10 Tips to survive Christmas as a single mum
Advertisers are ramping-up their Christmas campaigns as we’re subjected to images of perfect families enjoying perfect festive celebrations. As a single parent it’s not surprising you may be feeling the first twinges of anxiety. Christmas is sold commercially as ‘family time’ and if yours isn’t a stereotypical set-up it’s not just the Christmas shopping that could be stressing you out.
The pressure is on to ensure the important little people in your world have the best Christmas ever, and you probably wouldn’t mind having a little fun yourself.
Those days of pondering whether to make or buy the mince pies are well and truly over as you face logistics with your children’s father, possible money worries and good old guilt if you fail to replicate the Christmas from the Aldi ad.
Well it’s time to ditch the unrealistic expectations and accept that your Christmas offering may be a little different from the norm, but it’ll be just as good. And as long as the presents are wrapped, the kids are happy and the bubbles are chilled you will have pulled it off.
Here are 10 super-simple tips to survive Christmas as a single mum.
10 Tips to survive Christmas as a single mum
1. Crystal clear communication
If you’ve been having communication break-downs with your children’s father then now’s the time to get it sorted. Don’t allow room for error on this all-important day. Make plans well in advance. If it’s done verbally then confirm it by text or email. And confirm it again a day or two before.
2. Spare your children the dreaded question
Depending on the ages of your children, don’t ask them who they want to spend Christmas day with. They’ll be crushed by the weight of indecision, guilt and worry that is not their burden. Unless your children are old enough to make sensible and stress-free choices, you make the decisions to ensure they have a happy and memorable day.
3. Santa and his sat nav
Younger children living between two homes can get understandably confused and upset regarding the arrival of Santa. Don’t brush-off their concerns. Take time to explain that Santa knows exactly where all children are sleeping, even if there’s a last minute change. Don’t allow worry to infringe on their magical childhood moments.
4. Enlist the help of some friendly elves
Christmas is a time of good will, so make sure you accept everything that comes your way. Older kids can help by wrapping presents for younger kids. Ask friends to grab you certain bits while they’re out Christmas shopping. And, if it’s possible, delegate some jobs to their dad. Make a list and remind him it’s a team effort.
5. Don’t blow your Christmas budget
There are lots of ways to have a cheap, yet cheerful Christmas. Plan a budget for gifts and for the day itself, and stick to it. Draw your Christmas shopping money from the bank and keep it in a separate purse so you can track your spending. Shop online for Christmas presents and make the most of free delivery and price comparisons. And don’t get carried away buying heaps of luxurious food in an attempt to make the day perfect. Everyone will fill up on chocolates and mince pies anyway.
6. Get the gifts right
Money may be tight so don’t waste it on unwanted pressies. Make sure your children do a list for Santa (or wish list for the older ones). Get them to start a good six weeks in advance and leave it on the side for ideas as and when they think of them. It’ll be more precise and you can get started on the Christmas shopping earlier.
Tips to survive Christmas as a single mum (cont.)
7. Create new family traditions
If Christmas just doesn’t seem right anymore initiate some new traditions that you and your children can continue through the years. Make a different snack for Rudolf, have a particular brekkie or watch a certain festive movie on Christmas Eve. These small actions will make your new-style Christmases more familiar and comfortable.
8. Spend the day with the kids … not in the kitchen
Don’t get carried away with an elaborate meal plan for the big day. Keep it easy and cheat! Utilise the massive array of supermarket offerings such as pre-plated platters, ready to roast meats and prepared veg and salads. Grocery shop online to ensure you stay within budget and avoid the crowds. Oh and if you have guests coming make sure they don’t turn up empty-handed.
9. Capture the moment
Get some really good photos of the day. Then frame one where everyone looks particularly happy and place it strategically in your home. It’ll be a constant reminder to your children (and you) that even though Christmas is different now, it’s still a fabulously fun day.
10. Merry Christmas to me
Remember it’s your Christmas too. Use the day to chill out and relax a little. It’s important for your children to see the day’s not all about them. Arrange small gifts they can give you so they feel the spirit of giving as well as receiving. And if your children aren’t with you on Christmas Day make plans to stay busy and positive.
Now what to get everyone for Christmas …