Tips for Surviving the Holidays During a DivorceIf you’re going through a divorce and this is your first holiday single, or if this is your first holiday spent navigating the details of your divorce settlement, you are not alone. Many families find themselves in divorce limbo during the holiday season, and for many in your community, this will be their first holiday post-divorce. There is support all around you. Malouf & Malouf is a divorce law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that can help you navigate the bigger questions that can arise if you’re going through a divorce during the holidays.
- Have a Parenting Plan for Holidays. You and your partner might still be working out your parenting plan and child custody arrangement. In the short term, however, if you live apart, you’ll need to figure out how your children will spend the holidays. If you drafted up a parenting plan when you separated, then you will likely already have worked out these details. But, if you’re still in the process of finalizing a parenting plan, now is the time to see how important a detailed parenting plan can be when it comes to negotiating where children will spend the holidays. Most families will alternate Christmases with the children over the years, or arrange for one parent to have the children on Christmas Eve and the other parent have time with the children on Christmas day. Whatever plan you choose, remember that you can celebrate Christmas with your children any day in December, and your kids will remember this year as the year they had two Christmases. If you’ll be spending Christmas day alone this year, have a plan in place for how you’ll treat yourself well. Being without your former spouse and children can be hard over the holidays. But this is a great time to create new traditions. Celebrate with friends. Volunteer with those less fortunate. Connect with extended family. There are new traditions you can make all around you.
- Create New Traditions. Trying to hold on to old traditions will only make this harder. Instead, think of what new traditions you can create with your children. What new holiday celebrations can you create for yourself? Some women schedule women’s gatherings on the holiday. Others go on a vacation over the holiday. Yet others plan special pampering sessions right before and after Christmas. Figure out what you like and love, and make it happen. Christmas and New Year’s Day can be what you make it.
- Consider Your Needs. Yes, if you have children, you’ll need to make sure that they are cared for. But as you embark on the holiday season, remember your needs. You can’t make this a great holiday for your children if you are upset and crying. Think about what you’ll need to get through the holidays. Does it mean a little extra self-care? More alone time before and after the big days? More time with friends and family? Ask for help when you need it, and get support.
- Feel the Feelings. If this is your first Christmas and holiday while getting divorced or after getting divorced, you’ll likely be feeling mixed emotions. Maybe you’ll be sad and lonely. Maybe you’ll feel relief that you won’t be spending another Christmas angry. Let yourself feel all the feelings. Take the time to write them down or chat about them with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Remember that feelings pass, but they only can pass healthily if you let yourself feel them.
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