The holidays are intended to be a season of joy, love, and fun. It’s what we strive for, but often the reality is the holidays are a time of stress, worry, and exhaustion. We have so much to fit into our already hectic days and tight budgets. Office parties, family parties, school functions. Shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning.
It takes a lot of work and organization to create happy holidays. Add divorce to the mix and it can feel impossible, but there are steps you can take to help things go as smoothly as possible.
Scheduling and communication are key:
- Children tend to have many school functions this time of year and will often feel anxious about their parents being together in front of their peers. Children should be assured that both parents love them and will help make the event a happy one for all. It is important the children understand they do not have to pick one parent over the other. Whenever possible, make decisions beforehand to avoid putting the children on the spot or having an awkward moment. For example, which parent the children will sit with during the event and which parent will take the children for a special treat afterwards.
- Most times, a Parenting Plan will be written which spells out where the children will spend holidays. Scheduling is a matter for the adults and care should be taken to focus on the children’s best interests. To avoid unnecessary drama, stick to the Parenting Plan. One parent may need to celebrate the holiday early or late; this is a great opportunity to create new traditions and extra special memories.
- Presents are not a contest and there is no need for parents to compete. Presents are meant to be chosen with love and care so give you are happy to give. If double gifts happen, don’t sweat it. The children will be able to enjoy the gifts at each of their parent’s homes.
- Communication can be difficult during and after a divorce. It’s often best for parents to communicate only when absolutely necessary. Now is the time for the adults to focus on rebuilding their lives and create a new family.
Create special memories:
- You may need to create new traditions than the ones you enjoyed in the past. Let your children help plan new holiday experiences such as building a new playlist of holiday music, baking special treats, holiday movie night, or a family sleepover. New traditions can help diminish the sense of loss of old traditions.
- New traditions don’t have to be limited to family time. Create a new holiday tradition just for you! Take yourself to lunch, get a massage, or just arrange for one day to sleep in.
- Some sad, or angry, moments might seep into the holiday cheer. It’s important that you and the children are allowed to experience the feelings. Be open and talk about the feelings. It will help you all move forward and get back to enjoying the holidays.
There is no right way to do the holidays. Stay focused on being positive and creating happy experiences for the children.
If you have legal questions, please call The Law Office of Pamela J. Helton at 352-243-9991. Happy Holidays!