Holiday Traditions as a Single Parent


I once posted on Facebook, Traditions: they mean something in a child’s life. Whether it’s an annual thing, a special day of the week, or something that is just between you and your child, traditions have the ability to bring our sons and daughters back to a time in their life they can hold on to forever. Best of all, many of these special memory makers don’t have to cost a fortune, but they WILL reap eternal riches!

I was never married to my daughter’s mom. As the years passed, I found myself feeling like I had to compete against her in regards for my daughter’s affection through my actions. Financially, her side of the family had me beat. They could afford to take fancy vacations and buy my daughter nicer gifts. I eventually got to the point where I began to loathe the statement, “I don’t have money to do that” every time my daughter asked me to buy her something she wanted or go somewhere I could not afford. I was basing my identity as a parent on external love rather than selfless sacrifice.

As time progressed, God began to do some heart surgery on me. I became more aware of His truths in my life─ and my eyes were opened to multiple traditions my daughter and I were already doing together. He had been right there all along─ working in areas I thought I was failing in and helping me be the father I already was! My heart would swell as I was now able to slow down enough to actually ENJOY the precious time I was spending with her instead of fast forwarding ahead to what we could do next. To this date, my daughter and I still have plenty of traditions that are ours.

Single parenting is tough, no doubt about it. Sometimes we may feel as if we carry an unfair disadvantage compared to married couples. Still, traditions with your children do not have to stop…or they can begin anew. They say that time heals all wounds, but Jesus gives us much more than that. He is able to heal the broken parts of our lives AND restore us to greater heights than we knew without Him. Don’t make the same mistakes I did: competing with the other parent on worldly terms or allowing temporary barriers such as finances to hinder your role as a godly parent. We only get one shot at this life, and our kids will grow up despite our best efforts to keep them young. Instead, let’s put our trust in the Lord today and allow Him to turn temporary moments into eternal memories for us and our children.

As a single parent, how will you continue to create traditions with your children to leave them with memories they can hold on to forever?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. –Ecc 3:1 (NIV)

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information, please visit

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