So, what are your plans this Christmas? Rehema Talu Kodi, a single mother of four cannot remember the countless times she has been asked this question in the run up to \u2018the most wonderful time of the year\u2019. While we tend to think of Christmas as a big vacation day for everyone, many people will still be punching the clock. Hospitals, airlines, fuel stations, restaurants, movie theaters and call centres all have people who will be trudging to the office like any other day. For single parents like Rehema and anyone else who doesn\u2019t have a partner or a large extended family, the month of December can be even more daunting. Not being there to spend time with your children can make the parent and children feel sad, lonely, and even inadequate. You want to make Christmas perfect for the children, but you cannot give them what they crave the most\u2014Christmas with both mum and dad. It is even trickier for Rehema who will also be working on that day. \u201cI have no choice. I would have wanted to do something special with my children on Christmas, but the nature of my job requires me to work on that day,\u201d says Rehema who works at Safarilink Aviation, a domestic airline in Kenya. She has, however, prepared her children psychologically that she will make it up to them on New Year\u2019s day. \u201cI sat down with my children and explained to them why I will not be spending Christmas Day with them. I am glad that my children understand and are okay with it. I always spend as much time as I can with them whenever I am not working,\u201d she says. Frankline Kamau, whose wife died two years ago and is now a single father of two also admits the holidays can be the most difficult time of the year. \u201cEverywhere you look, you see happy married couples, and it doesn\u2019t help when the radio, TV, social media, the malls, you name it blare the tunes Have a Holly Jolly Christmas or I\u2019ll be Home for Christmas,\u201d he says. Also working this Christmas, Kamau says he will be sending his children to his mother\u2019s so they can have a feel of home and motherly love. Lewis Mwanzia, a parenting expert, agrees that with advertisers ramping-up their Christmas campaigns, we\u2019re subjected to images of perfect families enjoying perfect festive celebrations. As a single parent, Mwanzia says it\u2019s not surprising to feel twinges of anxiety. \u201cChristmas is sold commercially as \u2018family time\u2019 and if yours isn\u2019t a stereotypical set-up, it\u2019s not just the Christmas shopping that could be stressing you out,\u201d he says. So, how can single parents avoid the blues in the run up to Christmas, on Christmas Day and the holidays that follow? Crystal clear communication Mwanzia says if you have been having communication break-downs with your children\u2019s father or mother, now\u2019s the time to get it sorted. If there is a chance that you can be both present for your children on this day, it can serve as the Christmas for the children.\u00a0 \u201cDon\u2019t ask them who they want to spend Christmas day with. They will be crushed by the weight of indecision, guilt and worry that is not their burden. Unless your children are old enough to make sensible and stress-free choices, you make the decisions to ensure they have a happy and memorable day,\u201d he explains. Capture the moment Get some good photos of the day. Then frame one where everyone looks particularly happy and place it strategically in your home. It would be a constant reminder to your children and you that Christmas is still a fabulously fun day. Merry Christmas to me \u201cRemember it\u2019s your Christmas too,\u201d Mwanzia says. Use the day to chill out and relax a little. It\u2019s important for your children to see the day\u2019s not all about them.