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How to Spend the Holidays During or After Divorce

Mulled cider, twinkling lights, the scent of pine – everyone has their own favorite holiday experiences. If you’ve been with your partner for several holiday seasons, your most recent memories may now be tinged with sadness if this year you find yourself on your own for the holidays. Don’t let the blues get you down! There are methods for combating the funk.

• You may choose to spend your holidays with your ex anyway, particularly if you have children together. A joint celebration or two might be less stressful and costly than shuttling the children between two separate sets of celebrations. Obviously, this isn’t a good option if you’re not getting along civilly or if it would cause more emotional upset than it prevents.

• Find –or host- an “Orphan” holiday gathering for folks that don’t have family members locally. This can be a delightfully merry event among friends! Keeping busy can help you avoid feeling sorry for yourself, especially if you’re creating more good memories.

• Take up a charity this holiday season, and get involved! Ring bells, write grant proposals, wrap gifts for an angel tree, send toothpaste to the troops – find something that appeals to you. Throwing yourself into helping others reminds you of how fortunate you are and builds your good karma. Giving always feels good.

• Participate in a Secret Santa program at work, in your church or in your neighborhood. Planning and receiving gifts is one of the most fun parts of this time of year!

• If you don’t have children of your own, consider borrowing a niece, nephew or friend’s child. Go out and attend a performance of The Nutcracker. Help the little one host a party with his or her friends. Seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child will remind you of the magic of the season.

• Read a good book. A good novel is the best diversion in the world.

• Cook all of your favorite dishes even if you are on your own. Share the dishes with friends, neighbors or family. The holidays are no less important without a spouse to share them with you. Do things for yourself! Don’t let the ghost of your past steal from your present moments. Bake those cookies!

• Remember to give thanks. You have many blessings; don’t let them slide into the shadow of sadness and regret. List things for which you are thankful, and put it on your refrigerator. Glance at it every time that you go for a snack or drink.

• ‘Tis the season for forgiveness. Start with forgiving yourself.

More than ever, this time is yours. Don’t waste it. Embrace every moment that you can. Happy holidays!

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