Coping with the First Christmas After Divorce
Whether you divorced 11 months ago, or you are among the select few living a “Christmas divorce,” the first Christmas post marital split is definitely a milestone. This is your chance to either define your divorce, or let your divorce define you. Take some time to determine how you want to spend your holiday. Consider writing an outline of how you picture your holiday time. You may be excited for what the future holds. Alternatively, you may feel the need to dig deep and put on a brave face for the children. Most likely, you have mixed emotions about how this Christmas will look and feel.
Preconceived Christmas Divorce Notions – Yours, Your Friends, and Your Family Can – But Don’t Have to – Influence Your Holiday
Divorce around the holidays is the subject of countless Hallmark movies. Family and friends undoubtedly have preconceived notions about how you should spend your first Christmas after a divorce, how you should act, what you should feel. You yourself may have preconceived notions about Christmas and divorce. You don’t have to subscribe to their views of how you should feel or act – or your own. You can make your own decisions about your attitude about your divorce around the holiday season. Be sure to let your family and friends in on your approach.
Your Life, Your Decision
You, and only you, get to determine the impact of preconceived notions about the holidays after divorce. Sometimes, particularly if you are experiencing a Christmas divorce, the holidays may feel overwhelming. If you want to shut out the world, open up a bottle of wine, and have a good cry, go ahead (within reason, of course). If you and your ex had certain holiday rituals, consider how to approach this. You can modify these rituals, engage in the rituals alone, or create new rituals. Go to the movies. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Consider a yoga retreat. Learn to meditate. Your options are limited only by your imagination.
Your Decision Will Shape Your Holiday
You have the choice, every day, to decide how you spend your time and where you focus your thoughts. If you don’t feel like dwelling on your divorce around the holidays, then by all means, don’t. You may have to work a bit to find some distractions. Consider things that interest you. Now may be the time to start studying a new topic. Perhaps you have a hobby you abandoned during your marriage that you want to return to during this holiday season. Maybe it is enough to just reconnect with family and friends. There is no “right way” to approach a holiday after divorce. However, ignoring the impending holiday may, indeed, be the “wrong way.” Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say.
How to Succeed this Holiday Season
Once you have your plan in place, “row the boat.” In other words, put your oars in the water and start getting on with the business at hand. Get busy with your plan. Understand not all your plans will work all of the time. It is normal to feel moments of wistfulness for things as they used to be. However, work to fill your time by and large with future facing focus. Implement your plans for Christmas, divorce notwithstanding.
Moving Forward: Define Your Terms
Everyone has their own divorce – even the two people divorcing each other. Whether you are closing in on your first year as a divorced person, or just starting a Christmas divorce, you have the power to dictate where you spend your time and how you choose your thoughts. As the holiday season approaches, now is the time to determine how you will handle your divorce around the holidays. Consider embracing love, laughter, determination, and a plan for the future. Rest assured, you only have to live through your first divorce after Christmas once.