The holiday season is a time filled with laughter, traditions, family gatherings and more. It can be a very joyous time. It can also be a very difficult time for many, including single parents. How can you make the holidays feel normal when everything around you feels abnormal? What things can you do to help you and your children not only survive the holidays, but thrive in them? Here are a few things to ponder as Christmas draws near…
Is there a new tradition we can start for our family?
After a divorce or during a separation, it is extremely hard to let go of the way things used to be. There are so many memories of the ways things were it is hard to envision something new. Starting a new tradition can help you and your children begin to develop a new identity as a family. It does not take away the memories of the past, but allows room for something new. It could be as simple as a pajama and hot cocoa night by the fire. Allow yourself to enjoy something new and different.
How do I do enjoy the Holidays when my kids are with the other parent?
It is hard to let go and not have your kids home with your during the Holidays. It may not be how you envisioned spending your time and it may feel lonely. Make the most of it. Call a friend, go shopping, or go to a movie (and yes, you can do that alone). When you are feeling down, it is natural to want to stay home and be alone. Do the opposite, call a friend or a family member and go do something fun.
How can you get everything done that needs to get done with all the activities for each family member?
Breathe! Breathe deeply and make a list of what is most important each day. It is okay if some of the list has to wait until tomorrow. It is okay if your kids don’t look perfect in the Christmas pictures (none of us are perfect). It is okay if your Christmas cookies are a little well done. It is okay if your Christmas tree is a little crooked. Relax, breathe, and take in the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Written by Angie McDonald, Practicum Counselor