Enjoy This Holiday Season Despite Your Divorce

Enjoy This Holiday Season Despite Your Divorce

Divorces can be tough on families with children, but it is especially difficult during the holiday season. The holidays are often a cornerstone of family bonding and tradition, and it can be extremely hard to navigate this time of year and keep everyone happy. However, you can survive the holiday season through a divorce and keep your children smiling. Below are some tips that should help maintain peace for the entire family.

1. Ask yourself, “Am I acting in the best interests of my children?”
Divorces can be messy and very emotional for the parties involved. Sometimes it can be tempting to indulge in behaviors that you know will hurt your former partner, at times this behavior can even be instinctual. However, both parties must work to curb these selfish desires and be willing to work with another for the benefit of the children. Compromise is key, and if the best thing for your children is to spend their holidays without you, then that is what needs to happen.

2. Plan ahead
The best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly during the holidays is to have a plan in place. Since the celebrations will most likely be very different from how your family has celebrated in the past, it is important to know what to expect so everyone has time to adjust to the idea. Again, this will require compromise. Perhaps it works better for the children to spend Thanksgiving with your former partner’s family, and then have Christmas with you. Having a plan can help you and your family feel less overwhelmed.

3. Make new memories
Most children have a hard time letting go of holiday traditions, so brainstorm with them to come up with new activities that they can do with each of their parents. This will help to normalize the transition and give them something to look forward to. Make sure you reassure them that they will still have a fun holiday, just in a different way.

4. Focus on giving
Going through a divorce during the holidays may make it feel like you are the most unfortunate person in the world, so it helps to take a step back and get a different perspective. The holiday season is about giving and spreading joy, so volunteering with your kids at a soup kitchen or shelter can be a great way to bond as well as appreciate the things you have instead of concentrating on what you don’t.

5. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself
Allow yourself to feel happiness when it comes to you! Even though it may feel like your life is falling apart, know that this ordeal will eventually end and normalcy will return. The emotions of a divorce can be all-consuming, so if you start to actually enjoy yourself this holiday season, embrace the feeling! Your kids will be happier for it too.

In the video below, I further discuss navigating divorce during the holidays with Barry L. Gordon of The Chicago Bar Association, as well as outline the benefits that mediation can have for a family during this time: