Christmas is just eight days away. The tree is trimmed, and the stockings have all been hung by the fireplace. Dinner is planned, presents are wrapped, and mistletoe is dangling in the hallway. There’s just one small problem: for those who are newly separated or recently divorced, the thought of the holidays can loom over them like a dark cloud.
Over the years, we have had many conversations with clients in this predicament and suggested some of the ways the newly separated and divorced can cope with the onset of what is widely known as the most wonderful time of the year. If you are newly separated or divorced, it is normal for this first post-break-up Christmas to be painful and sad, but it can also be a time for new experiences and holiday traditions. Now, if you are intent on having a terrible Christmas, chances are good that you will be successful. However, if you want to avoid holiday blues, here are three suggestions we recommend you take:
Plan on how to celebrate Christmas without your spouse or ex. Get on your phone or pull out a piece of paper and a pen and write down where you will be, who you will be with, and what you will be doing. Then add to the list what you will not allow yourself to think about on Christmas. The “what you will not allow yourself to think about” step is especially important. If you’re so inclined, of course you can have a terrible Christmas, crying in your despair about how lonely and upset you are at this time. However, by planning events filled with people and places, you can avoid that most unhappy way to spend Christmas day.
Surround yourself with family members and good friends. The sounds of laughter, good conversation, familiar stories and new anecdotes are perhaps the best tonics available to keep yourself focused on living your new life rather than dwelling on your old life. Spend the day cooking a big meal for those closest to you, or watch movie with a friend, or find other things to do involving people and interaction.
This is the first Christmas after your separation or divorce. You only have one first time. So, this is the best time to remake traditions you had before as a couple or as a family. Make sure you find new things to do, new places to go, and enjoy the people you are with.
We hope this post helps you with a few ideas on how to celebrate Christmas if you are newly separated or divorced. Should you need the advice of a divorce and family law attorney or have questions or concerns about your situation, know that we are here to help and discuss those issues with you.