PLAN AHEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS Diana Shepherd
Don't wait until the last minute to make your holiday plans -- that's a recipe for disappointment and upset.
If you have kids, start negotiating with your ex-spouse which one of you will have them for which days now. Try to be generous, realizing that your kids would like to spend time with both of their parents.
Over time, some divorced parents become friendly enough that they can spend important days (birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, etc.) together with their kids; however, this isn't a wise idea for at least the first couple of years post-divorce.
You can avoid falling into a self-defeating mindset by not being a slave to the calendar: there's no reason why you can't celebrate Christmas with your kids on December 26th if that's the day they'll arrive at your house. And it can be just as much fun as celebrating on the 25th.
If you're dreading being alone for the holidays, reach out to family or friends several weeks in advance and ask to be included in their plans. They may be hesitant to contact you -- some people won't know how to deal with your divorce -- but they'll probably welcome you with open arms if you give them the chance.
You should also consider getting together with one or more people from your support group (if you haven't joined a divorce support group yet, now's the time) for a cup of coffee, a meal, or a walk. Being with people who understand exactly what you're going through can be very comforting.
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