Divorce and the Holidays in 2022

The holidays can seem incredibly challenging during or after a Massachusetts divorce. Separate festivities, remembering past customs, losing out on in-laws (if you had a nice relationship with them), and a host of other holiday traditions that you once cherished but now lament.

Nevertheless, it's imperative to remain composed and continue progressing forward. Even if your relationships have changed, there are still ways for you to celebrate the holidays and start new traditions.

Create an action strategy.

If you're still friendly with your ex, this can seem rather straightforward. You can decide who will attend certain holiday parties, or maybe you can both go and still have a good time, and you may make plans for any shared events (particularly if you have children together). Not to mention, you should talk about if you still intend to exchange gifts with each other's families despite your divorce. If you have kids together, you are going to be in each other’s lives forever. 

Making a plan of action that is constructive and inclusive when you and your ex are not on speaking terms may seem unlikely or, in some situations, impossible. If that is the case, you must take independent action to safeguard your interests. Make sure a parenting routine is established in advance if you have kids. Make sure timetables, pick-up timings, and drop-off times are all agreed upon and preferably, in writing.

Even while the logistics may be simpler if there are no children involved, things this season might still seem overwhelming. Are you going to snub one another at holiday gatherings hosted by your mutual friends? Will you find out in advance from friends if your ex will attend? Will you make every effort to avoid situations where you might run into your ex? Would you rather start over with a new social group than risk hanging out in the same circles as your ex? You have a ton of questions to answer, and you alone have the knowledge of the solutions.

Be truthful.

Since your MA divorce, so much may have changed. You probably have a different place to live, a different financial situation, and you might even be attempting to form a new social circle. Your head may be spinning by this point, especially given that all of these changes may result in you having less free time.

Because of this, the holidays may appear, feel, and go very differently than they did in years past. Your life after divorce will be the most joyful when you can be realistic and roll with the punches, even if these adjustments may initially appear overwhelming. Examine your schedule and how you plan to maintain positivity despite the many changes you're going through before the holidays arrive.

Rely on close friends and relatives for support. 

Friends and family are dependable sources of support as well as compassionate ears to weep on. The holiday season is a great time to lean on your support network for comfort, love, and companionship in addition to advice. The commitment to celebrate the holidays with loved ones is of utmost importance. You don't have to give up your love of the holidays and spend them alone if you and your partner get divorced.

New traditions. 

It is normal to feel bitter about letting go of long-standing customs. But in your new life, you have the chance to abandon old customs and start new ones. Finding joy and appreciation throughout the holidays depends on these new customs.

If you have kids in Massachusetts, they could yearn for their rituals even more than you do. Instead of attempting to duplicate former holidays, focus on developing new traditions that your kids will enjoy. Give them control over the creation of these new traditions so they feel like they contributed [1].

Holidays post divorce are going to be different, no matter your relationship with your ex. Acknowledge this change with your kids. Many marriages end in divorce every year, and thousands of families navigate this transition every year. You are not alone!

Try talking to your kids about how they are feeling around the holiday season. Are they excited for the new traditions you are planning? Are they anxious about change? Hear them out. Allowing your kids to feel heard is important at this time. One nice way to broach the topic is to ask if there is anything specific they would like to do this season. 

If you do include your kids in seasonal planning, be prepared for differences of opinion. Try not to take differences of opinion personally. 

The kids come first.

The holidays combined with a recent or imminent divorce can be difficult for your kids. Your child may be adjusting to life without both parents living under the same roof while peers and classmates may be talking about their customary family gatherings and holiday activities. Your youngster may also be adjusting to the idea of new traditions. Do your best to work with your co-parent to find a method to make the holidays as enjoyable as you can for them. Make sure your kids have a support structure in place, friends to talk to, and an adult they can confide in, such a therapist or a friend or family member. Co-parenting successfully is, of course, easier said than done. Co-parents who struggle to communicate may find it useful to use a parenting coordinator. Consider your kids first because you want them to experience as much love, serenity, and joy as you can during this holiday season[2].

Demonstrate gratitude!

Even though a divorce is not what you had imagined for your life, it is still necessary to express gratitude for the positive things in your life. Practice mindfulness, gratitude and foster connections to counteract stressful or depressing moments. Spend a few minutes each day appreciating the positive aspects of your life that bring you join. (Yes, they exist in everyone.) This is a useful habit for many seasons of your life, not just the holidays.

[1] Psychology Today, "Helping Children Survive Divorce: The Importance of Holiday Traditions," blog, "The New Grief," 2011-12

[2] Social Work Today, https://archive/111511p22.shtml

To speak with a lawyer about divorce, paternity, or child custody matter, contact Mavrides Law in Boston, MA. To schedule an in-depth initial consultation, call 617-723-9900 or contact the firm at info@mavrideslaw.com

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