Holidays are normally happy occasions for everyone, but not so much for single or separated parents. The season can be fraught with nerves and anxieties, especially when you have to arrange a special schedule for the kids to divide their time between you and the other parent.

But you can manage your holidays as a single parent better if you observe these tips:

  1. Celebrate the season with people who can bring a positive force into your life. The last thing your kids need is a downer who will only add to the stress brought about by celebrating with two separate parents.
  2. Talk to your partner about your holiday arrangement for the sake of your kids. It’s the right time to set aside arguments and prioritize your kids, especially if you still have a young brood.
  3. Don’t forget to spend some “alone time” to cater to your personal needs – reading a book, listening to good music, or catching up with friends.
  4. The simpler the celebrations, the better. Just make sure to make your kids feel like they are part of the planning process.
  5. Discuss your holiday plans with your kids. If your kids are going to spend time with your former partner, review the plans with them. Make them feel comfortable about the arrangement, especially if this is their first time to experience it.
  6. Pick gifts and set a budget with your former partner. While generosity makes Christmas better for your kids, don’t outdo each other during the gift giving. And even if your ex chooses to lavish your kids with expensive gifts, don’t start an argument if you don’t want to make your kids feel guilty about accepting those gifts.
  7. Make plans for your holidays with friends if you’re not spending it with your kids, or visit your extended family.
  8. Remind the kids of the good times by sticking to old Christmas traditions, but don’t reject the idea of new ones. Seeing their parents separate can be hard on your kids, so you have to be flexible in your holiday plans and traditions.
  9. Try to divide the holidays into smaller events instead of a major one. Celebrate Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and so on instead of focusing all your efforts on Christmas Day.
  10. Send your kids off to the other parent with a huge smile on your face and a genuine encouragement for them to enjoy the holidays. Saying goodbye to them with a sad look on your face or ranting about your ex will only make them feel guilty about the celebrations.

Celebrating the holidays as a single parent can be devastating at first, and more when you’re left alone because it’s your ex’s turn to have your kids over. But these tips should help you enjoy the season and make life easier for you and your kids.