Chances are that if your marriage had been heading for a divorce for a while, Holidays have been stressful in years past. However, while divorce can do away with some stresses, it is likely bring on Holiday stress.
Here are 5 Things You May Experience and How to Handle Them. Expect Emotion. You may be grieving for Holidays past if you are new to divorce and haven’t found a way of handling them successfully yet. On the other hand, you may want to revisit all the times your ex let you down during the Holiday season when you were married. The stress of the Holidays may make the emotions harder to handle. Put them aside if you can. Consider talking them out with a friend who has been through a divorce. If you are really struggling, see a counselor or social worker for the help you need to negotiate your feelings. Get Together? Some families do it quite successfully. They put aside their feelings and come together for some part of the Holiday celebration. If you do decide to get together, a time limit will help with your ex coming for just breakfast or dinner or the opening of presents.It’s great if you can handle it, but consider carefully. First, it’s not just a matter of you and your ex being at least minimally cordial. If extended family members are coming, they have to be able to put aside their emotions, too. Christmas dinner is no time to tell the ex how horrible he or she was to their daughter or son. Don’t create Expectations for the Children. Children – often no matter what their age – would usually like to see their parents together again. If you’ve promised yourself that you can be nice to your ex – if you’re planning a shared Holiday event where you will both be together, make sure that the children (and everyone else) realize this is not a step in getting back together again; it’s just creating a family Holiday. Don’t give false hope. How to Gift. This one can be very tricky as finances aren’t always equal after a divorce. The Holidays aren’t a time to try to win over the children by giving them the most expensive present. You and your ex aren’t marriage partners any more but you are parenting partners. Try to work it out together. If there’s an expensive present involved, maybe you can both chip in and give it together – even if one partner carries more of the financial load. Consider setting a limit what you each will spend. Address it long before the Holidays – use email or a phone call if you want – but try to solve this problem before it happens. Dates don’t Matter! You don’t have to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah by the calendar. Thanksgiving Friday or Saturday is just fine. In fact, if you want have Christmas in July. Be flexible. Don’t make grown children have to choose or create the stress of them driving grandchildren long distances so they see everyone. Remember, the important thing is sharing love – not a date. Don’t be afraid to get help! The Holidays usually bring stress even without a divorce. Call in a professional if you need one. A counselor (especially if you can both go together), a social worker and you divorce lawyer may all have good advice. Hopefully, you had an expert divorce attorney who helped you solve some of these issues as part of your child custody arrangements. Be ready to give a little, get a little and make the post-divorce Holidays as merry as possible.