Tips To Get You Through Christmas As A Single Parent (From The People Who Know!)

What are the best ways to get through the Christmas period as a single parent?

Christmas is a chaotic for every household. With the amount of prep it needs, especially because you want to create a magical atmosphere, it becomes one of the most stressful periods of the year. Which becomes even more stressful when there’s only one of you there to juggle it all.

But don’t worry, we’ve got Jo Middleton from Frolo here to help! Jo Middleton is a single mum of two daughters, and a single Granny, to a four-year-old grandson. Jo works for Frolo, the award-winning single parent community app, helping all kinds of single parents around the world find friendship, support and a sense of belonging. 

With a community of single parents on her side, Jo has asked them what they could advise.

The Toughest Part Of Parenting Alone At Christmas

We asked the single parents in the Frolo community about their experiences of parenting alone at Christmas and 78% said they found Christmas a particularly tough time of the year as a single parent. There are a few reasons for this. This year in particular, money is a worry, and a lot of single parents say they feel guilt about not being able to provide as much as they’d like for their kids. 

The other big issue is loneliness. This is especially true for co-parents, who typically spend some of the Christmas period without their children and who miss the traditions they had with a partner, pre-divorce or separation. 

Even if Christmas feels tough for you this year, there are things that you can do to help it go with a little bit more of a bang, or a gentle pop at least. These are a few of the ideas the Frolo community came up with.

Make Plans – Christmas As A Single Parent

Christmas as a single parent - image shows a mother with two daughter (one teenager and one child) wrapping Christmas presents together.

Okay, so this sounds a bit obvious, but if there’s a risk of hitting a slump then it pays to be proactive. If you know you’ve got some time around Christmas without the kids for example, decide how you want to fill it rather than just leaving it empty and ending up feeling lonely. 

Make plans to catch up with friends, get that haircut you need, book in an exercise class maybe. Or even just make a plan to spend an afternoon wrapping presents while you watch Love Actually and drink sherry. It doesn’t matter how simple they are, the fact of knowing you have a planned way to fill your time can be hugely comforting. 

‘I never have my kids on Christmas Eve during the day. But I’ve turned it into a special time for me where I get tidied up, lay all the presents out under the tree and bake Christmas treats for when they get home while listening to carols. It’s turned into one of my favourite bits about Christmas!’


Let Go Of The Guilt

Christmas as a single parent - image shows a mother and a baby looking at a Christmas tree

We promise you that when your kids are a bit older and you reminisce about Christmases past, they won’t remember how big the tree was or what specific gifts they got, they’ll remember how Christmas made them FEEL. 

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The most important gift that you can give your kids is your love, as cheesy as this sounds it’s true. You are enough for them, no matter if their stockings are full of the latest gadgets or just new pants and socks and a toothbrush. (We all do this right? Stockings are all about the essentials!) 

‘I actually tested this last Christmas. I asked my kids what their favourite bits were about the Christmas before. Neither of them mentioned the gifts – their best bits were that I let them bring chocolate muffins into my bed in the morning to eat while we opened our stockings and the walk we did around our local woods on Boxing Day where we collected sticks and then had a mini bonfire in the garden to toast marshmallows when we got home.’


Join A Frolo Meetup

Christmas as a single parent - Image shows three mothers and three babies at a meetup

The Frolo app was designed by newly single mum Zoe Desmond as a way to help single parents connect and support each other and it’s become a thriving community of thousands of people. Head to the Meetups section of the app and you can find Virtual events hosted by Frolo as well as listings from community members looking to make new friends in their area.

‘I was so nervous the first time I went to a Frolo Meetup a couple of Christmases ago. But it was just one of the best decisions! Another frolo had posted on the Frolo app that they were going ice skating with their kids and would love for other single parents to join them, and I went for it. Not only did I have a brilliant time getting to talk to another grown-up, but our kids got on really well too and we’ve become really good friends. We hang out together loads, with kids and without. I’m so glad I took the plunge.’


Create New Traditions

Christmas as a single parent: Image shows a toddler hanging a bauble on a Christmas tree

If you’re a single parent because you’ve been through a divorce, separation or loss then one of the toughest things about Christmas is the constant reminders of all the things you used to do as a family. Rather than trying to relive the same old patterns, you can decide to scrap them and create brand new traditions instead.

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Maybe you’ve always loved the idea of going and choosing your own Christmas tree from a farm but your ex always wanted artificial? Perhaps you and the kids love cheesy Christmas movies and decide to hold an annual movie duvet day complete with hot chocolate and a tin of Roses? Whatever they are, these new rituals can help to create a sense of stability, giving your new family structure roots.

‘My ex was very firm on when the ‘right’ time was to put up and take down a Christmas tree. And although Christmas was always lovely at home, I always wished we could have the tree up for longer! Now the kids and I just go for it. We put our tree up around mid-November, decorate it with the cheesiest decorations we can find, and leave it up as long as we want! During one of the Covid Christmases we kept it up until February!’

Pete, dad of two.

Check out our blog, “9 magical new Christmas traditions for toddlers”

Whatever you’re up to this Christmas, (and however long you keep your tree up for…), we hope you have a brilliant time. Don’t forget there’s a community of single parents on the Frolo app just waiting to offer festive friendship and support. 

Jo Middleton from Frolo - image shows Jo and text giving her credit and thanks

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This blog was written by a guest author. That means it was either created by an industry expert, medical professional, or someone from within the parenting community. You will be able to find out more information about them within the blog. Thank you so much for popping in to give it your support!