Planning for Special Occasions

Special times of year, such as birthdays, Christmas, Diwali, or Eid, can create some challenges for single parent families. This page has advice on how to make arrangements for your family during yearly holidays and how to look after yourself during them.

Contact Arrangements

If your child has contact with their other parent, you might want to plan ahead if how much time your child will spend with each parent over the holidays. It makes things easier to get this agreed as soon as possible. Some single parent families swap key days, such as a  birthday at one home one year and at the other parent’s house the next year. In other cases you might want to try and celebrate a holiday in both parent’s homes, for example having two Christmas days, one at each house.

If your children are old enough, you could include them in the planning to help them feel more secure about how things will work out. Once a plan has been made, add the dates to a calendar or somewhere where your children can see, so that they feel included and will know where they are going to be when.

For more advice on making contact arrangements over special holidays, you can read our frequently asked questions about contact arrangements and our frequently asked questions about holidays.

Times when your children are away

If you find it difficult when your children are away from you during a holiday period, try to find something to occupy your time. Taking up a hobby, seeing friends, or exercising are all goods ways to stay busy. You can find more advice on activities to stay busy and help your wellbeing on our mental health page.

Connecting with other single parents

You may find it helpful to get in touch with other single parents in our online forum or on our Facebook page. Talking to people who have been through similar difficult times is often very helpful.

Gingerbread groups can be a great source of local support and many organise activities or social events for both you and your children. You can find your nearest group on our map and postcode finder. You may also wish to try websites such as or, where you can chat to other parents and get advice and support.

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