Few things are as heartbreaking as hearing that your children wish their family would get back together for Christmas. Unfortunately, this is a common wish for kids whose parents are breaking up, but it is not as simple as asking Santa Claus for a miracle. In the real world, the divorce proceedings don't take much of a break for Christmas, Hanukkah, or other winter holidays. Here are some ways that you can keep the holidays bright during the first holiday season your kids will experience without both parents under the same roof.
Tip #1: Invite Your Spouse to Some of Your Planned Festivities
Talk to your spouse about the importance of keeping things merry and bright for your children during the holidays. No matter how acrimonious your divorce may be, discern whether your spouse can keep it together during a fun outing. If so, try to plan fun festivities that you can all still do as a family. Children will enjoy things like going to get a Christmas tree with both parents, and your kids may appreciate seeing both of you sitting together at school or church plays.
Tip #2: Adapt Old Traditions and Keep Them Alive
Although things will be undeniably different this holiday season, make a strong effort to keep all your family's traditions alive and well. For example, if it was always a holiday tradition for you to get the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving, don't change that. You may need to adapt some of the traditions, but you can keep those going, too. If your family's tradition involved your spouse reading stories aloud on Christmas Eve, take over that role or ask someone else to do so. An older child may like taking over the honor.
Tip #3: Add New Holiday Activities This Year
It is important to keep up old traditions that kids have relied on, but they also deserve a little extra joy this year. Create new traditions that are special for just you and your kids. You may want to start something like having a 12 Days of Christmas at-home film festival where you select 12 holiday movies to watch. Starting December 1, you can then watch one movie per day with your kids for the first 12 days of the month. As a bonus for the last day of the countdown, you may take your kids to see a holiday film at the cinema.
Finally, when it comes to helping kids adjust to a new normal during Christmastime, it's important to accentuate the positive all throughout the festive season. Reassure your children that joy will continue and that both you and your spouse will continue to shower them with love during the holidays and throughout the year.