Creating Lasting Memories this Holiday Season

The holidays are typically depicted as a special celebration of the traditional – and intact – family. For this reason, when there is a significant life change it can leave parents and children feeling disappointed, conflicted, and unsure how to make the season merry. Fortunately, it is possible to create joy and meaning into the holiday season by setting new routines and embracing them with love, enthusiasm, and support.

Establish a New Tradition

Let the principle of “out with the old, in with the new” apply here. Have you always had an artificial Christmas tree? Take the kids on an outing to select a real one. Volunteer for a toy drive. Try a different type of holiday meal. The possibilities are exciting to contemplate.

Take Care of Yourself

Chances are that during any significant life change, you were more focused on getting yourself and your family through it, rather than tending to your own emotional needs. The holidays are an excellent time to catch up in that regard. Go for regular walks, read a book for pure enjoyment, or sign up for a distance learning class in a subject you enjoy.

Minimize Distractions

Spend quality, uninterrupted time with your children. That means clearing your schedule, taking a break from your phone, and doing something that celebrates the holidays. Take the kids to see Santa, drive through other neighborhoods to see the beautifully lighted homes, or bake some holiday treats.

Have Some Real Fun

Be honest: when was the last time you did something that was carefree or spontaneous? Chances are that it has been a while. Go see a romantic comedy, spend time with friends who truly lift your spirits, or indulge in some enjoyable activities that your former spouse never embraced, such as ice skating or cross-country skiing.

Spend Time with Your Family

Many people who have been divorced say that reconnecting with their family makes the holidays brighter. Parents, siblings, and extended family members will make you feel safe, loved, and supported. Do you have nieces and nephews you haven’t seen in a while? Get to know them better.

Work with Your Former Spouse

Although you may feel angry or sad about the past, resist the urge to make this obvious during the holidays. It will not only make the children happier, but prevent an argument from affecting the celebrations.

Give a Gift… to Yourself

Why not add yourself to your gift-giving list this year? You and your former spouse likely won’t be exchanging presents this year, so fill the gap by giving yourself something that you will truly enjoy. A day at the spa, new tablet, or other indulgence will make the season bright.

Count Your Blessings

If you start feeling down or depressed about your changed circumstances, take some time to appreciate the positive things you have in your life now: your kids, your family, and the opportunity to spend the holidays as you wish.

Even if this holiday season doesn’t quite “feel” the same post-divorce, it can still be a highly enjoyable one for you and your kids. Be creative, accept the new, and focus on creating memories that you will treasure for years to come.

Here’s to new beginnings and an amazing 2017!

Heather Bliss
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