Thriving Christmas Alone as a New Single Mom

The holiday season is upon us. For many, it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year”, including new single moms. The pain of breakup, no matter how amicable, can feel exponentially greater during the holidays. Especially when you add the fact that, your children will be spending the holidays with their father. How are you going to survive thrive your first holiday without your kids?

Here are 3 tips for making the absolute most of your time alone. The key is to be intentional and make plans ahead of time, so that you’re all set.

Pick a New Date

Celebrate the holiday with your children before they leave with their dad, or after they return.  This can add excitement for your children, and even comfort them. If they are sad about not getting to spend the time with you. Remember, December 25th is not the actual date of Jesus’ birth, it’s the day we choose to celebrate it (as my sons like pointing out, now that they are old enough to know).

In 2014, my parents were preparing to travel overseas together and would not be around for Easter.  My sister (the baby of the family) suggested that we all get together the Sunday before Easter, a few days before their flight, so that we could celebrate Easter as a family. At first thought, I wondered if that was necessary, especially since Easter was a holiday we had celebrated together only a few times in the last few years (unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas). I did not know how special that day would come to be.  We celebrated Easter a week early, and my parents left. My mother passed away overseas and did not make it back.

I am not sharing this here for morbid reasons, but to show that holidays can be celebrated on a day that you choose. I’m so grateful that my sister made that suggestion, and that we all got together (which, by the way, we have not done on Easter since that year).  

Treat Yourself

Treat yourself to a really nice experience (preferably one you haven’t indulged in in a while). You don’t have to bust your budget either.

Free Options:

  • Gratitude Journal – spend some quality time with God, reflecting and thanking Him for the things He has seen you through
  • Binge – No, not on pies and cakes! Binge watch that show you have been hearing about, but haven’t had a chance to watch yet (a show that lifts up your spirit and soul).
  • Read – Now is a great time to read those books that have been on your reading list for months.

Paid Options:

  • Have a spa day! Manicure, pedicure, massage…your choice or all three. Go get a new hairstyle and let someone else fix your hair for a change.
  • Staycation – Search Google for “staycation ideas Miami” (or whatever your city is). There are ideas for every budget.
  • Take that trip. Traveling alone can be a beautiful time of refreshing, reflection and rejuvenation.

Do Good

Doing something good for others is a great way to shift the focus off negative emotions we might be experiencing. Community service can benefit you as much as it benefits others.


  • Volunteer at a hospital, food pantry, nursing home, women’s shelter.
  • Take food to a neighbor who might also be spending the holiday alone
  • Do you have any friends who might be spending the holiday alone? Plan a dinner party or go out for dessert together.

With intentionality, the holidays do not have to be something you try to just survive, but they can be a time where you thrive.

These are just a few ideas – there are plenty others. What other suggestions do you have to help make spending the holidays without your kids a thriving time?


  1. These are great ideas. Although my daughter is a young adult now, I raised her as a single parent. Two years ago, her Dad was in town so we split Christmas Day with our young adult lol. I had time with her in the morning, he picked her up in the afternoon. Funny you mentioned Miami. We were living in Miami at the time because my daughter attended college there. She graduated in May, so we both recently moved away from there. Merry Christmas! 🎄

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