As one of the nation’s 10+million single mothers, I always look forward to Christmas, but not without a sense of wistfulness. Half of my Christmases are spent without my child (not this one, however! Yay!), because I have split custody. I have spent a few Christmases alone. It can be relaxing, but it can also feel very lonely.
Just as there is usually no one around to take care of the single mom of young children when she is sick, there is usually no one around to fill her stocking or buy her a special present at Christmas. Believe it or not, I make a modest stocking for myself, partially for my son’s benefit, so he won’t think Santa Claus forgot Mommy, and partly to make myself feel better.
Do you have a single mom as a friend or relative? Here are some ways to help a single mom feel jolly at Christmas time.
- Send her a Christmas card with a kind message inside. There really is no single better way to remember the single mom during the holidays. I’ve been divorced twice, and lost two whole families, and of course, I miss connecting with them during the holidays. Christmas can feel really lonely, but Christmas cards from friends and family help immensely.
- Call and check in to wish her a Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (even if you only leave a voice mail message). You don’t have to include her in your family celebrations (that would probably feel awkward to her), but a quick call could mean a lot to her, especially if she doesn’t have her kids that year.
- Invite her to your holiday parties. If you are having a big holiday party with lots of people, be sure to invite her. Single moms get left out of events a lot, because they are often socially isolated after the divorce.
- Offer the gift of time. Single moms are often on a very tight budget. As a Christmas present, why not offer a few hours of free babysitting one evening so she can shop for and wrap toys for her child? I had to spend $60 on a sitter one night just so I could buy my son some toys for Christmas one year. The sitter cost me more than the presents!
- Spoil her a little. Single moms are used to putting themselves last. Some great pampering ideas for single moms include a Bath and Body Works gift set, a restaurant gift card, a gift certificate to a hair salon, gym membership, or a manicure/pedicure.
- Take her photo, with her children, if possible, and give it to her in a pretty frame or in a key chain, as a keepsake. Single moms get left out of pictures a lot because they are usually the one holding the camera. She will love this present most of all.