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Ideas for gifts for Single Parents at Christmas

Single mom decorating christmas tree with child

We understand that Christmas time for a single parent can be challenging – both financially and emotionally.  But the desire is always to have a holiday that’s filled with love and meaning, and to take care that the children get excited, have fun, and create family tradition together.  We’ve made groups of ornaments for single parents and shown how to personalize them for Christmas with Mommy and Christmas with Daddy.

Here’s an article I found on the internet written by Christina Gregoire back in 2011.  Food for thought!

First of all, I want to say that single moms are not all the same. Some mothers don’t have much money, and they worry about what they’ll give their children for Christmas. These moms don’t care about opening presents for themselves. And, most women without financial problems just want to be included in people’s holiday plans because they’ve lost their support group of married friends.

Gifts for Single or Divorced Mothers With No Money

Most single moms don’t care very much about what presents they get; their gift is seeing their children’s eyes light up. However, holidays are generally awful for divorced moms. Few families can live up to the phony Madison Avenue hype. And, divorced families, even reconstituted-remarried step-families, have almost zero chance of ever feeling like a Norman Rockwell painting.

So, as much as I dislike the idea of gift cards, money and gift cards are perfect for financially-strapped single moms. But, here’s the kicker: You should give the gift card before Christmas, not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

If you are a grandma, a guy dating a single mom, or a coworker of a financially struggling mom, ask your friend what she needs to make her holiday less of a burden. Most of the following gifts will be appreciated more if you give them a few weeks before Christmas, and you should tell the mom that she can use the card right away if she wants:

  •  If the mom has little kids, consider a gift card for Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, or Give her this card before Christmas, so she can buy presents for her kids.
  • Gift Card for Clothes: If the mom has teen or tween girls, give her an early gift card for Macy’s, Nordstrom, Claire’s (for younger girls), Zappos, or Amazon.
  • Try to find out what her boys like. Some boys like outdoor equipment from places like REI or Cabela’s. Other guys are into tech toys, so something like a gift card for Best Buy or Amazon might be good.
  • Gift Wrap: If you want to be thoughtful, give gift-wrap along with a pre-Christmas gift card. Wrapping paper is expensive when someone is scrimping, but it adds to the charm of the holiday.
  • Christmas Tree: Before buying your friend a tree, ask her if she already has one and if that would be a good gift. I like real trees, but consider a fake tree. Then, if you are a real friend, you could help her decorate the tree by making salt-dough ornaments and stringing cranberries (or popcorn) with her and her kids.
  • Gift Card for Food: Even people with a decent income are noticing increases in food prices. So, imagine what it must be like trying to feed kids on a meager income. Sure, her kids might be getting school lunches and the family might qualify for food stamps, but when you don’t have a ton of money for groceries, it’s really nice to have a full refrigerator.

Single Moms With Money for Presents

You have two ways you can go with this. You can give a gift that’s for the single mom’s whole family or you can give a gift that’s just for your friend.

Sometimes it’s easier to come up with something that a whole family will love.

  • Gift Passes for Movie Theaters: Find out what movie chains are near your friend’s home. Big chains include Cinemark and AMC, but you might have a local favorite.
  • Netflix Gift Card: Get this for the longest time you can afford because Netflix is addictive. Make sure that the family has a TV and a DVD player or something like a Roku Netflix Box to facilitate downloading.
  • Tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet: Feel this one out, but my girls loved the Nutcracker every year when they were young.
  • Old-Fashioned Board Games:
  • Gift Baskets: Gift-of-the-month companies have yummy presents in all price ranges.

Another cool idea is to give the family an annual pass to a zoo or museum.

Christmas is a difficult time for single moms and I’m not talking about money. If you are going caroling, driving around to see Christmas lights, or baking cookies, invite your friend. Any social activity (especially if kids are involved) will help your pal feel less excluded around the holidays. Ask your friend if she wants to come along. She may say, “No,” because she’s too tired, but you should ask, just to let her know that you are thinking of her.

If you want a gift that can be wrapped, here are some ideas:

  • Gift Card for a Spa
  • Baby-Sitting: Print out your own certificate for several nights of sitting. Only do this if you know you’ll be able to follow through.
  • Cute Cashmere Hat or Scarf: Give this with a gift receipt in case she prefers a different color or style.
  • Homemade Sugar Cookies

Another idea, if you have enough time, is to take your friend’s children shopping and have them pick out inexpensive items to fill a gift basket for their mom. Help the kids wrap this and help them make cards. If that’s too expensive, make fudge or cookies with them. Mom will be overwhelmed with the time and thoughtfulness of your gift.

Some of these Christmas presents can be a bit expensive, so you might want to get the whole office or the entire family to chip in for a group gift.