Ahhhh, it’s that time of year again…
The stores packed with busy shoppers.
Yards covered with inflatable Santas, snowglobes and other oversized-holiday favorites.
Kids everywhere making holiday “wish lists” and parents stressing trying to get exactly what’s on them.
Holidays are crazy and sometimes overwhelming… even the easiest of tasks seem to cause us to lose our guts. 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! (Where are those fucking Jurassic Park Legos?) 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 the holidays with your mate. Marriage is good that way!
But what if you are divorced?
Can you imagine taking on an entire holiday season by yourself? Like, solo. Can you even fathom being alone on Christmas morning or not having your kids with you on the first night of Hanukkah?
Ugh. I’m tearing up, Y’all.
Being divorced around the holidays can be one of the hardest things to handle. But with that said, I do have a few helpful hints for managing the holidays after a 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.
Be Prepared. 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. Go on a trip. A great trip! Plan a trip to Europe with other divorced peeps… save and go. You will be sad, you will be lonely… and you must prepare for it. 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.
Home Alone. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT 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, make it something other than sit. Sitting is not good for you, or your tushie. Take a yoga class, or serve dinner to the homeless. (This will also make you feel good.) Or better yet… start a new hobby out of the house. Just get up and get out. Holiday time is not the time to binge The Sinner on Netflix, although it is fucking fantastic!
Be Flexible. Plans (and custody arrangements) are made to be flexible if y’all 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 afterward? 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. I think that the kids deserve to see both parents every year. Tis the season to try flexibility!
Tradition! And yes, I’m singing that in my best Tevye voice. Look, you will miss the usual traditions you had as a family, I get it. But it’s your job to make new ones. Try doing something off-the-wall and entirely wacky! I took my kids to look at Christmas lights one year (we are Jewish), and they thought it was cool. 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. And it wasn’t to spite my ex… it was so we could have something different and unique in OUR house. New times call for new traditions.
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 indulge. You get a chance to BE ALONE! Don’t think of it as negative; flip it into a positive. Are you alone? You. Are. Alone. Wine and good food… maybe a nice bath. I bet there’s not a married woman that’s reading this who doesn’t wish she could have one Christmas Eve to herself. Just once. Enjoy!