or don’t have family close by, this will give them a way to celebrate with other people.For single parents who do have their children only part of the day, this will also give them an opportunity to be with others when their children need to leave.

A couple of years ago my husband and I hosted a DivorceCare class on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. We had several people who didn’t want to be alone on the night before. They all had plans for the next day but Wednesday night loomed before them. After the DivorceCare video and our discussion, the divorcing parents stayed around and socialized with each other. We created family.

2.  Provide an assortment of ideas to help single parents develop new rituals for Christmas. When my children were in elementary school, a friend gave me a great idea. Each year for Christmas I gave them their very own two-liter bottle of soda or punch along with their very own favorite bag of chips. They didn’t have to share these items and could take them to their rooms if they wanted. This became an important tradition for my children, and they looked forward to their special treat each year.

3.  Help children obtain gifts for each parent. Have you ever thought about being a little kid and wanting to have a gift for each parent but not having any way to shop for one? Set up a time for kid’s to make gifts or open a Christmas shop where kids can come in and purchase gently used items for their parents. Start collecting items from church members right away. Price all items under $1.00.

4.  Set up a pre Christmas store where single parents can do their Christmas shopping for their children at a reduced price. In one church a man repairs and paints bicycles that single moms can pick up at a greatly reduced price. Perhaps the women’s ministry or men’s ministry can organize a garage sale type event where people donate gently used toys and clothes. Items could also include Christmas decorations; used Christmas trees; Christmas pottery, candles and Christmas cds or even Christmas movies.

5.  Provide family Christmas devotions that single parents can begin using the first day of the December.

Separated, divorced and grieving single parents can also find help at the following websites. These sites feature downloadable articles and video clips containing strategies for navigating the holiday season.

Here’s where to get more information:

GriefShare Surviving the Holidays: for those who have lost a loved one through death.

DivorceCare Surviving the Holidays: for people who are separated or divorced.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on November 9, 2018.

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