Christmas After Divorce: Navigating The Holidays
Family-oriented holidays are hard at the best of times—and that goes double for Christmas after divorce, especially when newly divorced. That’s why we’re sharing strategies to see you through the holidays in higher spirits: things will get better, we promise.
8 Strategies To Navigate Christmas After Divorce:
- Make This A Merry Ex-Mas
- Give Yourself A Present Or Two
- Remember You’re In Good Company
- Get The Kids On Board
- Don’t Make Any Rash Decisions
- Switch Things Up
- Do Some Reading
- Start Some New Holiday Traditions
1. Make This A Merry Ex-Mas
Dedicate as much time and energy to planning for yourself as you do to planning for anyone else—then don’t feel guilty when you enjoy yourself. (Communicate that to your kids too: Let ’em know that they’re not being disloyal if they have a fantastic time with the other parent.) Consider throwing yourself a divorce party—you’ll never have a better excuse.
2.Give Yourself A Present (Or Two)
Avoid giving in to temptation to toss your wedding ring in the trash or lock it away where you’ll never see it again. We’re all in favor of using unwanted wedding jewelry to finance what you need or what you love.
If that engagement ring has become an unpleasant reminder, you might want to trade it in for a luxury watch. Or sell off that Cartier Love Bracelet to get yourself a gorgeous Cartier Pearl & Diamond lariat. Click the button below to sell unwanted jewelry and watches for cash or store credit.
3. Remember You’re In Good Company
You’re not the only one going through Christmas after divorce. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Unless you’re rich and famous, then the percentage seems to be higher. Among those announcing a split this year: Adele, movie star Michelle Williams, and Mad Men star Christina Hendricks.
We’re not sure what they’re doing with all that spectacular wedding jewelry. But we can vouch for the fact that more splits will be announced in the New Year—January is historically the busiest time of year for divorce lawyers.
4. Get The Kids On-Board
Some children react to Christmas after divorce by clinging to their past—even when they’re all grown up and living out of the house. Help them to feel less threatened by letting them invent some of their own, new family traditions. They will always be more excited about change if they feel that they had some input.
5. Don’t Make Any Rash Decisions
Blowing a divorce settlement on an extravagant vacation or flashy car sounds like a blast, but those out-of-character impulse buys rarely live up to expectations. Take your time before you do anything drastic.
For example, if you’re not strapped for cash and don’t feel like you’re ready to part with your engagement ring yet, consider letting go of smaller, secondary pieces first. If you’ve got gifts from your ex sitting in your jewelry drawer or safety deposit box, that’s a great place to start—use the money for a smaller splurge or getting some of those divorce expenses paid off.
6. Switch Things Up
If you’ve always gone to your mother-in-law’s for the holidays, going someplace else should be cause for celebration. Likewise, if you and your ex always visited a restaurant that was “your place,” try staying home, turning off the phone, and cooking up a feast with all your favorite foods. You get the idea: This holiday season you get to do what you want, not what someone else expects.
7. Do Some Reading
Corny as they sometimes sound, keeping a couple of good quotations handy (in a desk drawer or on your phone) serves to remind you that other people survived the same thing. But if you’re in the mood for longer, more involved reading material, we recommend ditching the happily-ever-after tales. Switch to nonfiction that celebrates the next phase of your life.
Five books that will see you from Christmas Eve into the New Year nicely:
- Jog On: How Running Saved My Life. Journalist Bella Mackie’s account of her own divorce and the healthier, happier life that came in its aftermath
- Brave Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder. Reshma Saujani’s morale-boosting call to empowerment
- Eat Pray Love. An international blockbuster (and then a hit movie starring Julia Roberts), this memoir starts when author Elizabeth Gilbert reluctantly ends her marriage.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Another bestseller from Elizabeth Gilbert, with her trademark mix of spiritual counsel and pragmatic advice
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. A memoir that reads as an anthem of independence centered Cheryl Strayed’s adventures—unglamorous and otherwise—as a solo hiker.
8. Start Some New Holiday Traditions
Kids spending the holiday with your ex? This is the perfect time to create new Christmas traditions and change what Christmas day looks like:
- Celebrate the end of this difficult year with other divorced or single friends at an adults-only dinner or cocktail party.
- Opt for a low-key, low-cost evening by inviting a friend or two over for a movie marathon of divorced-themed weepies that let you laugh through the tears. Like the First Wives Club, with its “Don’t get mad, get everything!” rallying cry, to Love the Coopers, with its dysfunctional (but very funny) family drama.
- Spend the day with family and friends or even extended family