I remember hanging up the phone and just crying for a few minutes. I was hurt, angry, and confused. It was the first Christmas after my husband moved out. It had already been a hard few months dealing with the realities of becoming a single mom. All I really wanted was some consistency for my sweet boys.
I didn’t see a reason that they should spend their Christmas any different than before. We always spent Christmas Eve with their dad’s family for dinner, fun, and presents, and we spent Christmas Day with my side. I truly wanted to believe that all of the adults could put their feelings aside for the sake of the children.
That year, it didn’t happen. Sometimes hurts run so deep that they just can’t be ignored. Not even so that small children can continue their holiday traditions.
Holidays can be very tricky when you are separated or divorced. I have learned that divorce does not have to mean division during the holidays. With some patience and prayer, your children can enjoy this season with their entire family.
For my family, it was really important for my boys to spend time with all of their favorite people during the holidays. I did not want to only have every other year to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my boys. Here’s a look at how we manage Christmas:
Two Family Celebrations
My boys get to spend time with their dad and that half of their family every year before Christmas. They get together for a special dinner and breakfast, fun times, and presents. They love it! Every year, they look forward to spending the night at their grandparents’ house with their cousin. I also made sure that I took them shopping for their dad.
Is it hard for me when they are gone? Absolutely! But I put my feelings aside, because fostering those relationships is very important. I wrap their gifts, watch Christmas movies, and read encouraging books while they are gone.
Divorce brings a lot of change for children, so I really didn’t want to completely throw out our Christmas family traditions. We still put our tree up after Thanksgiving, watch all our favorite movies, and read our favorite books. These familiar things really helped my boys with the transition during the first few years of my separation and divorce. They had something that they could depend on.
I added a few new traditions with my boys when our family life changed. I really wanted to find a way to take the focus off of ourselves and our hard times. One thing that we started doing was packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. We also served at a local homeless shelter.
When we are focused on loving each other and serving others, I find that there’s no room in our hearts for bad attitudes and ill will toward others. Christmas for us has always been about family. I don’t see a reason to change that simply because part of the family lives in a different house.