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Jody Seidler

Ho Ho Ho - Itís another Holiday
as a Single Parent

by Jody Seidler

With another round of holidays coming at us...itís time to slow down and take a deep breath. Letís not forget we are making memories for our children with everything we do - so why not be creative. Whether itís your Christmas or Chanukah, or any Holiday - you have the power to make it one filled with wonderful memories.

Those Emotions: If youíre filled with resentment (which, by the way is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die), anger (which only zaps OUR energy), fear (false evidence appearing real) or concern (thatís much more empathic) - itís time to step outside of those feelings and step into gratitude and count our blessings. The first thing my son and I will do this holiday season is to look around his room. Phase two is to gather up all the toys he never plays with and those he probably wonít play with and box them up. Phase three is to take the boxes to a hospital or center for needy children. This action feels good and also teaches the child to share and create great memories for everyone concerned. It also creates good karma points.

With or without Child: If you and your child are not spending the holidays with family, there are many dining options to choose. You can create a holiday dinner with other single parents you know and their children. The appeal of an extended family celebration has been known to man for a very long time. If there are no single parent families that you know of, you and your child can dine out at a family restaurant, one that is fun and noisy or one that is calm and peaceful...whatever your preference. If the holiday falls on the year your children are celebrating with the other parent - you have many options as well. There is dinner with a friend, movie with a friend or alone, a good book and a warm bath and bed...flying to be with family in another city. Your choices of ways to celebrate are as wide open as your mind.

The Present List: When it comes to the dreaded "present list", I think itís good for children to write their own list on a piece if paper in the order of importance. Those lists are fun to save from year to year. I compare my sonís list from two years ago (when Ďpetí was third on the list) to last year when it was transformed into Ďbrotherí. The list also gives your child a sense of empowerment and security, and everyone needs a Ďwish listí...just make sure your child knows they wonít be getting everything on their list!

Making Memories: Itís fun to take pictures or videos to create lasting memories. You can make a wonderful scrapbook from holiday souvenirs, and you can share these with family and friends. If youíre on your own for this holiday- ask the other parent to take pictures and make duplicates for you so you can share in the joy and have a memory for you and your child at your home too. If thereís stress between the two parents, make a pact that for holidays - you will bother share photographs with each other - for the joy of your child.

The Money Pit: If money is tight, you can start collecting gifts early on in the year. You can purchase from stores, make gifts yourself and start going to local garage sales. Garage sales are great in California, a lot of people sell things that havenít even been opened yet. Keep your eyes and ears open throughout the year when you child name drops his favorite toy brand or music choice (CDs and tapes make a great gift for older children because you can share in that joy too).

Gratitude is the Theme: Holidays after a life transition can be challenging, if this is your first holiday season after a divorce or death of a spouse - be tender with yourself. Itís difficult, but try to stay out of the past and what was...build up your strength to create a new present and future for you and your child. Find the support you need, get plenty of rest and rediscover gratitude for the greatest gift of all -- your child!

© Copyright Jody Seidler. All Rights Reserved.

Maple Leaf
Jody Seidler is the creator of Making Lemonade -The Single Parent Network - www.makinglemonade.com. As a single parent contributor, Jody has been profiled in many online and offline publications, and is also a facilitator for single parent groups, a columnist, speaker, and the producer of the makinglemonade.com website and newsletter...all inspired by being a single mom to Sam, who is now eleven.


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