Making Holiday Season traditions work after separation?
If this is your first Holiday Season after your separation it’s likely that some of your family traditions will change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. Either way, what was norm is no longer so how do you reach out to get that feeling of family, friends, and love?
Setting your expectation is key. If you think it’s going to be the same, it most likely isn’t. So you might want to create your own new traditions. If you have kids, whether they are old or young, this is a time where you can reflect on what was awesome about your old traditions and what was a little lacklustre. How do you create or re-create those good times? If your kids are older they might have some ideas about what traditions they would like to keep in a separated family. So why not ask them what holiday traditions they would like to hold on to and how do they visualize that within a separated family?
Some parents think that doing the same ‘family’ thing, by being together, is a good idea…..but not always. Some kids feel that it’s a bit of a lie. It feels like you are celebrating being a family when, although you are still a family, you aren’t an intact one. I’ve heard some family professionals state that maintaining family celebrations in a separated family is confusing, especially to young children. Sending a conflicting message to children probably isn’t the message in wanting to maintain tradition united. The messaging might be that both parents love their children and both parents are supporting their role as parents. But, perhaps, there is a clearer way to send this message that sharing a stuffed turkey together for an evening meal.
Separated families have many “start over” moment opportunities. The end of year celebrations are no different. It’s an opportunity to keep those traditions that warm your heart and leave some aside – like sharing a celebratory meal with that “no-so-liked” relative of your ex.