Surviving (and enjoying) the holidays after divorce
Holidays are stressful. Married or divorced, surviving the holidays can be challenging. If you’re facing the holidays as a divorced parent this year, we have 3 easy-to-follow ideas that will benefit you and your children.
- Create new traditions – I know this seems to be the obvious and possibly most over-shared and resisted advice, but take it! You never liked the movie “A Christmas Story” that your ex insisted on watching every year? Don’t watch it! You have always wanted to check out the Christmas Eve service at a local church? Go! People may advise you that you will want to keep some traditions for the children, and this is true, but children are resilient. Your children will likely enjoy the new traditions as much as you, and I can guarantee they would rather see you happy during the holidays than crying through another miserable viewing of “A Christmas Story”.
- Gift mindfully – The holidays are a wonderful time to be generous and giving. Remember to be conscious to not overcompensate on purchasing gifts for the children due to post-divorce guilt or a competitive ex. If your ex buys the kids bikes, new phones, and a luxury vacation, great for the kids. Do you look back on your childhood and remember which parent or relative gave you the biggest and best Christmas gift? Probably not. By January, the excitement of the presents will have faded and that huge credit card bill will just be waiting. Even if you can afford to compete with your ex-spouse’s excessive gift giving, think long and hard about what, if any, benefit it is to your children. Remember- to most children, two Christmases are better than just one any way!
- Choose happiness and enjoy! – The holidays will fly by so fast as they always do. I am not suggesting that you pretend everything is okay when you miss having your kids with you the entire Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. I am not telling you it will be easy to see all the happy families at the mall and you will not feel gloomy and slightly envious (hint – online shopping). Allow yourself to be sad and then enjoy. Remember last Christmas when you were married and all you wanted was to go to the store and wrap presents in peace alone? Now you can. The kids will likely be splitting time between you and the other parent – so enjoy that time to go to the store solo, don’t worry about rushing home to make dinner for anyone but yourself, bake cookies for Santa and eat half of them, sneak out for a night with friends and that adult-only holiday party you missed last year because you didn’t have a sitter.
Despite how grim your circumstances may appear this holiday season, you have the ability to choose joy and happiness. It may be more difficult than it has been in past years, but it can be done. Choosing happiness will become easier and more natural every holiday season as time passes.
Written by: Darby R. Long of The Lincoln Law Firm, PLLCShare This