Holidays often bring to us thoughts of presents, tasty treats, and time with family. For a recently divorced family, however, it can seem hard to partake in the holiday cheer, and instead the holiday season can stir up emotions of anxiety, stress and worry. There are ways, however, to make the most of this holiday season with your newly restructured, post-divorce family.
Keep in mind that the holiday dates are more important to adults than children. Don’t get caught up in thinking that only the “actual day” can be celebrated. Celebrating holiday time with your loved ones can be special any day of the week. For children, opening presents on December 23rd or even December 30th is just as exciting as Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Your children are likely to reflect back your feelings and actions, so if you are excited about spending time with them, whatever the day, your kids are likely to share in that same excitement. You may think that you are losing out by not having your children on the actual Christmas Day/Christmas Eve, but your children are likely to view this new arrangement as being able to have two Christmases instead of just one.
Focus on What You Can Control and Do Not Dwell on Things Beyond Your Control
Whatever your parenting plan, you can always make your holiday time with your kids memorable and magical. Schedule your holiday plans around your parenting plan, particularly when there is the potential for conflict. Sticking to the schedule will provide consistency for the children so they learn what to expect and not be disappointed, and decrease the likelihood of any conflict during the holidays. Choose to focus on enjoying the time you have with your children instead of stressing over the time you will be away from them.
Create New Family Traditions
Sometimes engaging in your old family traditions can trigger feelings of loss. Instead, try something new and create new traditions. Perhaps serving meals to the homeless or driving around to look at all the Christmas lights, or baking cookies to gift to the neighbors can create some new family memories and activities.
If part of your holiday involves the children being with their other parent, then use the time your children are away from you to recharge. If you know you might be feeling sad spending your first holiday season without your children, keep yourself busy. Whatever you do, try to stick with the activities you will look forward to doing.
You do not have to turn into the Grinch, the holidays can still be peaceful and enjoyable for you. Stick to your parenting agreement, enjoy your time with the kids (no matter what day), create your new traditions, and your heart may grow three sizes this season 😊
If you have questions about your parenting agreement or co-parenting over the holidays after divorce, we can help. Contact us to talk with an attorney and set up your initial consultation.