The holidays are here. It is a time for joy and gratitude, a time for sharing and spending time with family. But for couples contemplating or going through a divorce, the holidays can be downright depressing.
Instead of love and caring, there is animosity. Instead of togetherness, there is loneliness. Many couples who are parting would prefer to hibernate over the holidays and resurface sometime in January.
Nonetheless, there are ways to manage the holidays even if you are separating or divorcing, and there is even the chance that you will find some enjoyment. The tips below will help.
#1 Embrace the holiday spirit in a new way
Holiday time undoubtedly brings forth many family traditions. When you are going through a split, you are reminded more than ever of the traditions you shared as a couple and intact family. Instead of lamenting the past, it is time to try something new.
Start a new tradition, preferably something that you have not done before. Maybe even escape to new locale. A change of scenery can put new excitement into the holidays and remove you from reminders of the past.
#2 Be the odd man (or woman) out
When ending a relationship, people sometimes become reclusive, fearing to go out with other couples they may have befriended during their marriage. Truth be known, some former friends may shun the newly single not out of dislike, but out of fear of being disloyal to one party or the other.
However, there are couples that will embrace the newly single, and there is nothing wrong with spending time with accepting friends, especially during the holidays. In fact, couples are usually eager to set up their single friends, and they may even be the key to a new special someone.
#3 Put your kids first
Your relationship may be ugly right now, but your kids are only kids once and should not be part of the ugliness. All too often, parties take out their bad feelings toward one another by using the children and denying the other party time with the kids as a form of punishment. This is never the right behavior, but it is even more egregious during the holidays.
Think about the holidays from your kids’ perspective. For the most part, it is important that they enjoy time with both mom and dad, as well as with extended families on both sides. Kids are happy to have more than one celebration. They can have two Thanksgiving meals and Santa can visit two homes. Seeing your kids smile during the holidays will undoubtedly make you smile as well.
#4 Remember the true meaning of the holidays
The holidays are about giving, and giving can be tough when money is tight or the support check is not arriving on time. To temper this reality, it is important to consider the true meaning of the holidays.
Giving can be done in ways that are not financial. And sometimes gifts that come from the heart and not just the pocketbook are the most meaningful of all.
#5 Don’t be a Grinch
It is true that divorce can be devastating. It is the end of something that was once very special. And if you find yourself alone during the holidays, it is easy to be a Grinch. However, a negative attitude will not help anyone, especially you.
Seek out friends and family. Attend the holiday party even though you would rather sit home in your pajamas. You never know whom you will meet at these functions. And even if you don’t meet anyone, you will certainly feel better about yourself and your situation by spending time with those who care about you.
The holidays do not last forever, and January will be here quickly. Don’t waste the season feeling sorry for yourself or making things unpleasant for your kids or ex-spouse. Try to find joy in making new traditions and celebrating with friends. You just might surprise yourself and have some fun.