Many single parents secretly dread December. The extra pressures of juggling children, work and Christmas preparations can be stressful. They want to do everything right — the food, the presents, the decorations — and recapture the family intimacy they once knew. If the Christmas season usually leaves you feeling frazzled and empty, make this year different. Here are some ways you can simplify your holiday season.
Planning for the Holiday Season
By planning the time carefully, it’s possible to focus on the warmth and beauty of the season. To help you see where you can simplify, make three lists: what needs to be done, what events you wish to attend and what gifts you plan to buy.
Next, consider everything on your lists. Which items take time or money but could be eliminated? Are you being too generous with too many people? Excessive generosity may not be possible on a tight budget, and simple gifts can be just as meaningful. To save time and money, watch for items on sale and consider buying several gifts during one shopping trip.
Ask your children what is most and least important to them regarding the holidays. You may be surprised by their answers. Consider skipping the things that don’t matter to them, and retire old traditions that have lost their appeal.
All parents want their children to have a great Christmas, but the love and time spent together are what will be most remembered. If this holiday is more simply this year than it has been in the past, that is okay. Celebrating together is what matters most at the end of the day.
Simplify with Support
Although it’s fun to gather with relatives to celebrate the holidays, sometimes the distance and cost make it impossible. But your family doesn’t have to celebrate alone. Invite other single-parent families to join you for dessert, for a sledding adventure or to see Christmas light displays.
Friends can offer emotional support and practical help. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and neighbors for small favors. Most people are happy to help if they are able.
As people bless you, think of ways your family can bless others. Even discuss with your kids the possibility of donating to charity, and let them help choose which items to give.
As you simplify the holiday season and connect with other families, you and your children will be better able to focus on the magnificent gift of Christmas.
Final Thoughts on Simplifying Your Holiday Season
Stress tends to surround the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As you plan for the holidays, remember why we celebrate. The Son of God was born on Christmas day. On New Year’s day, we celebrate what the Lord has done and will do. Ultimately memories with your kids will mean the most as you think about holiday celebrations. Simplify your holiday season and set your sights on the Father.
More Helpful Hints
• Save time and money by shopping online.
• Buy cookies instead of baking them.
• Trim your Christmas card list.
• Choose simple recipes for holiday meals.
• Do what you can in advance.