holiday divorce

Surviving the Holidays After a Divorce

There are a lot of changes that come along with a divorce and the holidays can really highlight the losses and inconveniences that have settled into your family dynamic. You can reduce stress and enjoy the spirit of the season by following a few tips.

Make a Family Plan

One of the hardest things about a divorce, both for the parents and the children, is not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. Making a plan for the holidays ahead of time, and sharing it with your family, will reduce anxiety and give everyone something to look forward to. Consider everyone’s input and give equal time to the traditions of each side of your family. When your children will be spending time away from you, keep yourself busy with family and friends so you won’t be too lonely. Be sure to schedule time for rest and relaxation, so you or your family members don’t get too stressed out. Allow yourself to enjoy the time of year and your family will follow suit.

Start New Traditions

Everything’s not going to be the same as it was before, and that’s going to be painful. You can ease the tension and infuse happiness into your holidays though, by starting some new traditions. Ask your kids what kinds of traditions they would like to start and then pick a few to try out. Some creative holiday tradition ideas include:

  • Host a gingerbread house making party.
  • Make advent calendars.
  • Choose a family to do “Sub for Santa” or “The 12 Days of Christmas” for.
  • Have a Christmas movie marathon night, complete with treats.
  • Go carolling or take a carriage ride.
  • Make a list and do your holiday shopping together.
  • Find ways to get involved with community charity events.

Just pick one or two new traditions this year. Remember to focus on relaxing and keeping things stress-free as well.

Check Your Expectations

When things don’t turn out as expected, it’s easy to get frustrated, especially after a divorce. You may feel like you have no control and that you’re having to compromise unfairly. These feelings can be amplified during the busyness of the holiday season. Instead of feeling picked on when plans are derailed and allowing the circumstances to make you feel depressed, try and roll with the punches and enjoy the season anyway. It doesn’t matter how functional a family is, there are going to be road bumps in holiday plans, so accept them as part of the process, and move on with an optimistic attitude.