Tag Archives: Christmas alone

Guest Post: Getting Through the Holidays

The holidays are coming up and when it’s is typically a fun time for most, this year it seems that you have a bad case of the winter time blues.  Whether you have children involved or not, it’s going to be a tough time. The holidays are a time when you are with your loved ones, laughing and creating many memories; it’s easy to get down.

We tend to focus on either the really good or the really bad during the holidays. We let our minds and hearts wander down memory lane, either reminiscing the good times or the really bad times. There is never a middle ground. It takes a lot of patience and talking to yourself to get your mind off of your ex.

You hear a song, see a gift, find his/her favorite ornament etc and the memories come flooding back. The best way to get through the holidays is to take the present by storm. Embrace this new holiday alone and make your own memories. Start a tradition that will make you happy, like seeing a Christmas play with friends, cutting down your own Christmas tree or going to holiday parties. Get rid of your old traditions that you had with your ex and make new ones.

Get busy and get moving. Rent the movies you want to see, make the food you want to eat, spend the holidays with those who make you laugh the most. Try new holiday cocktails or get lost in the busy shopping malls. Jump in to the holidays face first and don’t be afraid to go overboard.

There is no need to keep the hate or pain in your heart during the holidays or ever. Take a step back and look at the big picture. You may have had a few good times and a few really bad times together, but that is over now and you have loved and learned. Focus on the children, your friends and your family. Take deep breaths and when you find yourself feeling down, take a moment to yourself, think, let go and get back into the action of the holidays.

Keep busy and keep moving. Surround yourself with those who love you and all of you. Remind yourself of what is happening in front of you and not what you are missing out on. Get excited for the new and fresh start! It’s going to be fun and your new year is awaiting the new you! Happy holidays!

This guest post was provided by Allison Foster. She has a solid writing resume that includes blogging both personally and professionally and regular freelance writing and photography jobs. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/.

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Filed under Confidence after Divorce, Divorce, Divorce Support, Life after Divorce, Post Divorce

Guest Post: Journey to a New Normal

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is that everything changes. During the holidays this can weigh especially heavily as past family rituals and festivities transition into something else, which initially may seem disappointing in comparison.

How can you begin to create celebrations and fresh creative traditions that will serve you and your children as you move into a new phase of life. I was once told that it takes two life cycles to begin healing and settling into your new circumstances.

A life cycle is a full year of holidays, birthdays, vacations and other customary experiences that occur throughout the year. The first year is hard, you and your children will often ‘suffer’ this transition as you struggle to let go of the old and perhaps resist the new.

My first Christmas I had my two children Christmas eve and the following morning. After they left with their dad at noon on Christmas day. I was devastated. I could not stop crying at the thought of spending the day without them. I called my sister, went for a swim and tried my best to take care of myself. But I would be lying if I said that it was not hard; for me, it was enormously difficult.

The second Christmas, I was fine celebrating Christmas eve without them but waking up to a quiet house until noon on Christmas day was as difficult as the year before…again, I struggled.

After those first two years, I found myself enjoying both my eve’s with adults and the freedom to stay out late and celebrate in a different way and my Christmas mornings of leisure to sleep in a little and have fun surprises for them when they arrived. After time, you and your children have will have settled into a new norm and the struggle of the transition will be behind you. In the midst of your struggles, it is helpful to know that you are in a transition and this too shall pass (a favorite saying of mine).

During this time, be creative and you might even get excited about doing things differently and creating new traditions (we have made Christmas day on my year a pajama day…stay home, enjoy our new gifts, quality time and take out or even desert for dinner). What would you like to do differently to begin to shift into your new normal?

About the Author: A Certified Life Coach and founder of KM Life Coaching, Karen’s passion is to work with men and women going through the divorce process to help them navigate the difficulties while creating the life of their dreams.

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Guest Post: Negotiating the Holidays after a Divorce

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. There are so many obligations to see family and friends, buy gifts, and entertain. If you are a divorced parent, the holidays can be even more stressful as you try to negotiate with your former spouse about when you will get to see the children and how your family will divide its celebrations. If your divorce is fresh, or the split was acrimonious, it may be even more difficult to manage. However, with a little effort and the spirit of compromise, negotiations about holiday celebrations and dividing time spent with children need not be overly complicated or contentious. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

Create a Schedule

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your children can spend time with you and your former spouse, as well as your respective families, is to work together ahead of time to create a schedule. Depending on where your families each live and what your family traditions are, you may decide to split up the day (with your children spending the morning with one of you, then going on to dinner with the other) or you may decide to split time between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (with your children spending one day with one of you and the next day with the other). It is important to be fair in creating your compromise. For example, one parent may feel angry or resentful if assigned to Christmas Eve each year instead of Christmas Day. Make sure time is split equitably and that the most desirable times or days are alternated between each parent from year to year.

