The Holidays are Coming… whether you’re ready or not!!
It’s a joyful time for gathering with family and friends. A time for eating delicious food, saying yes to all those mouth-watering cookies, delectable desserts, and even sipping a festive cocktail or two, or…
It’s time to cozy up (in some warm PJ’s and your new fuzzy Christmas socks from Walmart) by a roaring fire with a cup of Hot Cocoa and watch the Hallmark Channel Holiday Specials, or…replay your favorite movies like- It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf and Love Actually for the gazillionth time.
It’s easy to believe in the Magic of the Season, to see the Good in Everyone among all the pretty twinkling lights and familiar Holiday Hymns. It is a time when we give generously and graciously receive.
And It May Be The Absolutely Worst Time Of The Year For You.
Yep, if you are recently divorced or navigating your way through the trenches of one I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this isn’t gonna be your year.
Nope. No Holiday Cheer For You!!!
Sure you can try to fake it maybe even add a shot of the Strong-Stuff to your Hot Cocoa (or just skip the Hot Cocoa)…
But the good news is, Next Year Will Probably Be Much Better!!!
Believe me… I’ve been there.
Like many of you, the Holiday’s are My Favorite time of the year. It is the time when I can ignore all the dark, nitty-gritty negatives of our ho-hum daily reality and simply focus on everything Merry and Bright, the joyous holiday music (I’ve almost memorized all the lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), and joyously celebrate everything that is good in our lives and our world!!!
Oh, Holy Night!!! Zuzu’s PETALS!!!!!
However, the couple of years surrounding my divorce were the darkest most depressing holidays I ever experienced. I wish I could sugar coat it, but I can’t.
In fact, I wish I knew ahead of time they were going to suck because maybe I could have been prepared.
So, my advice to you is to keep your expectations realistic.
Be prepared for emotional pain, sadness, and depression.
And hopefully, find some subtle moments of joy, peace, and happiness wherever & whenever you can and remember next year will be better.
It is best to face the Holidays with a plan.
So, here are some helpful ideas.
4 Musts and 1 Mustn’t To Help You Survive The Holidays Post Divorce
1. Take Care of Yourself.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, cause if you can help yourself deal with the challenges you are bound to face this holiday, then you will be better able to help support those you love (like your kids) get through a time which is bound to be difficult for them too.
- Get counseling
- Journaling- write out your thoughts and feelings
- Workout or do yoga to help reduce stress
- Pamper yourself
- Take quiet time for prayer or meditation
- ____________________ (fill-in-the-blank with what works for you!!)
2. Make new Traditions.
This is a time of change, so take this opportunity to create some new traditions for you and your kids or relatives. Think outside the box, have a brainstorming session with your kids… what ideas do they have?!?
- What traditions do you want to keep or toss
- What are some exciting and fun traditions you want to add to your holidays
- This is a fresh start, embrace the possibilities
3. Think of Others
Remember the Reason For The Season is to spread Cheer. Sometimes it helps us the most when we take the focus off ourselves and focus on helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
4. Have Reasonable Expectations.
Chalk this Holiday up to an experience. Hopefully, a learning experience that will help you to deal better with similar challenges in the future.
5. Try Not To Get Remarried!!!
Take it from me there is no quick fix or shortcut to avoid the uncomfortable pain of these first “Post-D” Holidays.
In fact, for some very silly, naive, actually quite stupid reason I thought it would be a really good idea if I got remarried during the first Holiday following my divorce
I had always devoted myself to making the holidays a magical, wonderland full of sugar plums and fairy-dust for my children.
The decorating, traditions, entertaining, homemade wrapping paper and the perfect family portrait Christmas card were a perfect blend of Martha Stewart and Norman Rockwell.
The kids and I added warm hats & mittens to the Giving Tree at Church and “adopted” a family in need– lovingly buying and wrapping special gifts for them!!
Yup, I made sure my family’s Holidays were directly out of a Currier and Ives Calendar…you get the idea.
And then my super thoughtful ex-husband actually insisted we sign our divorce agreement on Christmas Eve.
I was horrified his inconsiderate demand would forever now taint the kid’s memory of the Holidays.
Sooooo, the next year I was determined to make the first Post-D Christmas extra special for me and my kids.
Annnnnd, what better than to have a spectacularly festive Wedding and Family Honeymoon. Why not marry the guy I believed was gonna be our Knight in Shining Armour.
Why Not?!?! Because Life Ain’t A Hallmark Holiday Movie!!!
No matter how much you wish it may.
Yup, turns out… I wasn’t able to create a quick fix.
Nope, sometimes, you’ve just got to feel the uncomfortable pain and sadness because eventually you’re gonna have to face it all one way or another.
We can’t cry over all that spilled eggnog… however, we can learn from my mistakes.
(which unfortunately seems to be a theme of my articles!!!)
That being said.
If this is going to be a difficult, challenging Holiday Season for you.
Please know you are not alone. There are plenty of people dealing with the fall-out of all different kinds of painful situations this Holiday.
Remember, this year may suck.
But, it will be better next year and soon you will be enjoying
your BEST, MOST JOYOUS Holiday Season yet!