I have always loved the season of Christmas. I love the constant background of Christmas music, the festivities and family time together, and the uptick in joy in all the faces and places of Christmas.
But it’s not always 100% joy for me. The Christmas season also ushers in a level of stress and anxiety. As a single mom, I’ve seen my stress at times completely displace the joy of Christmas. I don’t want my kids to remember a stressed-out mom every Christmas. Making adjustments in four areas can help ensure joy in celebrating Christmas as a single mom.
Adjust Your Expectations.
Expectations are a huge source of anxiety for me. Every Christmas, I want to wow my kids with their presents, with my holiday baking, and with our Christmas dinner. I typically go into the season with high expectations on myself of masterminding a Christmas they’ll remember.
The problem with expectations is they hold not only me but everyone else captive to my ideals. It’s been said that peace begins where expectations end. Because I want to choose a peaceful Christmas over a perfect Christmas, this December I will write my plans in pencil and give myself and those around me grace for the unexpected.
Adjust Your Calendar.
Time is the single most valuable commodity for the single mom. Add in the busyness of Christmas, and December can become a month of stress rather than celebration.
As single moms, we need to be aware of our limits and work within them. Rather than overbook ourselves trying to create the perfect Christmas, we need to leave white space on December’s calendar so we’re not rushing ourselves and our children. We also need to make family and friends aware of our bandwidth and let go of time-consuming expectations or traditions that create more stress than joy.
Adjust Your Finances.
We can’t buy our way or our children’s way to a joyful Christmas. In fact, spending more may just cause more stress and anxiety. Don’t let the temptation to spend as much as you did when you were a two-parent family, or as much as ex or a grandparent will be spending, determine your Christmas budget.
Take the financial strain out of Christmas by setting a budget you can afford now, that won’t leave you paying off credit cards come spring. The real reason to celebrate Christmas has nothing to do with how much we spend. Find ways to serve others instead of spending more. A simple Christmas may not only alleviate financial stress but also help your family focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Adjust Holiday Traditions.
Holiday traditions are what help make each family’s Christmas unique and special. I’m a big fan of making them and keeping them, but single parenting may mean setting aside or changing a holiday tradition.
This is especially true if your children are moving from one house to another over Christmas. Some traditions may be too painful to continue and it may be time to begin new traditions. Keep the traditions that bring joy but don’t feel boxed in by traditions that only cause anxiety.
Tell us! Which one of these areas causes the most stress for you at Christmas?