Christmas is widely marketed as the “happiest time of the year”. Yet it’s can also be the most stressful time of year for many of us.
Wrapping up work for the year, coping with Christmas shopping and crowds, dealing with family and those complex dynamics, all while feeling you need to put on a smiling face and enjoy it, can be incredibly difficult.
Divorce and separation add another layer to the angst that can come with Christmas.
While it’s true that, as time goes by, Christmases after divorce do get easier, the first festive season after separation and during divorce can be anything but festive.
Christmas as a newly separated or divorced person has to be approached from a different place.
Longstanding traditions may well be thrown to the wind.
Children of the relationship will need to be shuffled between the two of you, or perhaps you’ll not even see them on the day. In what is already an emotionally fraught time, this can be heartbreaking. Link to Where do I begin post
Then there are the questions and comments and even “friendly advice” from well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) family members.
Finances might be strained.
You might be in no mood for celebrating. It’s enough to make one decide to boycott Christmas altogether!
Tips for surviving Christmas
Christmas brings up issues of custody, shared parenting, access, visitation and money. A tsunami of emotions can be triggered.
Here are some tips for surviving Christmas during divorce…
- Accept that things have changed. It is what it is and the best you can do is roll with that reality. Yes, you will probably feel ambivalent and sad, but it’s a process and you will get through it.
- Begin planning for Christmas early. If you have children, negotiate with your ex-partner in a calm manner – this is not the time to be all about winning. A little give and take can go a long way, and in most cases, they are as entitled to having the kids for Christmas as you are.
- At Christmas, the welfare and happiness of your children comes first. It’s really not about you. Never allow your kids to feel bad or guilty about holidays they spend with their other parent and his or her family. Never let them know you are hurting due to their absence from you on any particular day, including Christmas.
- Avoid drama. If you need to move your own Christmas celebrations to another day (Boxing Day, Christmas Eve, between Christmas and New Year), do so. Christmas Day is one day and celebrations can be every bit as meaningful on other days.
- It’s really important to rise above your feelings. When going through separation and divorce, take your kids to buy a gift from them for their other parent. This will make your children feel better about the situation. Link to 5 Ways Separation will Affect your Life
- Don’t drown your sorrows in alcohol … extreme partying, or any other behaviour that doesn’t serve the best version of you.
- Keep your sense of perspective. A year from now you’ll be in a new personal place and you will have come so far. The future is wide open and as bright as you can allow it to be.
Remember to look after yourself and take care over the festive season.
If you are separating, please talk to us about the process you need to take to get the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Call us on 07 3161 2762 or email at [email protected]