Relationship Articles

Navigating Christmas After Divorce

November 5, 2019 - Relationship Articles
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Family-oriented holidays are hard at the best of times—and that goes double for Christmas after divorce. That’s why we’re sharing strategies to see you through the holidays in higher spirits. Things will get better, we promise. (And who knows? Maybe next year you’ll  be buying a bottle of bubbly and toasting your ex.)

 

8 strategies to navigate Christmas after divorce: 

 

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. 

 

Give yourself a present (or two)

Instead of 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.

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. (Also, let’s not forget the one who weren’t officially wed but also entered the breakdown lane, like Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck.) 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.

 

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 celebrations. And even if you’re talking about a big-ticket decision like a move or a switch to a new school, they’ll be more excited about the change if they feel that they had some input. Likewise, if you have children who expected to inherit your wedding jewelry, psychologists suggest getting them on board by reassuring them that the new bijoux will go to them too. 

 

Don’t make any rash decisions

Blowing a divorce settlement on an extravagant vacation or flashy sports car sounds like a blast—and we have no doubt that you deserve it—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. 

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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. (Help yourself to extra servings of anything you like that your ex didn’t.) You get the idea: This holiday season you get to do what you want, not what someone else expects.

 

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 Cinderella stories and happily-ever-after tales for nonfiction that celebrates the next phase of your life. Five that will see you 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. 

 

Start some new traditions

Kids spending the holiday with your ex? Celebrate the end of this difficult year with other divorced or single friends at an adults-only dinner or cocktail party. Grab that friend that you never have time to see and go to a theater or restaurant that you’ve both been dying to try. Or 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. 


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