Divorce Rituals Can Help Your Kids Navigate the Holidays
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By Lois Tarter, Guest Author - December 18, 2013

Being divorced during the holidays can be really difficult for you and your children, especially during that first year after the divorce.  You have an obligation to help your kids move forward and deal with the fact that their parents just got divorced.  The holidays are a time that children want to be around their family.  It can take some time to get adjusted to not having their parents together.  You need to try to keep things comfortable for them as you navigate your ex and keep a peaceful and festive atmosphere around your home.  

Whether you’re getting along or not with your ex at this time, the interests of your kids comes first. They will want to see their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents on both sides as they have always done on the holidays.  So you need to communicate with your ex about making the time as stress free as possible – Christmas Eve with one parent, Christmas day with the other, etc. The goal is to make the holidays as smooth, fun and comfortable as possible for the kids. 

Below are six holiday divorce rituals that you can do with your children to help you all keep thinking positively:  

1. Show Your Children How to Give Back: I am sure you want to show your children how to make a difference.  Why not start by doing something for other people who are in need. I recommend spending a few hours volunteering at a local soup kitchen or senior center with your kids. You will be showing your children how to give back. 

2. Put up the Mistletoe: A great holiday divorce ritual is to hang mistletoe in your home. Every time you and your children pass underneath it, kiss each other. Feel proud that you made it through divorce as a family.  Spread holiday cheer and love!

3. Let Your Kids Cook the Holiday Meal: Letting your children cook the holiday meal can be the start of a festive tradition.  Obviously, you need to supervise.  Head to the grocery store and let your kids pick out what they want for the holiday dinner.  This ritual should entail healthy eating, which will teach your children how to cook the healthy way.  You are teaching them about cooking, responsibility and working as a family. 

4. Hang New Ornaments: If you have been divorced, it might be difficult for your children to hang the same ornaments they hung with you and your ex together.  You may want to go out with the kids and buy some new ornaments to hang with the old ones.  Or you could make them at home.  There are lots of great arts and crafts/ornament making ideas out there.  

5. Christmas Caroling: Make some holiday plans with your fellow divorcee’s and their children.  You and your kids should get together and do some old-fashioned Christmas caroling in your neighborhood.

6. Decorate Their Rooms: If your children have never decorated their rooms for the holidays, they should have fun doing it!  It is something that they can do every year to bring some excitement to the house. Let them pick decorations that they want to have in their room.  They will feel more comfortable at home during the holidays.        

For more fun and healing divorce rituals, pick up Lois Tarter’s new book "The Divorce Ritual: Get Up, Get Out and Get On With Your Life."

Make sure to keep up with the latest divorce news and helpful tips from Lois on her blog Your Divorce Day.  

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