Ahhhh, it’s that time of year again…
The stores are packed with busy shoppers.
Yards covered with inflatable Santas, snow globes, and other enlarged holiday favorites. Kids everywhere are making their holiday “wish lists” and parents are stressing about getting exactly what’s on them. Holidays are crazy, stressful and sometimes overwhelming. That time of year when even the easiest of tasks seem to cause us to lose our guts. I mean, have you been to Target pre-Christmas on a Sunday? Even the calmest of women have been known to lose their shit in aisle three. (Yes, I’m talking about me). So, if you are lucky enough to have a partner-in-crime to alleviate the pressure a bit, awesome! It’s always nice to share the undue stress of this time of year with your mate. Marriage is good that way! But what if you are divorced?
Can you imagine handling an entire holiday on your own? Can you even think about being alone on Christmas morning or not having your kids with you on the first night of Hanukkah? How about knowing a YEAR in advance that you will not be with your child for the upcoming Christmas Eve…a family tradition that you’ve spent together for the last 12 years? Thanksgiving will be spent with his side this year, not yours? Ugh. I’m actually tearing up, Y’all. Being divorced around the holidays can be one of the hardest things to handle. (I know, we asked for it, right? Well, some of us did. Others, not so much.) I have friends that never asked to be cheated on or left for another man. They never expected to be eating dinner on Christmas Eve alone at the Great Wall of China. Yikes. Nothing fun about divorce, people.
Not. One. Thing.
But with that said, I do have a few helpful hints for a happy holidays post divorce that I think might be beneficial…and that helps me get through this time of year. Even though it’s never easy, it can be better….ISH.
Ok, this sounds silly, but it’s an excellent tip! Prepare yourself for what’s coming, guys. If you know you’re not going to have your kiddos on Christmas next year because you chose to do alternating years for holidays…plan ahead! Get it? Make plans for YOU. Plan a trip to Europe with other divorced peeps….save all year and go! You will be sad, you will be lonely…and you must be prepared for the holidays post divorce. Or plan to spend the holiday with your family and friends to celebrate. I spent one year in Maui with my entire family when my boys were with my ex. Did I miss them? Hell yes! But I missed them way less on the beach in Hawaii! Ha. Do NOT sit home alone!
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever sit home alone and wallow in your self-pity. Get up and get out. I don’t give a rat’s patootie what you do just do something other than sit. Sitting is not good for you (or your tushie). Go take a yoga class or serve dinner to the homeless. (BONUS: This will also make you feel good) Or better yet…start a new hobby out of the house. But the holidays are not the time to binge The Sinner on Netflix (although it is fucking fantastic).
Plans (and custody arrangements) are made to be flexible if you and your ex are co-parenting and well-behaved. Listen, rules are made to be broken. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a holiday together if the kids are okay with it. I’m not saying you move in for the weekend…but who’s to say you can’t go over for Christmas dinner and leave after? I bet the kids would love it and it shows them that you are capable of acting like grown-ups, too. And if you have alternating years for holidays, there is no reason you can’t change it to splitting the DAY instead. Try sharing Christmas where one of you takes Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day. Hanukkah has 8 crazy nights! You take 4, your ex four. Get it? I really feel strongly that kids deserve to see both parents every year.
(And yes, I’m singing that in my best Tevye voice.)
Look, you will miss the usual traditions you had as a family. (Trust me, I get it.) But it’s your job to make new ones. Instead of having Christmas morning with all of you making hot chocolate and opening gifts, it’s time to change it up. Try doing something off-the-wall and entirely whacky! I took my kids to look at Christmas lights one year (we are Jewish) just because I could now that I was divorced. And I got a little tree and put blue and silver balls on it and a Star of David on top just because I could. It wasn’t to spite my ex…it was so we could have something different and unique in OUR house. They loved it and have since outgrown it (they are 14 & 16) but I loved seeing them smile.
Just Eat It.
Get that one thing (or three) that you have been craving all year. (or month) and enjoy it. Open a great bottle of wine and just indulge. You get a chance to BE ALONE! Don’t think of it as negative; flip it into a positive. You. Are. Alone. Wine and good food…maybe a nice bath. I bet there’s not a married woman that’s reading this that doesn’t wish she could have one Christmas Eve to herself. Just once. Enjoy!
Divorce sucks any time of year. (Sorry, it’s the truth.) Unfortunately, the holidays post divorce tend to suck a little bit more. I wish I could lie and say otherwise but this girl is not into reindeer games. Hope everyone has a happy, healthy whatever it is you’re celebrating, whether you’re married, divorced or single! Peace, love, and truth. 😉 Xo j