Put A New Shine On The Holidays: 3 Traditions For Single Parent Families

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You used to bake cookies the week after Thanksgiving, using your ex’s grandmother’s fudge cookie recipe. You used to make a night of it by picking up pizza, then picking out a Christmas tree and returning home to decorate. There were a lot of things you used to do, but things change after a divorce, especially the holidays.

Change doesn’t have to be bad, though. Make the holidays take on new meaning, and build memories just as fond as the old ones, with some new just-me-and-the-kids traditions. It doesn’t matter whether they’re entirely new activities or a different spin on a holiday ritual from your past. What does matter is continuing to keep the holidays special with events and customs you’ll all remember for the rest of your lives.

As my readers know, from time to time I approve requests from people who submit a blog article of which they report they have designed specifically with the desire to share their thoughts with my readers. This most recent request on the topic of helping single parents during holiday time, I did indeed approve. I enjoyed this article written by Stephanie Hutchings, and feel it is of value. Stephanie is a warehouse manager by day who enjoys hunting and camping with her family. I hope you find it informative.

Put A New Shine On The Holidays – 3 Traditions For Single Parent Families

Reaching Out

There are about five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and another week until the New Year. Set aside one day within that month or so to reach out as a family to others. Head to the local card shop so everyone in the family can pick out individual cards to send to service members overseas. Have a hot cocoa party while you sign and address them, then send your holiday greetings off to Holiday Mail for Heroes. Another way to reach out is to volunteer the family at a local soup kitchen. If you’ve never done that before, it’s easy to find a soup kitchen nearby at dosomething.org. If neither of these classic ideas suits your family, appoint an evening or a weekend afternoon for everyone to go through closets to cull clothing to donate to a shelter or other charitable organization. Set a goal of a specific number of items per person. Make a party of it, too, with Christmas music, spiced cider, popcorn and cookies. You’ll really anchor your outreach day in tradition by scheduling it on the same day every year, such as the second Saturday after Thanksgiving or the Friday after Christmas.

Season’s Greetings

You may have sent out holiday cards BD — before divorce — and that tradition doesn’t have to stop now. Your family still exists, it’s just shaped differently. Share your new look along with some holiday cheer with everyone on your Christmas card list by sending out a photo card this year. You can have the picture taken professionally or just use a candid snap of you and the kids having fun. Then take your digital pic to a website that specializes in custom holiday cards. Have each kid to cast a vote on their favorite template. You may need to be diplomatic and narrow it down to two finalists first. Then, upload your photo. These custom sites even allow you to edit the text on the card to personalize your holiday greetings.

Holiday Road Trip

A lot of people travel during the holidays — 93.3 million just in 2012, according to AAA. If your family lives close and the holidays don’t require you to join the masses on the highways and in airliners, you can still plan a short holiday jaunt as part of your new family holiday tradition. Travel to a nearby city to see a holiday play. Drive out to the burbs (or head into town if you live on the outskirts) to view the free show of holiday lights. Or take an overnight trip to a big city a few hours away to Christmas shop and have dinner out at a restaurant you never get to enjoy at home.

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Follow Dr. Karen on Twitter or Facebook. Media Psychotherapist Guest Expert; Relationships, Parenting, Human Behavior, Analyzes Hot Topics In The News. Has appeared on FOX News Channel's: The O'Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, Hannity, America's Newsroom, and FOX Business Network's: Cavuto. Go–to for FOX News Boston including the regular segment; Ask Dr. Karen. Also appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, Lifetime, Discovery Network's Destination America, The Steve Harvey TV Show, and more. Sought after Radio Guest Expert. Columnist. Often quoted in various print media: FOX Business, FOX News Magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Care.com, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo Shine, Parents, Parenting, CNN, TIME, Woman's Day, Men's Health, USA Today, and more. Owner/Founder/President: Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc. Based in Massachusetts. Author of: 9 Key Techniques For Raising Respectful Children and Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual. Copyright 2012.

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