As Christmas draws near, excitement grows more and more as we look forward to gift-giving, time with family, and fun winter activities. A time for joy and gratitude, it’s no wonder that the holidays are eagerly awaited each year.

However, for some, the Christmas season can be stressful. Expectations for the holidays are high — for both kids and adults alike — and for many single parents, navigating the celebrations alongside work, school, or family responsibilities can feel more like survival.  Are you feeling overwhelmed with the weight of the holidays? Here’s a couple tips on how you can embrace the season without fear of breaking the bank.

1. Set a budget

Whether you have already set money aside or have created a specific budget for gifts, it’s important to stick to a financial plan. Though you may feel tempted to spend more money on exciting gifts, knowing what you can or can’t afford gives you the freedom to shop without worries of lasting consequences. Not sure how to make a budget? Check out free apps like Mint or EveryDollar that can help you get started.

2. Navigate expectations with kids

It’s important to set your kids up for success, and that means setting Christmas expectations early. For example, this could look like telling your kids to create a three-item list of their most wanted items, and then the rest of their list are things they need. You can also invite your kids into your holiday planning, letting them provide ideas for at-home or inexpensive activities that you can do together over winter break. For ideas, check out Altana Parent’s list of free activities you can do with your children in the city.

3. Check out helpful holiday resources

Want some assistance in making Christmas a special time for your kids? Luckily, there are several organizations dedicated to helping lower income families celebrate through providing gift and meal assistance. Santa’s Knights and USPS Operation Santa are nation-wide gift-assistance programs, and Lift Up Atlanta offers services like a Christmas toy drive, an adopt-a-child for Christmas program, and holiday meal baskets. For more help with meals, you can also check out food bank opportunities through organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Salvation Army.

At H.O.P.E. Inc., we want single parents to be able to enjoy the holidays for what they are — a time for family and fun — without fear of financial burden, especially for those trying to earn their degree and work at the same time. Through resources, financial assistance, and continued support, we come alongside our participants to help them succeed and thrive while achieving their goals.

Are you interested in learning more about H.O.P.E.’s program? Check out our website to learn how you can partner with us to empower and lift up single parents in our community!