Ways to enjoy the holiday season even when divorced

Here is an update of an article I originally wrote several years ago about holidays for the divorced.

  1. Keep the focus on your children – The bottom line, whether you’re married or divorced, is that being able to experience the Holiday Season through a child’s eyes is one of the best ways to really enjoy this time. And if you are focused on how to give them a fun Holiday Season, you will be less focused on the things that have changed or are missing. Think about ways you can create special times with your children, even if you don’t see them as often, and then really be present with them when you spend these times together.Below are examples of things you can do with your children to help enjoy the Holidays as well as potentially establish new traditions:
    • Read favorite, or newly favorite, Holiday books with them. There are few things that most children love more than their parents reading to them.
    • Find a local neighborhood that really goes over the top with the lights and decorations and walk it with your kids. A thermos of hot chocolate makes it even more of a fun event.
    • Come up with presents that you can make with your children. Pinterest and other online sources have great ideas of relatively simple, homemade presents that people love making and receiving.
    • See whether there’s a tree lot where you can cut down your own tree nearby – then make an afternoon of picking out and cutting down your tree.
  2. Be flexible with how and when you celebrate the holidays – new parenting schedules and only having the children for certain dates can make the holidays even more stressful. So be flexible with how and when you celebrate rather than fixating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For example, make a big event of going out and going shopping with your kids, picking out your Christmas tree or doing some other holiday activity that doesn’t necessarily have to be on a specific date. Or even celebrate Christmas on the morning of the 24th if you don’t have your children on the 25th – believe me, children will have a great time celebrating two Christmases.
  3. Let the little things slide – getting into a big argument with your ex, or soon to be ex, is definitely not going to help get you in the Holiday Spirit so do yourself and your children a favor and try to let some things roll off your back. This is easier said than done, but coming up with a specific schedule ahead of time or even employing the services of a mediator to help you do this will help minimize the ambiguity and therefore the level of conflict.
  4. Don’t over-commit – of course, this is good advice for all of us whether we’re divorced or not, but it’s even more important when you’re dealing with a divorce or trying to restructure your Holidays. Spend some time thinking about what is really important to you and your children and what creates, rather than detracting from, a positive Holiday experience. Then really focus on these things and don’t worry about trying to do everything.

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