Parents who separate or divorce need to make new traditions, unfortunately they often spend the holidays listening to Elvis croon “Blue Christmas” over and over. But separation and divorce do not have to turn you into the Grinch, causing you to hate the holidays. You can keep what you liked about the holidays before your separated and add new traditions and special things now that you and the children have different schedules and times together. When parties separate or divorce, the holidays take on a different tone. The memories of what was can be either a happy event or a stressful one. You have the option of making this time the happy time you and your children deserve or a time where people are wallowing in what they used to do or used to have. Here are some suggestions that may help you and your children have a great holiday season.
- Don’t make your kids sad. Don’t tell them how much you want to be with them and how lonely you will be. How do you think that makes them feel? Let them be happy where they are, call them and tell them you love them and will celebrate with them when you are together. Tell them to tell the other parent to have a happy holiday from you. If you have the children for the holiday, have them call the other parent. Be sure if it is a gift giving event that you have had the children buy or make a gift for the other parent; help them wrap it. Make sure it is something from the children and not from you. Help them make cookies for the other parent, or a craft project. Or if funds are tight go to the dollar store and let each child pick 1 or 2 things for the parent and get a basket for the kids to put together for the holiday. These ideas will work for all holidays, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day, Father’s Day, the other parent’s birthday.
- If you don’t have the children for the holiday, it doesn’t mean you don’t get to celebrate with them. Plan your celebration at a time close to the holiday, be sure to include things you know the children like. Santa can come to two houses (he’s a smart guy). No one should have to eat two Thanksgiving dinners. If the children are with the other parent for the holiday, think of something you can do. One parent made the weekend after Thanksgiving into Givingthanks and had a backwards meal starting with dessert and ending with appetizers.
Making new traditions
There are lots of ideas on line or in magazines about how to make new holiday traditions and make holidays special. Check them out and see if you like any of the ideas. Involve the kids, ask what they think would make the day special. Involve them both before and after the actual holiday. Raleigh and Wake County have lots of holiday events throughout the year. Check out what is happening near you. Many events are free or low cost. And don’t forget this important advice from Buddy the Elf: The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.