Going through a divorce has its inherent challenges at any time of the year. However, it can be especially difficult during the holiday season. Since there is so much family togetherness with gatherings and parties, the change in the family dynamic may be felt the strongest during the holidays, and the first post-divorce holiday season can be hard on all members of the family. Follow these tips to make things a bit easier on you and your kids.
Prioritize Self-Care During the Holidays
Although you may be focused on making sure your children have the best possible holiday season, it’s also important to shine a spotlight on yourself. You need to prioritize your own self-care. As the saying goes on airplanes, put the oxygen mask on yourself first. That way, you are well and healthy enough to give your all to your kids.
Whether it’s taking a spa day, going to regular therapy appointments, taking time to meditate, a combination of all these things, or something else entirely, take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to cry when you’re alone or otherwise let yourself experience the changes that will make the holidays feel different after a divorce.
Start New Traditions with Your Children
One of the things that may make you and your kids the saddest during the holiday season is the loss of the way things used to be at that time of year. Kids may remember outings with both parents and long for that togetherness. You may remember playing Santa with your ex on Christmas Eve. You can counter the blues by starting new, fun things that you can continue each year. New traditions can be even better than the old ones, and they can certainly get your mind off the way things were.
Think about things that you refrained from doing because of your ex’s preferences. Trying them may feel liberating. For example, if your ex didn’t like fake trees, maybe live it up by putting out a realistic looking, plastic tree. If you and your ex always got together to take the children to pick out a tree, don’t try to replicate that experience. Instead, start a new tradition.
Go to a new place to pick out the Christmas tree or surprise your children with a decorated tree. If your kids want to pick out one themselves, you can always go for a second tree. Talk about the start of new traditions and why you think that’s important. That way, you and your kids will be on the same page when it comes to make the most of the holidays after a divorce.
Remember that Holidays Can Be Celebrated on Any Date
Since custody negotiations may mean that you miss Thanksgiving or Christmas with your kids, don’t despair. You can still celebrate any holiday with your children even if you don’t happen to be with them on the fourth Thursday of November or December 25.
Christmas can be just as much fun when Santa comes early, and you can have a feast any day of the year and call it “Thanksgiving”. While it may be disheartening to miss that special date with your children, reassure them that they still get to enjoy it with you. Kids can even get excited at the thought of having two holidays instead of one.
Make Plans For When Your Ex Has the Kids
The holidays are supposed to be joyous, but they can be anything but if you find yourself all alone while your ex has the kids. Because the holidays can be busy, you may not be able to expect people to drop everything and see you when you get down. Therefore, anticipate your needs and plan ahead to be surrounded by friends and family members when your kids will be celebrating the holidays with your ex.
Finally, keep in mind that the holiday season need not be a sad one. The changes that are inevitable can ultimately be in every family member’s best interests. If you are considering a divorce, contact the caring attorneys at the Lowry Law Firm to discuss your case. You are not alone, and a divorce lawyer can help safeguard your own best interests throughout the divorce.