It’s easy during the holiday season to feel the stress of being a solo parent. At a time when you hear those beloved Christmas carols like “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” you feel more like “Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” But you don’t have stay in the frostbite of single-parenting alone. You can choose to “come out and play” and do entertaining activities with your children.

In my holiday Christmas booklet – Jingle Jangle: Devotionals and Holiday Tips for Single Mothers, co-authored by Kim Heinecke, you’ll find words of encouragement from God’s Word and fun activities to do with your children. Here are a few. It doesn’t take much to bring the merry back into Christmas. Which one of these would work with your family?

  • Place a tiny Christmas tree as the center piece on your dining room table. Each night read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Let the children draw a different character or animal imagined in the story. You’ll be surprised at what they envision in that “silent night.”  
     
  • Buy ingredients for hot chocolate…peppermint, marshmallows, peanut butter chips for a “Hot Chocolate Family Night.” As you sit together, discuss how each cup tastes like the ingredient put in it.  Make the analogy. Likewise, the thoughts or ingredients we put into our minds bring out the flavor of our words. Ask, “How do your words taste to others?” Read Luke 6:45.
     
  • When you pass the bell ringers as you walk into stores, why not offer them a cup of hot coffee or tea? Let the children buy the beverages to take to the volunteers. Teach them to serve with gladness. During night time prayers, read Psalm 100:2 and pray for the bell ringers and their families.
     
  • Homemade ornaments add character and nostalgia to your tree. Ask each family member to make something to represent a highlight in their year. Remembering special events is important. It’s the same reason we remember the birth of Christ. Ask the question, “How was it God’s big event in giving us His Son?”
     
  • Make bubblegum tree ornaments. Buy round glass tree ornaments and fill them with gumballs. Read scriptures that talk about how God loves to fill us up with good things: His Word (Luke 11:28); the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22); blessing others (1 Thessalonians 5:11).      
     
  • For children, Christmas can be all about getting. Take the opportunity to teach them about sharing with others. Express how God loves a cheerful giver. Ask what personal possession they would like give away. What was Jesus attitude about putting others first and living a life with sacrifice? (Philippians 2:3-5).
     
  • Declare a Friday night slumber party around the tree. With overhead lights out and Christmas tree lights on, take this time to instill in your children their deepest unspoken needs: the need to belong, to be respected, to feel accepted as a valuable family member, and to feel significant. It’s easy as a single mom to get so busy that we neglect building their self-esteem.
     
  • Send homemade invitations for a Jesus Birthday party. Make a Jesus cake and sing happy birthday. Instead of the attendees bringing Christ presents to the party, ask them of wrap an empty present to put under their own tree of what they want to give to Jesus for Christmas.
     
  • Teach the kids how to apply spiritual truth in their everyday lives. Take turns choosing a family movie and challenge each person to find a biblical application. Let it be a fun conversation after the movie. Answers don’t have to be complex. It might be simply that God loves for us to be kind or thoughtful of others.
     
  • Reenact the Christmas story. Create costumes for the different characters involved in Luke 2 and let them be the actors. Talk about how it must have felt being each of the characters and let them write their own script. You’ll need pen and paper to record what comes out of their mouths!

As single moms, you can make this Christmas a memorable one for the children. The Bible says that when we refresh others, we - ourselves - are refreshed.  In spite of what struggles you might be facing this holiday, determine to make this Christmas one in which the children carry with them activities that brought laughter to the home. Moms, it “tis the season” to be creative and let the merriment of Jesus fill their hearts and minds.

Pam Kanaly, popular author and one of America’s leading advocates for single mothers, serves as cofounder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive.  Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing women know their value in Christ the King.  She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries, having been featured on the 700 Club and other national programs.  www.ariseministries.net

Publication date: December 12, 2013