Here we are, right smack in the middle of the holiday season, and boy, can it cause mountains of stress for anyone and everyone, whether they celebrate or not. The traffic, the crowds (the only good thing about that is that in 2022 people are back out and about after the pandemic, thank God), stores are short-staffed, inflation is at a 40-year high, budgets are limited, you may have family commitments seemingly everywhere and guess what kids? You're DIVORCED. You may want to scream, but I say no. Buck up, take it in stride, and commit to having a good time on YOUR TERMS.
First and foremost, focus on what the holidays are about, not the stress of buying, buying, buying. Focus on the good times whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or whatever, and revel in the wonderful people surrounding you: Family, friends, children, and new connections you've made in '22, whether a co-worker or fellow charity volunteer. Being divorced during the holidays can heap mega stress on you, but I promise you can make it more manageable. If you haven't set your holiday schedule with your ex by now, for God's sake, get on the phone and work it out! Be sure your kids and other family members know exactly what the plan is, and do not be afraid to say N-O to anyone and everyone else if you want time with your immediate family or friends who are like family.
It seems most families try and switch off or shove 3-4 gatherings in one weekend to save face, but that’s not what the holidays are about, nor is it any fun. At all. Am I right? Yes, I am. Of course, you want to see Aunt Millie, Uncle Bob, cousin Chuck, and the new babies joining the family. You can make time for that, but it doesn’t have to be in December. January can be a bit of a letdown after December, so schedule some get-togethers in the New Year. And as far as those big family gatherings go, can you have a meaningful visit with 50 people in the room? Smaller gatherings mean so much more (and with the continued spread of severe illnesses this winter), I vote to stay closer to home.
I love big family gatherings, however, take the pressure off yourself and do what's best for YOU (and your children if you're a parent). Don't let some bossy-pants family member guilt trip you into making an appearance somewhere you don't want to be. Make your feelings and plans crystal clear to everyone, and this may be the best holiday season you've ever had. (Oh, and be sure to jam out to your favorite holiday tunes, it's so much fun and a big-time stress buster! 🎄🎅🏻🎵)
Question to ponder before the big day(s):
· Do you have a plan for this holiday?
· Are you happy with it?
· How can you speak up and make changes if you are not?
· What makes you most comfortable during the season?