Christmas is a difficult holiday after a divorce. You, your former spouse, and your children will experience some sadness and awkward moments during your first Christmas after a divorce. Knowing that the reality of spending their first Christmas as a divorced family will hit your children hard, here are some suggestions to provide them with the best emotional environment possible this Christmas.
Be understanding and assuring
Assure your kids that you will always love them and care for them. Show them that you understand their feelings and worries. Don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s ok to feel sad or angry or worried this Christmas. Tell them that it feels different for you as well and that it’s okay for things to be different this year.
Remind your kids that they will have a good time this Christmas. Encourage them to think about all the good times they have had with you and your former spouse during Christmas time. Tell them that although it will be different this year, they will enjoy Christmas this year and experience new and fun things with both parents.
The way you behave with your former spouse during this first Christmas after divorce will set the tone for the future. Be cordial to your former spouse in front of your kids. This will provide your kids with hope that mom and dad can and will get along with each other in the future.
You and your former spouse may not live together anymore but you should still communicate on what presents each of you will buy for the kids. This should prevent your kids from feeling let down or from one parent over spending to buy the favor of the kids.
Ask your kids what they want to do
If your kids are old enough, ask them directly how they want to celebrate this first Christmas with this new family dynamic. This will lead to a natural discussion of what your kids are thinking and feeling at this time of year.
Create new traditions
Think about what new traditions you can create and that your kids will look forward to doing with you or with your former spouse.
Don’t forget about the kids’ extended family
Your kids did not get divorced. Don’t separate them from their extended family over Christmas. Instead, make sure they get to see and be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If extended family lives out of town, ask your kids if they want to make and send holiday cards or have a few video calls. Your kids will appreciate that recognize how important those family members are to them and that you want to them to continue to be a part of their lives after divorce.
Keep it to yourself
If you are upset at your former spouse, don’t communicate that feeling through words or behavior around your kids. Instead, keep it to yourself so your kids can enjoy Christmas.
Whatever you and your family do this Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful holiday!