It’s Christmas and you’re busy. You’ve got gifts to buy, parties to attend, meals to plan and family coming in from out of town. Single moms are busy too. They are busy working low-paying jobs, making sure her children have a hot dinner on the table, helping with homework and worrying about how to afford and fit into her schedule all that comes along with giving her children a “Merry Christmas.”
In the United States today, there are nearly 13.6 million single moms raising over 21 million children. That’s 21 million children who believe in Santa and deserve to experience the joy of Christmas. And, I’m willing to bet you know a few.
Are you wondering what you can do for a single mom this Christmas season?
7 Things You Can Do for a Struggling Single Mom at Christmas
1. Give gifts to the children AND mom
Giving gifts during Christmas comes naturally to most of us. We relish seeing the joy on children’s faces when they open gifts. But sometimes we’re so focused on buying for the children that we forget some parents need a little joy also.
If you know a single mom who needs a bit of caring, buy her a colorful pair of socks, a new scarf or a gift card to Starbucks. She may not have anyone to take her children shopping for her. She doesn’t have a spouse or partner to shower her with gifts. And, her children will be thrilled to know mom has gifts too.
2. Spend time with the single mom during Christmas
During Christmas, time is valuable. We have gifts to buy, Christmas programs to orchestrate, houses to clean, cookies to bake, and stockings to hang. That’s why spending time with single parents makes the gesture even more meaningful.
Are the children spending time with their dad over the holidays? Invite mom to help decorate the tree or make cookies so that she doesn’t feel lonely while her children are gone.
Don’t count out the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Inviting her to share a meal or a coffee is your opportunity to distract her from all she has to do and give her some much-needed downtime.
3. Send her an encouraging Christmas card
Giving words of affirmation encourages single moms who feel inadequate or overwhelmed. Although remembering to say affirming words helps, a handwritten note is something the single mom can revisit again and again.
Christmas cards abound during the holidays, providing the perfect opportunity to add something special to the typical season’s greeting. Think about the dedication and sacrifices single moms demonstrate and write how much their hard work means. Reading that you value her efforts can be words of encouragement that get her through another day.
4. Offer to sit with her children so she can go shopping
It’s challenging to buy Christmas gifts for children who are glued to your hip. As much as children connive to discover their gifts, anticipation is an integral part of Christmas giving.
It’s hard enough to go Christmas shopping without children when there are two parents, but the single mom has an even more difficult time. And who wants to ask someone to watch children during the holidays when everyone is so busy? Offering to babysit while mom goes shopping is one act of service that demonstrates your caring and concern for her.
5. Give her a hug
Whether or not you’re a “hugger,” the single parent might be. Or, she may desperately need a hug. If the single parent in your life needs the love language of touch, find a way this Christmas to ensure she receives appropriate affection. Touch is healing so, reach out and hug, or pat her hand and let her know she is important to you.
6. Share Christmas goodies with her and her children
Most single moms work full time, have the lion’s share of caring for their children and are pinching all their pennies. When baking for Christmas put together a basket of Christmas goodies for her and her children. Being a single mom myself there are no words to describe my appreciation for the cookies and cakes my friends used to give us at Christmas time. I had one friend who made the most wonderful bread pudding. Although my children are grown and gone, this “single mom” will never forget the joy I had sharing that bread pudding with my boys.
7. Make sure she has what she needs to give her children a magical Christmas
If you know a single mom who is struggling financially and can’t give her children a magical Christmas, get to work. Rally neighbors or church family to donate a Christmas tree, a turkey and the fixings for Christmas dinner. Get a list of the children’s Christmas wishes and do what you can to make sure they wake on Christmas morning and experience the joy of finding Santa’s gifts under the tree.
Seven in 10 children living with a single mother are poor or low income. The vast majority of single moms have full-time jobs so, they aren’t poor due to a lack of effort. They are poor because of low wages, fathers who don’t pay child support and a lack of programs to help families that struggle financially.
Single moms rarely get a break. And, they rarely ask for help. If you’re wanting to ‘give’ this Christmas season, someone in need may be a member of your own family, or church or, she may be a neighbor. Just look around, you’ll find a single mom who will be forever grateful for a bit of Christmas kindness.