The holidays can be a sad, lonely time after a divorce, but they don’t have to be. Read on to learn about some ways that you and your kids can make the holidays fun after a split.
Communal holidays aren’t for everyone
You may hear people talk about sharing Christmas morning or a holiday meal with their children and their former spouse in an attempt to let their children know how much they’re loved and supported by both parents at this special time of year. While some couples have enough emotional distance or goodwill to make these arrangements work, don’t feel pressured to make this work for you if it might be an extremely challenging or painful way to spend the holidays. Not only will you not enjoy the day, but your children will sense the tension and discomfort, even if you avoid getting into an argument. Instead, make the time you spend alone with your kids memorable and fun in its own way, rather than feeling that you need to recreate holidays past.
Rekindle relationships and solidify your support network
You may have a lot of fond memories of how you spent the holidays with your former spouse and their family, memories which become painful during those special times of the year. After a relationship ends, people often realize how much they’ve neglected their relationships with their friends, and the holidays are an excellent time to reach out to people you love with whom you’ve lost touch. Consider hosting a holiday event, like a small party or lunch, as a way to reconnect with friends and feel the support of those who care about you during what can be a lonely time.
Avoid competition over gifts
If you share children with your former spouse, you may feel a temptation to out-gift them, lavishing your kids with expensive presents you might not really be able to afford. Try not to let the spirit of giving become the spirit of competition. Focus on helping your children make light and fun memories during the holidays, rather than ones of your resentment or bitterness towards a former spouse.
Celebrate only the traditions you want to
Your first holiday season after a split can be hard, but remember the silver lining: you no longer have to compromise on how you spend the holidays. Hate the special dish you always used to include in the holiday meal? Don’t make it! Do you and your kids want to go see a movie rather than have a quiet, traditional dinner at home? You can do that! If you and your kids need a complete reset, you can even take a trip somewhere new for the holiday to allow your family to make completely new memories, rather than being surrounded by reminders of holidays past (and how much they’ve changed).
For compassionate, effective, and knowledgeable legal support during a New Jersey divorce or custody battle, contact the Englewood family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss for a consultation on your case, at (201) 500-2151