In our first post of this series, we made recommendations for planning and preparing for the holiday season after divorce. In this installment, we’ve offered some tips to help you come out of the holiday season with new traditions and happy memories.
- Create new rituals. If your children are little, it can help to make a calendar filled with upcoming holiday plans with each parent. Developing new rituals will build excitement and keep everyone focused on the positive. Listen to the feelings your kids have around these plans, and be open to change.
- Adjust your holiday traditions. Focus more on the time you are spending with your kids and less on the stress associated with making it be a certain way. Maybe baking elaborate cookies used to be your family’s tradition, but this year you may need to pare it down. If you get the store bought cookies and put sprinkles on them, to the kids, the focus is still on that time spent together. Don’t get into all or nothing thinking. Do something scalable.
- Don’t take it out on your wallet(s). This year may not be as big of a gifty Christmas or Hanukkah as it has been in years past. So maybe you get creative and set some realistic expectations. Instead of expensive presents, do crafts together, go caroling, or come up with a way to help others while spending time together as a family.
- Focus on shared values. You and your ex may not agree on some (or many) things, but try to focus on the shared values and the wellbeing of your children. Often we recommend to parents that they encourage their children to get a gift for their other parent. If you are supportive in helping them do that, it can create a lot of good will.
- Seek help. It’s ok to reach out, even after your divorce is finalized and your co-parenting plan is set. Sometimes the plans you made might not be working, and you should not struggle alone. If it’s causing stress and conflict and you need a third person to help, seek out the support of someone you trust or the assistance of a counselor.