A Single Parent’s Guide to Creating New Thanksgiving Traditions

Single parenting is hard. That sentence may be the biggest understatement of the year. The list of difficult things begins with learning to live without your significant other and never seems to end. One of the hardest things, though, is learning to create new holiday traditions with your children. Coparenting is fantastic, and even if you are doing a great job at it, there will be things that you just do not do as a family any longer.

Thanksgiving at his mother’s or her grandmother’s may be a thing of the past. Now, you must learn to create fantastic memories with your children that do not include the other parent nor your ex-inlaws. Here are a few tips to help you learn to do just that.

Find a “You” Thing

One of the ways we begin traditions is that families begin to do things that make them happy. While you might miss the popcorn stringing after dinner on Thanksgiving with the entire family, you can still do fun things with your children. Splitting the holidays may mean that you have to change the day or time you have your children, so your thing will need to be flexible.

Watching the first Christmas movie of the season, eating ice cream for breakfast, or cooking a side dish together can be done at any time. However, you will want to make sure that your thing brings joy to both of you. If your daughter hates watching movies, that might not be the best choice. However, you can find something that brings your personalities together.

Thanksgiving at his mother’s or her grandmother’s may be a thing of the past. Now, you must learn to create fantastic memories with your children that do not include the other parent nor your ex-inlaws.

Tap into Old Traditions

Making hot cocoa the day after Thanksgiving while Mom decorates the yard might not be possible anymore. However, drinking hot cocoa while decorating the house or apartment is still okay. You do not have to eliminate all “old” traditions. You need to adapt them to your new life.

Menu Changes

Turkey can be done in every other home on the street. Have you tried Thanksgiving Chili with spiced cider and cheesecake? If not, you should try it. Thanksgiving lasagna or tater-tot casserole is to die for too! Let your child pick a menu theme. Mexican food? Traditional Native American dishes? Italian? The theme doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the meal is memorable to you. You might even want to choose a different culture for each dish and consider how each of those dishes makes a fantastic meal. These nationalities also come together to make a wonderful country.

New Table Décor

Maybe in past, you had a specific style of table setting and décor that set the mood for your family get together. This year, you can change the tablecloth, napkins or placemats. You can even create a new centerpiece so your sit down dinner will feel like a whole new experience.

New Visitors

In past, you may have had your ex and his family over for dinner. This time, you can invite your neighbours, other friends, your children’s friends to celebrate. This mix will create a new dynamic that makes the tradition more interesting and fun.

A Prayer

If you say grace before you eat, perhaps you let your child do the grace this time before dinner and if you traditionally say the prayer, perhaps modifying the prayer or say something impromptu would be a nice change.

Bottom Line

Everyone has a different set of traditions that they lose when a relationship dissolves. However, you can start new traditions and learn to find happiness that is not dependent on another. Your children are the most important people in your life. Make them happy by creating new memories unique to your new household.  


Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre has been a single parent for 25 years and raised 2 sons now in their late 20s. Though it was a financial struggle with many personal challenges, she managed to successfully maintain her sanity. She is not only a part-time blogger and former columnist, but also a marketing executive with an MBA in technology, entrepreneur, community leader / mentor and real estate investor.

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