It always comes up: How do I get through the holidays? The family’s tradition has always been that we go to my folks for Christmas Eve and open the gifts at home on Christmas Day? After lunch, we head out to my husband’s family.
Easter and Thanksgiving were always shared every other year with his family or my family. Now that we are separated, I am no longer a part of his family so what do I do when the children go with him and I am alone for the day?
I am sending this blog out way before any holidays are at hand. BE PROACTIVE. You must start planning for this reality. Sadness is always heightened during the first holidays you spend alone. There are two things you can do to make it much easier:
Get active in your support group. Don’t just attend the meetings, but share social time with the various members. You are not the only one who is facing this difficult time. There are always several who find themselves alone without children or family during he holidays. In fact, I have attended holiday socials in which over 25 people attended and we had a great time.
Start new traditions. Just because Christmas Eve was always at his folks, this is not the rule. Make your day with the children or friends a totally different tradition. Perhaps you start the day serving in the kitchen at a homeless shelter. Perhaps you find someone else who is alone and do something different and fun with him/her. What about going to a cabin for the Holiday instead of staying at home? The children will be far more receptive to the new traditions than you would think.
Caution: Quite often I hear from members who say the holidays are difficult because they are shared with their former spouses for the sake of the children. In most cases, this is very harmful to the children. This sends a message that there is a “chance” that their parents might get back together. Although it seems less painful for the children, it is just not truth. Who knows, it might be sending the wrong message to your former spouse as well! Think about it.