The holidays can be very difficult after a divorce. Thinking of past traditions and listening to songs about togetherness may remind you of earlier years and can make you feel isolated or separated from loved ones. For your own sake, and the sake of your family, however, it’s important that you strive to make the holidays work with, or without, your ex so you can all enjoy the season of love and warmth. Here are a few tips on how to make the holidays merry and bright post-divorce:
If you and your ex will be getting separate gifts for your kids or loved ones, it can be easy to get carried away in trying to out gift each other. But, if your children sense a competitive spirit and hostility coming from either of you, it can make things even more painful for them. The holidays should be about love, warmth, and family for your children, not which parent buys the most gifts. Instead, speak with your ex about spending limits, or possibly giving gifts as a team. Then, let your children decide where their gifts will live after they open them. This can foster a more team-based approach to the holidays and ease the transition for yourselves and your children.
Create new traditions
If some traditions have painful memories attached to them, start new ones that bring in more holiday cheer! Consider getting outside for some seasonal activities, which has been shown to reduce stress, no matter what kind of climate you live in. A walk in the woods, a snowball fight, or family 5k can bring you closer with nature and serve as a new holiday tradition with the family. Or, try introducing a new meal inspired by the season to gather your loved ones close. A warm fondue or potluck can be a different, interactive way to celebrate the time with those closest to you.
Communicate with your ex ahead of time
Communication may not be easy if things didn’t end well with your ex, but if you’re planning to celebrate the holidays together with your kids, you must bury the hatchet well ahead of time. The stress of the holidays will only add tension to your relationship and can trigger fights at any point. Instead, relieve some of the pressure by meeting together privately days in advance to set limits and expectations. Then, by the time the holidays roll around, you’re able to enjoy the celebrations as a group.
Look after yourself
During this time, painful memories may make it easy to fall into a feeling of loneliness and sorrow. You won’t be able to be present when you’re with your loved ones, however, if you’re not feeling your best. Therefore, it’s important to treat yourself this holiday season to ensure that you’re well-taken care of, too. Use this time to address your own confidence and happiness. Gift yourself treatments for anything that’s been causing you insecurities, whether it’s something for your physical appearance, like one of the many aids to stop hair loss or products to straighten your smile, or something that can support your emotional health like a to-do journal that eases anxiety. Whichever treatment you choose, be sure it’s one that will help you feel confident and excited to enter the holiday season and new year.
During this holiday season, be sure to prioritize you and your family’s health and happiness. Use the holidays as a time to get closer to those who mean most in your life instead of focusing on the negativity so you can all enjoy the time together! Happy holidays!