Alternate Holidays

If you live in Florida, but your former spouse lives in California, it will be impossible to create a schedule in which you split the day. If travel or other factors prohibit you from dividing the day equitably, consider creating a schedule of alternating holidays. For example, one year, the children may spend Christmas with you and Thanksgiving with your ex, and the next year, the schedule would be reversed.

Hold a Joint Gathering

The best solution to your holiday schedule may be the most difficult for you to implement if you are not on friendly or civil terms with your ex: Hold a joint family gathering. If enough time has passed since your divorce was finalized, or if you have been able to establish a cordial relationship with your former spouse, then this may be the easiest way to enjoy your holidays with your children. You can either host a celebration with your ex and your children, or you can host a larger gathering of extended family and friends in which both you and your ex attend. Either way, you get to both be with your children on this special day without having to watch the clock or move on to the next gathering.

Leave the Kids Out of It

Finally, though it may be tempting to include your children in the holiday planning process, especially if they are older, it’s best to keep your negotiations strictly between you and your former spouse. Asking your children their thoughts on how they would like to spend their holidays may make them feel like they are being asked to choose sides. Even if they don’t feel this way, you may find that asking them the question still results in hurt feelings by you or your ex for not being the chosen parent for the holiday. It is better to stick to an objective schedule that offers the most equitable and fair distribution of time for everyone. You should then focus on encouraging holiday cheer rather. In other words, don’t create awkward silences with your former spouse, avoid creating conflict, and make an effort to be friendly.

What was your first Christmas like after your divorce? Were you able to negotiate an amicable arrangement with your former spouse for spending quality time with your children and family? What are your tips for working out these arrangements? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

About the author:

Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for CollegeGrants.org. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on grants for disabled students and nebraska education grants.

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How to survive your first Christmas alone

Your first Christmas alone doesn’t have to be sad or lonely.  Make sure that you plan what you are going to do well in advance and that you arrange to keep busy over the holiday period.  Be organised and don’t leave any spare time when you might brood.   Don’t worry about what your ex partner is doing or who they are spending it with; make sure that you are so busy having a good time that it doesn’t matter what they are doing.   Don’t let any negative feelings (anger, jealousy) about your ex get in the way of enjoying yourself.   

Prior to the Christmas break take advantage of all the parties you are invited to.  If you haven’t got a company party or a networking ‘do’ to go to then why not throw your own party?  You can even throw themed parties – why not go for fancy dress or I recently went to a chocolate party and yesterday I met someone who arranges Body Shop parties.  If everyone brings a bottle and a plate of food hosting a party doesn’t have to be too expensive. 

One of the options available is to go away on holiday.  This is what I did the first year I was on my own.  I packed my bags and flew to the Canary Islands with a friend.  We had champagne by the swimming pool on Christmas Day and on New Years Eve thoroughly enjoyed the party that was laid on by the hotel with all the new people we had met.  If you don’t know anyone who is single why not try Travel Buddies who can help you find a suitable travelling companion.   

Alternatively, if you lead a hectic life, you could decide to spend the time on your own and have some quiet ‘me’ time.  Stock up on your favourite foods, a good book and some classic DVD’s and relax.  A friend of mine did this a couple of years ago and she thoroughly enjoyed herself.  Don’t forget to buy yourself a self-indulgent present such as a beauty treatment, a massage or a new outfit.  If you really feel like splashing out why not have a colour consultation.  I had this done for my birthday this year  and I felt like a million dollars.   You can find consultants all over the country at http://www.cmb.co.uk/directory.asp  

If you have other single friends who are going to be on their own over Christmas you could get together and have a house party.  Why not play some board games such as Scrabble, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit or a Murder Mystery?  You don’t have to be a child to play games!  If money is an issue make a pact not to buy each other presents or limit the cost of presents for each other and share the cost of the food and drink. 

Another option is to volunteer to work for a charity over Christmas.   Why not help provide lunch for the homeless or visit a lonely elderly person? These websites provide some ideas about how you can help:  http://www.timebank.org.uk/volunteer_christmas/ or http://www.do-it.org.uk/

If you have children you should communicate with your ex about the arrangements for the holiday well in advance.  Reassure the children that you will be OK while they are spending time with your ex, that you have plans and will not be sad or upset.  Ensure that they are happy with the arrangements that have been made for them. 

Have a very Merry Christmas.

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Filed under Divorce, Divorce Support, Life after Divorce, positive thinking, Post Divorce