It’s the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, or so you hear all around. The music is playing, the
lights are twinkling and the feeling of general goodwill toward all is in the air.
Except, this year? This year it feels wrong and weird and a million other things you can’t put a
word to. If this is your first holiday season after divorce, you may be wondering how you’re
going to get through, and just precisely what getting through even looks like. You’re not alone,
and we’ve some tips on handling your first holiday season after divorce.
Thanksgiving, Party Of One
Divorce does a lot of things to family dynamics, even if it was an amicable divorce. The dinners
and holiday shows and present-openings and brunches that were givens are now often awkward
reminders of how your family may be splitting its time. You may have children still living with
you and your divorce agreement has dictated where they’ll be for Trick-or-Treating,
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Or, the kids may be grown but it’s awkward for
celebrating with them and your ex. You may believe it’s just easier to be alone.
You may be right, but only sort of. While the first holiday season after divorce may find you no
longer celebrating with your ex, it does not mean you have to forgo celebrating. If you’re not
going to be able to be with your kids on the exact day, choose the day you will be together to
celebrate. The holidays are about what’s in the heart, not the calendar date, and you get to decide
how your heart spends each day.
If you are alone on the specific holidays, but don’t want to be, find some friends who would like
to support you and join them. You know they’ve been offering, and now’s the best time to take
them up on it. Or, consider volunteering at a local community organization. The holidays are a
lonely time of year for many people, and serving others is a great way to remember how lucky
you are, despite how hard the days may feel right now.
Or, enjoy the alone time. You may actually enjoy a day of peace and quiet on Thanksgiving Day.
You can do whatever you like with no obligation to anyone else. You get to dictate the way you
want to spend the days, and that’s empowering.
New Seasons, New Traditions
Now is also a great time to create new traditions. While this may be a place you never imagined
yourself to be, it’s also YOUR place, and you can make it whatever you like. If you’ve always
thought it would be neat to wake up on a tropical island for Christmas, do it! If you’ve always
wanted to be one of those crazy Thanksgiving Day shoppers, grab some girlfriends who also
wanted to give it a whirl, and head out into the frenzy. This is a new season in your life, sure, and
the holidays can seem to exaggerate how different they are. If you allow that space to be filled
with new experiences, it becomes more exciting!
Figure Out How To Communicate Effectively
If your divorce is still relatively recent and fresh, so may many of the intense feelings that come
along with it. Just because this is the time of year where everyone is kind to everyone even if
they don’t want to be, don’t feel like you have to put on a mask for everyone else’s sake.
Especially if you still co-parent children, you’ll need to communicate about plans, but feel free to
find ways to do so that don’t wound your heart. Email or texts may sometimes be more
comfortable because they leave emotions out of words, and it’s okay to remember that this year
may sting more than others. Just remember that, though…the first year will most likely be
tougher than any other. If you can remember that everything may feel less painful.
Feel Free To Say, “No.”
Most importantly, do what you need to do for your heart this year. If you don’t want to go to that
family thing you’ve always done, even if your ex isn’t going to be there, then don’t. Simply say,
“No.” If you believe you’re just going to hear about how different things are or feel like your
newly single status is going to be a reminder in every face you see, simply bow out of the event.
There’s nothing that is obligating you, particularly this year, and it’s okay for you to guard your
heart so it can heal.
The first holiday season after divorce brings with it so many new and unknown feelings, but if
you remember that you’re allowed to feel what you feel and that growth and new beginnings are
on the horizon, you’ll get through it. And, you’ll find you may even thrive in the process!
I was becoming an empty nester, a woman of a more interesting age and in transition. Sound familiar? I was at that place where we question our purpose, value, and worth and what in the world are we going to do with the rest of our lives.
I noticed women have a huge hunger to belong to a community of women where they can feel safe, share openly from their heart and have other women to do life with! This is why I created my Fave Lifestyles.
Fave is for the woman who wants to call Fave her community of women who support, uplift, and make her feel better about herself. I want to create a place where we help her answer life's questions and just do life together!
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