If this year is your first post-divorce holiday alone, you may feel a little strange about it. It’s difficult to get into the holiday spirit, after all, when your new normal is dictated by the terms of your custody arrangement. Not only that, but the family traditions that you used to look forward to are changing, and you’re not sure how to adjust to meet these changing circumstances.
You’re not alone. This awkward transition is something that affects all women who have gone through (or are still in the process of going through) a divorce or separation. This is probably one of the most difficult parts, too. The rest of the time, you can go on with your day-to-day life. You can make changes and adjust appropriately without feeling like the world is caving in on you. After all, you knew thing were going to change, and that change is (usually) not only necessary but desirable.
During the holidays, most women tend to feel a little bit differently about the changes. Mostly, it’s because they’re remembering magical holidays past, and spending a lot of time thinking about how this holiday season will be less wonderful.
Although it is true that things will be different, that doesn’t have to mean that things are WORSE than before. You’ll have to make adjustments and learn to appreciate things differently, but that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to have a miserable holiday season.
Whether you have the kids this year or not, you should plan to do things a little differently this year than you’ve done it before. There’s no reason to go through the same motions when all it will do is remind you that things are different now, and can never go back to the way they were. Celebrate the change by starting new traditions that make the most of your family the way it is now, not the way it used to be.
The thing is, a holiday is not a date on a calendar. It’s a season, and that means that you can celebrate Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or even Sunday. Heck, if you don’t have the kids back until a week later, there’s no reason at all why you can’t do Thanksgiving then! A holiday is about the time you get to spend together as a family, whenever that is, and you can choose to celebrate it when it suits your calendars.
If you find yourself without children on Thanksgiving, make other plans. Join another friend, volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or try something completely nontraditional. Go see a movie or a show, or take yourself to dinner somewhere that serves anything but turkey. Start your Black Friday shopping early. Whatever you do, do it because it’s something you enjoy and will look forward to.