November 19, 2013 by
Photography by Natalie Jensen Photography

The holiday season. I’m not sure if there is another phrase that can evoke such extreme emotions. In just one moment, it can put smiles on our faces and send chills down our spines. I could write all day long about how we have lost the meaning of the holidays, but I particularly want to talk about how we’ve lost our definition of “family holiday” during this traditional season.

Take Thanksgiving, for example. Before becoming a single parent, you probably cooked for your family—your spouse, your children, maybe even your extended families. Now, you might not even have your children on the actual day, which can be really lonely. We’re supposed to be thankful on this day, but that might be a hard emotion to muster when we’re at odds with our family situations.

This year, I’m challenging all single parents (myself included) to redefine what a “family holiday” is. After all, your definition of family has changed, so why shouldn’t your expectations for the holidays change as well?

One idea is to combine and celebrate with other single families in your situation. It cuts down on costs and is an interesting way to create new traditions. Another option (if it’s not your time with the kids) is to team up with other kid-less adults and enjoy a more adult Thanksgiving meal. Whatever you do, just remember that “family” doesn’t always mean the spouse, the kids, and the white picket fence.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes, the holidays cannot be over fast enough for me, but I have to remind myself not to glamorize what the holidays used to be like. If I’m honest, they were usually just as stressful for different reasons. So try to see the good, and don’t forget to be thankful.