CREATE NEW HOLIDAY TRADITIONS FOR YOUR KIDS AND YOURSELF
The first holiday season after separation or divorce can be difficult for parents for a number of reasons. Your kids will likely be with your co-parent for at least some of their winter break — maybe even Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Further, you may be in a smaller place that you haven’t entirely adjusted to yet. You likely are on a tighter budget than when you were married, so you have less money for gifts, entertainment and decorating.
It doesn’t help to wallow in sadness and self-pity. For your own well-being and that of your children, find new holiday traditions that you and the kids can enjoy together and that will help you enjoy the time they’re away.
If you don’t have the money to take the kids to The Nutcracker, find some local events that cost little or nothing. Southern California offers plenty of options.
If the kids won’t be with you on Christmas, have your celebration with them before they leave or when they come home. What child is going to object to two Christmases? The same goes for Hanukkah celebrations.
Ask your kids what they’d like to do. They’d probably enjoy being included in creating new family traditions.
If you can’t imagine being alone on Christmas and you don’t have family nearby, assemble a crew — even if it’s just one or two other people. If you ask about other people’s plans, you’ll likely find fellow divorced parents, single people or couples who’d like to have a meal together, attend services, binge Christmas movies or just hang out.
If there are things you always wanted to do around the holidays, but your ex didn’t (like watch one of the Christmas boat parades), now’s your chance. Maybe your college roommate whom your ex couldn’t stand will be in town for the holidays. Invite them over. If you’re alone and off work for a few days, and a short vacation isn’t an option, find some volunteer opportunities. There are plenty of ways to spend your time over the holidays.
If you and your co-parent haven’t finalized your custody agreement yet or if there were issues last year that still haven’t been addressed, it’s wise to talk with your attorney as soon as possible.