Holidays after a divorce are never the same as they were before. Your world, your children’s world, and your ex’s world is now different. Nonetheless, you and your family can still have happy holidays with a change of mindset and a few common-sense guidelines.
Enjoy Your Time Together
The traditions can remain, and some families may get together, even after a divorce, to share significant holidays. Ask yourself if it is possible to have holidays that are peaceful and enjoyable with your ex present. If you can, this approach will contribute to a sense of security and normalcy for your children. Perhaps the key is having holiday activities together that take the focus off of you and your ex. Maybe it’s easier to get along in a larger social setting. If so, invite more guests over.
Of course, if being with your ex during the holiday means a lot of stress and arguing, don’t feel guilty about spending the holiday apart. Everyone will enjoy the holidays more if you can avoid drama.
Enjoy Your Time Apart
Almost certainly, the other parent will spend some of the holidays or some portion of the holidays with the children, which means you won’t have that time. You owe it to yourself and to the children to enjoy your time apart.
Post-divorce, children are often torn between parents during the holidays. That sense of guilt may leave them feeling unhappy and stressed out. Let them know you will be fine and that they should not feel bad that you are alone or without them. Celebrate your holiday with friends, or go away on vacation.
Make Space For Your Children To Tell You What They Want
Throughout the divorce process, listening to your children about their feelings and needs is a crucial part of a healthy transition to post-divorce life. This is true of planning your holidays as well. Ask your children what would make their holidays enjoyable for them. Their answers may surprise you. Do they want to invite their friends over? Are they looking forward to certain traditions? Are they dreading other ones? Making small concessions, where possible, can give children a sense of power and security that will make them more excited for the holidays, even if they aren’t the same as they once were.