mom and child hugging near Christmas tree (single parent holiday traditions)

My first Christmas with my daughter was also my first Christmas as a single mother. A friend kindly suggested to me that despite the challenges that come with being a single parent during the holidays, this was a great opportunity to start some family traditions of our own. Here are 20 holiday traditions for any single parent to try — no matter which holidays you celebrate!

1. Take a Christmas or New Year’s Eve walk (or drive) to look at holiday lights.

2. Light sparklers on New Year’s Eve!

3. Wear “parent and me” matching jammies all season long.

4. Celebrate New Year’s Day with breakfast in bed and a movie.

5. Turn up the holiday music and have a dance party!

6. Mail letters or draw pictures to send to grandparents — and ask for letters back!

7. Volunteer together, or purchase gifts for children who may be in need.

8. Have a friend take your little one shopping so you get a gift, too.

9. Cook or bake together (matching aprons make it extra special!) and deliver something homemade to neighbors.

10. Make a list of wishes for the coming year, plus activities and experiences to try together — keep the list on the fridge to check in throughout the year.

11. Enjoy a “spa night” for the two of you at home.

12. Put a (faux) candle in every window.

13. Make a holiday playlist.

14. Create a secret handshake.

15. Go to the dollar store and get each other silly “Secret Santa” gifts.

16. Hide your Secret Santa gifts in the house for each other to find.

17. Look at a map and pick a spot to visit in the coming year.

18. Make a list of your favorite memories from the year.

19. Order takeout on New Year’s Eve from a special restaurant.

20. Ask your child what holiday tradition they would like to start or try!

Here’s to lots of happy memories and good times with your family this holiday season!

Marianna Pease
Marianna Pease is a divorced single mom by day and a writer by night. After going through a divorce while navigating the pandemic during new motherhood, she has written a book about her emotional healing in hopes to give back to others so they might have a guiding light or glimmer of hope (forthcoming). Follow her journey on instagram @heypandemicmom. Additionally, she runs the long-time vintage clothing store Visit her site She lives in Boston with her daughter.