The aftershock of divorce is perhaps never so apparent as it is during the holidays. After all, your family celebrated holidays together – with traditions that you all loved. The holidays post-divorce are simply not the same, and it is important to recognize this going in. There are, however, things that you can do to help ensure that you and your children make the most of the holidays and to forge new traditions that suit your new circumstances. The magic of the holidays is not lost in a divorce, so do what you can to keep that magic alive for your children – and for yourself.
Formulate a Game Plan
The holidays are nearly upon us, and if you have not done so already, it is time to formulate a holiday game plan with your children – and with your ex. The more planning you put in ahead of time, the more confident you can be that your holiday season will be merry and bright. If you have an ironclad holiday schedule that was hammered out in your divorce and you and your ex are not on the kind of terms that lend themselves to compromise, work within that schedule. If you and your ex are amenable to working together, see if you can come up with a schedule that allows you both to maximize special time with your children over the holiday season.
Talk to Your Kids
As disappointed as you are to give up your holiday traditions, your children are almost certainly more disappointed. Talk to your children about what you are planning for the holidays and about when they will be spending time with you and when they will be spending time with their other parent. When you keep your children in the loop, you help them feel more comfortable with the new normal. Further, keep things light and festive – after all, it is the holidays.
The holidays are hectic, and no matter how carefully you plan, glitches are nearly inevitable. When you are making your plans, be specific, especially about pickup and drop-off times and locations with your ex. And because everyone is busy over the holidays, make sure that the plans you are making mesh with your extended family’s plans. For example, if you are planning on celebrating New Year’s with your children on the second, check with the relatives that you intend to ring in the new year with to make sure your plans gel.
Include Some Whimsy
It is the holidays, and your plans with your children do not have to be super serious. Be sure to include some whimsy, such as:
- Have a holiday picnic in front of the TV – while watching holiday favorites.
- Shop for some new holiday decorations with your kids.
- Take a silly holiday picture to share with family and friends.
- Have one of your holiday meals at your kids’ favorite restaurant.