‘Tis the season to be jolly…Fa- la- la- la- la, la- la- la- la…
It is official. The Holiday season is here! All over the world people are excited about Christmas and all that it brings. Families gather, prepare family recipes, exchange gifts, and much, much more. We may not all celebrate the same, but we all have our own unique set of holiday family traditions.
Tradition meets change…
As we all know, from year to year, not much changes with our family traditions but sometimes there can be changes in our family. One major change that families can be faced with is the Big “D.” Yes, you guessed it, Divorce.
As a divorcee, I know first hand that prior to divorce, most things were ALWAYS done a certain way as a family, and especially around the holidays. Now days, everything can seem so drastically different. You have parenting schedules, separate Christmas trees, and small elephants in the room when visiting family and those you still see and love as “family.” It can somehow start to feel as if it’s no longer “the most wonderful time of the year.” But there is hope… And there’s not a better time to hope than during the holiday season.
How do you get started?
Well, first you must take off that Bah Humbug sweatshirt, and start planning how you can make more positive memories and create NEW family traditions. Trust me, it can be done and your family is worth it! It doesn’t have to be hard. You can start by writing down ideas and customizing them to fit your new family setting and the new schedules that have come along too. So, whether you have always been creative and a master planner, or have never been good at either, YOU’RE UP!
Starting right in your home, it’s time to mix things up a bit! It will be just the beginning of a new outlook for you and your family.
A few steps to help…
Here are just a few of my personal ideas that may help jump start your planning. Remember to create and customize.
1. Don’t get rid of all. Hold on to some of the traditions that you love. Call a family meeting with your children and/or new spouse and have each person write down or share what has been most important to them individually, during the past holidays, which you can still incorporate. Be sure to try and keep a little of everyone’s favorites.
2. Plan a special Holi-date. If you have children, this should be all about them and should be uninterrupted time. Whether this is an outing or at home, make it a big deal. Make your own invitations, have a theme, attire, etc. Make sure you know their favorites (restaurants/theaters) or if at home, (food, music, movies, etc) This does not have to be expensive. It’s about quality time and effort. This date will also help when its time to split holiday time with the other parent. You will feel a little more content, not as much like you are missing out. Therefore, also try to schedule it a day or so prior to the holiday parenting schedule.
3. Create and take suggestions for new traditions. You never know until you try or ask! We as parents try to “fix” things, but sometimes just from “our” perspective. Maybe there are some things you have always wanted to try or some things others in the family would like to see or see change. ASK! Perhaps you prefer clear lights on the tree, but assumed the kids wouldn’t like it. Simply asking or talking it over could turn the old traditional tree into a new family classic! Go out and catch the newest Christmas movie instead of only watching the old classics at home. Bake cookies instead of a pie. Create and make some changes. You get the picture!
You are on your way!
Though these ideas barely scratch the surface, I hope some of them can help to make divorce and the holiday season work in the most positive way possible, for you and your family. It will take some time for things to seem “normal” again, since some changes are inevitable. However, it’s the perfect time to create new memories and put new traditions in place. I have truly enjoyed tweaking things to help bring holiday “joy” back to my family. If you can simply mix a little old and a little new together, starting now, I believe you will see that things won’t just get better during the holidays, but your new traditions will build a stronger family all year round!
Happiest of Holidays to You and Yours!