A divorce is something that often takes a long time for people to cope with and get over. It affects the couple as well as any children involved. If you are currently going through a divorce you should read What Not To Say To Children During A Divorce or Things To Say To Your Child During A Divorce. Christmas can be an even harder time to get through after a divorce. You can still celebrate Christmas after a divorce; it just might be a little harder. As a child of divorce Christmas was a hard holiday to get through, but I will go over things that helped me and my family get through it.
1. Be honest with everyone
My parents got divorced in December. I still remember going to the different family functions and having to lie to people when they would ask where the other parent was. My mom wasn’t feeling well when we went to my dad’s family get together and vice versa. This was very difficult as a child. I still don’t understand why my parents made us be a part of this and why they were just not honest with everyone so we did not have to put up a front for everyone.
2. Discuss gifts with your ex
Even if you can’t agree on everything it is a good idea to discuss with each other what gifts each of you intend to get the children. It might be the idea that getting the children multiple gifts is a great idea, but in the years to come it only makes the child expect these things. Overcompensating for being divorced does not help you or the children. Discussing what gifts will be given is a great way to make sure that one parent is not trying to win the kids over by buying their love.
3. Don’t bash the other
Our first Christmas as a broken family was much worse than it should have been because of the constant bashing by one parent. It was really hard to celebrate Christmas when there were so many negative words being thrown around the house at all times.
4. Plan celebrations ahead
If your children are old enough you can get them involved in deciding how they want to celebrate Christmas. Discussing this with you ex ahead of time and planning who will have the children is a easy way to plan and have less confusion during the holiday.
5. Continue traditions if possible
If you have any family traditions it is a great idea to try and stick to those traditions. The familiar event might be a little different with one of the parents missing, but your children will really appreciate the effort of keeping something familiar alive.
6. Sending Cards
If you generally send an annual Christmas card remember that it is okay to not send one if you don’t feel up to it. You are not required by law to send one and if it will make you depressed or sad then just skip it.
7. Create new traditions
Starting new traditions will give you and your children something new to look forward and will help your child see that everything is going to be okay and that it is okay to move on. Some traditions you can start are to go to a tree farm, go caroling or volunteer and serve the needy.
8. Help your children
Just because you no longer love your ex does not mean that your children do not. If you normally help your child get a gift for the other parent continue to do so. This might be a little painful or aggravating for you, but will mean a great deal to your child. They need reassurance that it is okay for them to love the other parent and you helping them get a gift is one way to do that.
9. Find other single parents
If you are going to be alone on Christmas one way to survive the day is to find other single parents that are also going to be alone and plan a day with them. If you can’t find another person to plan a day with you can volunteer at a local event to feed the needy. Sitting at home lonely will not do anyone any good.
10. Be thankful
Remember not to get caught up in all of the hate and bitterness that can sometimes come along with a divorce and be thankful for the things that you do have. It might be hard to do, but if you focus on the good things that you do have it will make it much easier to get through the holiday.
These are my ten tips for surviving Christmas after a divorce. Christmas can be a great time of joy and happiness even if it does take a few years to figure out what will work best for your family.
Sources: Self Experience
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