Divorce creates a rough period in your life whenever it happens, but it can be even worse during the holidays. When you’re going through a divorce, you can be in anything but a holiday mood. The last thing you may feel like doing, or even feel capable of doing, is working with your former love to get through this season harmoniously.
Still, the seasons are important for any family, even ones changing while going through a divorce. Holiday traditions still mean a lot, regardless of religion or of your particular customs during the holiday season. Even when you’re going through a divorce, holiday traditions provide the opportunity to create meaningful and cherished lifetime memories as you spend quality time with your family.
Compromising and staying positive during the holiday season is challenging when you are going through a divorce, but the effort can pay off. These are some suggestions for men for making the most out of the holiday season when you are going through a divorce.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #1 – Communicate with Your Ex
This is a toughie, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to avoid misunderstandings and keep the peace while still having the chance to do special holiday activities with your children. You don’t need to have hours-long, heart-to-heart talks with your ex, but you do need to be open. Make your plans early to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, and discuss schedule arrangements clearly.
Coordinate gift giving to avoid confusing the children. Finally, be flexible with the other parent. As hard as it may be to believe, the other parent likely also is trying hard, and is also putting the interests of the children first.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #2 – Tell Holiday Stories
Try telling the stories of the holidays, such as the history of Thanksgiving and the story of Hanukah or Christmas.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #3 – Make Family Memories
Your family is changing, but it is not ending. You are still creating family memories all the time. For the holidays, make some great memories on a budget. For example, if you celebrate Christmas, get your children to help you put up the Christmas decorations after you eat Thanksgiving dinner. Go to a Christmas tree lot or wander the downtown streets if they are decorated for the holidays.
On Christmas, you can start a tradition such as making a living room fort and watching your favorite holiday movie with the children, or making a special Christmas breakfast. Make snow angels, if the weather’s right, or take older children ice skating. You can also make Christmas cookies to share with the neighbors or decorate a gingerbread house to brighten your own home.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #4 – Keep in Touch
If you don’t have custody of your children during the holidays, send them a fun card and some pictures, and call them to wish them happy holidays and that you love them. You may not feel like this is a lot, but the children will remember it.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #5 – Use Your Free Time Positively
Hard as it may be to remember, you do have other interests outside of the exact family that you used to have before the divorce. Use your free time to do something you enjoy, such as seeing a movie, hanging out with other single parents, and going Black Friday shopping. You can also make plans for what you will do with your children next time you see them, whether it is for a holiday or just a regular day.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #6 – Consider a Pet
If you’re willing to take care of one, a furry friend can be an excellent idea. It may give the kids something to take their mind off of the chaos. Pets also provide infinite, unconditional love and gives you something to take care of and shop for. Younger kids will likely be just as happy with a beta fish as they would a cat or dog.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #7 – Give Back
The holidays are about giving back, and doing good for others can brighten your mood in ways that nothing else can. Put in some official volunteer time by serving meals at a homeless shelter or collecting donations for a cause you love. You can also bake Christmas cookies for your neighbors or ask elderly neighbors if you can help with chores and errands such as cooking the Christmas dinner or cleaning the house.
Holiday Season Divorce Tip #8 – Build a Support Network
No matter how you handle, divorce is hard during the holidays. A support network can help hold you up. Make sure you know whom you can talk to and hang out with, whether that is a friend, your parents or siblings, a coworker, a church leader or member, or a support group or counselor.
Tough as divorce is on you, it’s important to always put the children first. You can do this during the holiday season by keeping the lines of communication open and civil and seizing upon the positive memories you can make. If you need help with your divorce during the holiday season, call Wall & Wall, P.C.