If the countdown to Christmas is giving you chills, and every ad showing a happy family enjoying a celebratory lunch is making you well up… I get it. It’s the big moments in the year, like Christmas, that really make it hit home: things have changed. And, yes, when you’re thinking about not being a ‘whole’ family unit anymore, not enjoying your in-laws traditions, having to share your kids on Christmas day, it’s true that the idea of the most wonderful time of the year can feel anything but. Besides, who’s going to put a present under the tree for you?
But here’s the thing. Things are going to be different, sure, but they can be good different. This is the year you get to make Christmas your own. This is the moment you can begin some new traditions. And, with a little preparation, it is possible to crowd out your worries, fears and disappointments with a ton of love, joy, and gratitude. Forget the bitching and the blaming, let’s look at how to make this day emotional for all the right reasons.
Here are five ways to help you get through the holiday season:
1. Plan ahead
It might not be the most fun thing on your to-do list, but make plans with your ex about where the children will spend their holidays now and you’ll be thanking yourself later.
Now, let’s take care of you. Have a think:
>>> Where will you spend Christmas Day and NYE?
>>> Who will you spend time with? Start sussing out your circle’s plans now.
>>> What will you wear? Is it time to splurge on a new outfit?
>>> What gifts do you want? Be sure you buy yourself exactly what you want this year. Alternatively, give a friend $100 and ask them to surprise you.
>>> Make sure your ex or a relative or friend is tasked with helping your children buy a gift for you, too.
2. Do some good
Christmas can be stressful and costly – or it can be filled with love, gratitude and good deeds. If you fancy the latter, commit to being of service to your community this year – and watch as it warms your heart more than any present. Need some inspiration?
>>> Bake a cake for a neighbour, or offer to look after their plants if they’re going away.
>>> Visit your local neighbourhood centre on Christmas Day and serve food for the less fortunate.
>>> Gift wrap small bundles of clothes that you or your children have grown out of and deliver to charity.
>>> Between now and Christmas Eve put in one item per day in a basket. Books, biscuits, writing paper and pens, tea bags, a jumper you don’t wear anymore–anything at all you think will bring joy to someone else.
>>> Commit to doing one good deed per day.
3. Keep it simple
The holiday season will be here before you know it. Don’t set yourself up for failure (or total exhaustion) by planning events every night and all weekend, or by setting unachievable goals in the lead up to Christmas Day. Don’t give yourself any reason to feel like you’ve let yourself down. And when New Year’s Eve comes around set yourself some powerful intentions rather than the usual resolutions, which are usually difficult to restart if you let slip.
4. Have a laugh
Be prepared. Don’t find yourself home alone without the essential rom coms, Christmas flicks and comedies. Make a list early and source the best of the best. Then turn your lounge room into a cinema experience, kick back and have a good laugh.
5. Give to your family
The best gift you can give your child or children this holiday season is the strong sense that the pain you are experiencing does not have to last forever. I’m not saying that you have to go from breakdown to breakthrough on Christmas night – it’s more about a way of being for your entire journey. Show your children how it’s possible to positively navigate the ups and downs of your breakdown, to be flexible in your thinking, to gently manage your emotions, and then breakthrough to live a life you (and they) love.
If there’s just one thing you take away from all this, let it be this: get things sorted out early, and manage your expectations.
Remember: this Christmas is going to be different, but it can be good different with a little forethought. Will it be emotional? You bet! You’ll need to breathe deep, pop on a positive mindset and surrender in the knowledge that the holiday season gifts opportunities for personal growth like no other.
May your holiday season be filled with love, gratitude… and lots of smiles. You’ve got this!
I’d love to hear all the new traditions you’re starting this year, and the things you’re happy to leave behind. Tell me all about it in the comments below.
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You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.
Founder | Hello Mojo