The holidays are a time of tradition. Some of us put up decorations, some cook a special family dish and you listen to the same music each year. It is a comfort to expect the same things each year and allows you time to reflect on past experiences with family and friends. However, after a divorce, the memories can seem bittersweet. Taking out decorations may trigger painful memories or make you reflect on how this year is different without being married to your spouse. That is why it is crucial to embrace a few new traditions to mark a new beginning.
Don’t throw out all your traditions all at once. Instead, take a new spin on what you typically would do. For example, instead of making a gingerbread house, maybe choose a different craft that you can work on and take out each year to remind you of your new beginning. If you put up a Christmas tree, create your own 2020 ornament to mark the year. Try a new recipe to replace an old go-to dish. Making these small changes can start creating new traditions that are free of memories.
Get Social Support Where You Can
Try and coordinate with friends to do a festive activity together, either safely outside or on Zoom. Having the support of your friends and family will be necessary to get through the holidays. If you have children with your spouse, try to coordinate some adult time when you aren’t with the kids. It can help distract you from the fact that you don’t have them around. For example, have a standing date with a close friend to social distance outside just to chat every week.
Accept that It Will Be Different
If you walk into your first holiday after a divorce expecting it to feel the same, you will experience disappointment. It won’t be the same, but that is ok. Accept and embrace the differences this year. When you walk in with realistic expectations it can help prepare you for dealing with any setbacks or triggers. Your kids may need some help walking through the differences this year as well. Make sure to communicate clearly with them what the plan is and if age-appropriate, ask for their input on how you can make this holiday extra special for them.
Need help coordinating a holiday schedule? Contact San Diego Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411 today to schedule your free consultation.