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Are your Holidays filled with Gratitude and Joy?

by Madeline Muise, LCSW, LMFT

Gratitude and Joy… Tis the season to be Merry…. Not so much for the newly divorced person or ex’s that remain in conflict. Planning for the holiday season can be daunting!

Uncertainty is one quality that makes divorce challenging. Traditions, the practices that give families their identity change.What will life look like? What rituals will take their place? How long will I grieve their loss?

Here are 5 tips to bring some peace and meaning back into you holidays.

1) Reflect on what really has meaning for you this season. Connecting with family and friends? Creating a festive atmosphere in your home?

Once your priorities are clear you can negotiate with your ex-spouse. Good negotiation begins with clear goals and an open mind. Be flexible and generous!

2) Put your children first. Give them the gift of being children.Make their holiday a no fighting zone-absent of tension and bickering.

If you don’t have the children for Thanksgiving this year can you gather your extended family for a Saturday Thanks giving?

Yes, you want the joy of watching your children open their presents. Does it have to be on Dec. 25th? Can you celebrate the day before or after? Think creatively. do you need to rush them out of one house in order to get your 50% of Christmas day? Can you let your children have the pleasure of playing with their new toys for an extra hour or two?

3) Create the atmosphere and plan the activities that you want in your home on your schedule. Perhaps the house doesn’t have to be perfectly decorated. You don’t have to entertain in-laws or endure a round of activities. Decide with the children how you want to spend time together. It’s up to you.

4) Establish New Traditions Traditions never last forever. Circumstances change for many reasons, divorce is only one of the reasons. Engage your children in a discussion about what is important to them. Create some new activities that capture the essence of what the holiday means to your new bi-nuclear family.

5) Take time for yourself. Yes the brighter side of not having responsibility for the children all the time is that you get some time for yourself.

Set up some interesting activities for yourself.Catch up with some friends, read a new bestseller . Don’t fill your time with work . Refresh yourself!

Peace and Joy can be found in the midst of uncertainty and change. Find the upside of this change.

Replace the coal in you stocking with a gold nugget. Happy Holiday

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