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8 Tips for Making Christmas Special as a Single Parent Household

Christmas is a time for family, no matter how big or small that family is. Read our tips on making Xmas special as a single-parent household.

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When most people think of Christmas, they think of big family events, busy dinners and a packed diary – but for some, that’s not the case.

Small families and single-parent households, listen up. Fewer people around the dinner table doesn’t have to mean less magic in your Christmas (and look on the bright side, it definitely means less stress).

If you’re looking for tips on how to survive the Christmas period as a single parent, we’ve got you covered.

Make sure you’re included in the gift-giving

We all love gift – even if they are ‘to me, from me’. Buy yourself a few bits (they don’t have to be anything big or expensive) so you have something to open on Christmas morning as well as your kids. You could even leave them in your child’s room with a note from Santa asking if they can help out by wrapping some presents for him. It’ll keep them busy and they’ll feel great for being in with the big guy.

Buy gifts that you can use together

Be smart with your gift shopping. Buy things you can do together (or things that’ll keep them busy). Board games, LEGO® challenges and mystery games are all winners here. Basically, look for anything that’s like the fun version of IKEA flat-pack furniture.

Involve your kids in the planning

We’ll hazard a guess that your idea of a perfect Christmas is entirely different from your kids’. Ask them how they’d spend the day if they could do anything – from planning the menu to deciding what to watch. Understanding what they want to do will help you feel like they’re not going to be disappointed.

Or, just let them plan the whole thing

We love a yes day – it's an excellent way to make your kids feel like the star of the show. The deal is that you say yes to absolutely everything for the duration of the day (boundaries and budget permitting). There’s a little bit less freedom on Christmas day than normal, but you could limit it to in-house activities and it could even be one of their gifts. Brucey bonus.

Yes days are also the perfect opportunity to gift them a trip to their favourite attractions. If you've got younger kids it may be CBeebies Land at Alton Towers or LEGOLAND® Windsor, or if they're a bit older they might fancy a visit to Thorpe Park (for the UK's scariest rides) or Edinburgh Dungeon if they really like gore.

Throw tradition out the window and make new ones

Try not to focus on what you feel like you 'should' do on Christmas (and what other people are doing) and think about what’s right for you and your family. If you want to have Christmas dinner on Boxing Day so you’ve got more time with your kids on the big day, do it. We’re sure they won’t mind party food instead. Want to open your presents at midnight? Why not.

Stay off social media

If you’re having a scroll and it looks like everyone you know is having a picture-perfect day then remember one thing, that’s a load of crap. People aren’t posting the burnt potatoes and dry-as-hell turkey, never mind the stress, tears, arguments and hangovers. Don’t compare your Christmas, just focus on making yours magical.

Get out the house for a bit

A change of scenery is always good. Try popping to your local pub for a drink and a natter (strangers will talk to anyone at Christmas). Go for a walk and admire people’s decorations. Or, if you’re religious, attend a service and share some festive joy together.

Post in local groups

Facebook is great for this stuff – find some groups for your local and area and ask for inspiration. Other people nearby might be feeling the same and usually there’s stuff going on like advent window trails or Christmas day meet-ups that you could get involved in.

Think of activities you could do as a family

It’s always good to have a big ol’ list of ideas and activities to fall back on. There’s the kitchen classics like baking or building a gingerbread house. You could set up your very own bar (mocktails, of course) and shake up something delicious. Making a fort out of blankets and cushions is always fun – even better if you can watch a movie in there.

We happened to think of ourselves as festive connoisseurs, that's why we've collected loads of things you should do in the build up to Xmas. From not-so-basic Christmas things to do, to our favourite Santa's Grottos - and even just a big ol' list of 50 Xmas activities.

At Days Out, you can book the UK’s best attractions (y’know the proper FOMO inducing ones?) -- we know where’s perfect for you. Find your next adventure.