Thanksgiving Hacks for Single Moms

On any given day, being a single mom can be hard; but, add in the holidays and the challenges get harder. If this is your first holiday season as a single mom, it can be devastating. Thanksgiving is all about togetherness, family, and feeling grateful for the things in your life. How is that supposed to look when your family isn’t together and you feel so alone?  Maybe you’re struggling to find anything to be grateful for this year. In addition to your own grief, you are likely dealing with your children’s feelings too.

First, you’re not alone.  We’re here for you, and we will pray with you through this holiday season. Visit our “Need Prayer?” page and let us know how we can care for you. Second, there are ways to pull together some holiday memories that will leave you feeling thankful, regardless of your circumstances.

We’ve compiled a few holiday hacks to make the holiday less tearful and more beautiful.

Simplify the Meal

Cook It Slow

Maybe you’re used to the holidays being filled with freshly baked pies and a feast of homemade side dishes. Cooking a Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to mean putting a dozen dishes in the oven. Instead, use your crockpot and make some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes in the slow cooker. Time is a limited resource. Make the most of it.

Buy It Pre-Made

This isn’t cheating. Your supermarket carries delicious options that are convenient and easy. No one will judge you for stopping by the store to pick up some premade dishes. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, even the turkey can all be bought pre-cooked and only require a few steps to get them from the fridge to table.

Go Non-Traditional

Kids can be picky eaters, and rather than making foods they may not love—how about menu planning with them? It’s okay to make pizza and macaroni and cheese for a holiday meal. Laugh about it. Decide you’re going to make turkey subs and watch a Christmas movie in your slippers. Just because something is a tradition doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Thanksgiving is about being together, not about the food. Enjoy whatever makes everyone happy.

Create New Traditions

Breakfast in Bed

Speaking of happiness, your kids’ happiness should be top-of-mind. Start the day doing something new and special. Stay in your PJs and treat them (and yourself) to cinnamon rolls and a breakfast smoothie in bed.  This is an incredibly special thing to do if you need to share your children with their father’s family that day, too.

Include Your Children in Decisions

If you typically watch the Macy’s Day Parade, ask your children if they want to watch it or do something different. Some new ideas might include doing a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt; have a DIY spa day with face masks and foot scrubs; put a puzzle together; do a Pinterest craft. If your kids are older, maybe you make a stealth plan to be the first ones out for Black Friday sales. You don’t even have to spend money to people-watch.

Don’t Be Alone


There’s nothing better as a mom than having other mom friends to be with. Especially if they are other single moms. Think about inviting over other single moms. Or other friends who might be alone or not have much to do on the holiday. Being with others who know what you’re going through and are willing to roll up their sleeves and roll out some pie dough in the name of togetherness is a beautiful thing.


There is often a need for volunteers at homeless shelters and other organizations. Contact some local charities and see if you can help to serve. Serving others in need will keep your focus off your own circumstances, and maybe even cultivate more gratitude. Seeing other people who are appreciative of the love and generosity you offer can remind you what the day is all about and make you feel less alone.

Give Thanks Anyway

Make a Blessing Bowl

The Bible says that God collects our prayers in gold bowls. (Revelation 5:8) Your bowl doesn’t have to be gold. Take small pieces of paper and write a prayer on each of them. As you fold it and put it in the bowl, give thanks to God that he heard your prayer and he will answer it. Keep your prayers until next year and then open them next Thanksgiving. You will see that God did hear your prayers and answered. Even if you are struggling with gratitude today, have faith that you will have much to be thankful for in the future.

Count Your Blessings

There’s a song that we used to sing in Sunday School that went: “Count your blessing, count them one-by-one, count your many blessing see what God has done.” Write 1 to 10 on a piece of paper. Don’t walk away from that paper until you have thought of 10 things to be thankful for today. Come back later in the day and write another 1 to 10. This time, give thanks for the things in the future that haven’t yet happened, believing God that they will. Count your blessings, but also stir up faith and hope for your future. Do this with your children too!

Put Pride on The Shelf

Ask For Help

The holidays are no time for pride. It’s okay to need help. You can do this on your own, but you don’t have to. Enlist the help of family, friends, your church, your work community, your neighbors…

You don’t have to do it alone.