It’s almost Christmas, which for many is such a beautiful time of year, so many people love Christmas as it’s a time you usually spend with your closest family and friends, celebrating and being grateful for all that the year has thrown your way. However, for many people, Christmas can be a time of great sadness, loneliness, and loss.
The first Christmas after divorce or separation will be one of the hardest as Christmas is a time that usually brings families together and yet for those who have divorced, they are of course apart. Suddenly the traditions you have become used to being turned upside down. And sadly, one of the worst parts of this is that there is usually not much you can do about it.
Some separated families are able to come together for Christmas Day which is wonderful, if your relationships are respectful and peaceful, then this is perfect for the children to be able to share this very special day with all of the people they love at once. However, this can be a tough ask, particularly if your divorce is still new as sometimes the wounds are just too raw.
When it comes to divorce at any time of year, family counseling center, Focus Forward, say you need to allow your children to express their feelings and listen to them, this, of course, is even more important at Christmas time. You need to speak to your children, tell them what to expect so that they won’t be disappointed and if you are spending Christmas apart then you need to get them excited about having two Christmases, two celebrations and extra fun – make them feel like they are getting something else rather than missing out.
For you though, it is likely to be harder than it is for the kids, so that is why you have to change what Christmas means, you have to start new traditions for your new life and embrace the opportunity. If your kids are going to be gone for two or three days and you cannot bear being in the house alone, plan a short trip. Instead of buying gifts, splash out on a short trip you always wanted to take, just make it about you, about doing something new, something different and something that pushes you out of her comfort zone and take the chance to celebrate your new-found freedom. Allow yourself to do whatever you could not do when the kids were with you.
Just remember that if you are about to manage Christmas as a separated family, things will be different. And you may not be able to change that, but you can change how you deal with the situation that has been thrown your way. Whether you can manage to bring your family together for Christmas or not, this will be a great opportunity to start some new family traditions. Whatever you do, make sure you find friends and extended family to be with, go out for the day and most of all be kind to yourself as no doubt the first Christmas will be the hardest but like most things in life, it will get easier with time.