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Children, Divorce, & the Holidays

Children, Divorce, & the Holidays

Surviving the Holidays While You’re Surviving Divorce

The divorce process is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. Add that to the stress of the holidays, and you meel feel completely overwhelmed. When the holiday season rolls around, you may wonder how you are supposed to celebrate when you have so much on your mind. As difficult as it may seem, it is possible to manage a divorce during the holidays, and still enjoy spending time with family and friends. You only need to employ a few tips to manage your divorce and still have fun during the holidays:

  1. Determine your priorities. A recent survey found that 4 out of 5 people want the holidays to be simpler. A divorce is a good time to simplify and make beneficial changes that make your life easier.You usually have moved to a smaller place, you may have less money, and you may have less time if you have gone back to work. You have an opportunity to do what many want to do, and cut back during the holidays. This is a way to make something positive from the changes in your life.
  2. Remember, it’s not about stuff! Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t try to buy love or loyalty. In a recent survey, many Americans are still paying off some part of holiday extravagance until November of the following year. Having less debt is another way to reduce stress. Give gifts of time and attention instead of expensive things. It will be good for you and good for your children.
  3. Be patient. Be patient with yourself, and with your family. You will want to grieve your losses, but don’t forget what you are really celebrating. Accept the tears and use this holiday season to make new memories.
  4. Plan ahead. Plan something that is fun and as stress free as possible with people you love most. If the you really feel as if the holidays are just too painful, you may consider a vacation that allows you to “escape ” the stress  of the holidays.
  5. Create new traditions. One good way to deal with feelings of loss is to start new rituals and traditions for the holidays. You may want to hold on to some of the past traditions, but  it is a good idea to create some new rituals with friends and family. Keep the traditions you want, but try some new things. Try finding creative new ways to share the season can enhance the real meaning of the holidays. Maybe if you don’t have the children on Christmas, have a tree-decorating party earlier in December, and make that that a new tradition. An added benefit might be to make the week of Christmas less hectic.
  6. Make sure you are acting in the best interests of the child. The holidays are especially important to children. Decide ahead of time how holidays will be celebrated, and reassure kids that you will be fine while they are with the other parent. Keep the arrangements as simple as possible, and try to let your children be as stress free as possible. Let your children know that holidays will be celebrated in a new way. Allow your children to help create some of the new holiday rituals and traditions. Take time to brainstorm with your children about new ideas for celebrating.

Be thankful for what you have. The holidays are truly about sharing, and being thankful. Spread the joy around, expand your list of people to welcome into your celebrations. Who knows, you could be encouraging others around the holidays by celebrating gracefully. Focus on being grateful for every good thing you have.