As holidays began to come and go, as a new single parent I tried to keep our usual family celebrations as normal as possible. This was a big mistake. My advice to all new single parents is this: do not try to repeat the immediate family holiday traditions! I thought I was doing the right thing. I tried to repeat all of the kinds of things we had done as a family in the past and everyone was miserable. A couple of the children tried to act like everything was the same and that they were happy; but, the other three children were miserable and in no way tried to hide it. The other parent was missing and this original celebration would never be the same. My advice to new single parents is to plan something in advance of these holidays that is something entire new and different than anything else you have ever done before. Start a new tradition, especially if everyone seems to have a good time. Make this the time to celebrate at a ski lodge or at Disney. Invite lots of cousins and friends to celebrate with you in your home. Make this a holiday where you take in guests who have no one to share this time of year. But, whatever you do, make it new. Of course, it should be something where all of you can still be together . You will just be doing your celebrating by doing new things with new people.
After the first horrible holiday mistake was over, we tried to forget it ever happened. The next year we not only went skiing; but, a few of the children’s friends with us. Another time I planned for all of us to go dog sledding in Maine. What an adventure it was to spend the Winter holiday in lots and lots of snow and with many other families on vacation, as well. One Thanksgiving we packed individual Thanksgiving lunches to-go and went on a horse-drawn sleigh ride driven by a local Amish gentleman. The day ended with all of my children and their cousins having a soccer tournament and the players were from the ages of two to twenty! Another family holiday all of the aunts and uncles and cousins joined us with their dogs and we had a doggie tournament with all kinds of contests and trophies and other prizes. Now this was one fun party and will always be remembered as one of the best celebrations ever! Trust me. This is definitely the way to go. Happy future holidays.