Dear Fearless Love,
I’ve been divorced for about 1 year and am wondering if it’s important to keep my traditions of celebrating the holidays. I find myself changing the stations on the radio and don’t want to hear the Christmas songs. Decorating and sending season’s greetings at one time in my life meant something, but honestly, there isn’t much that I can say I like about the Christmas season any more. Even seeing couples shopping together is annoying! My happiness has dwindled. I wasn’t always this negative, but after the divorce, my children won’t talk to me! Last year, I boycotted the holidays. I dont want to turn into a Mr. Scrooge! Any suggestions on how I can do this?
Divorce affects every aspect of our being. One of these losses, initially, can be the loss of holiday tradition. Traditions anchor our celebration of love, family and our successes and achievements. After divorce, suddenly, the holidays are no longer the season to gather ’round, give thanks, or be jolly. Instead, they become a tricky maze of resentment, loneliness, sadness, loss and/or apathy.
Honoring traditions helps stabilize us and help us feel secure—gives us a sense of normalcy. Doing the holidays as a single means finding ways to integrate some of your favorite traditions and creating new ones.
3 Things to help you find the Christmas spirit after divorce or loss:
1. Give yourself the gift of YOU. Be kind and patient with yourself while you are in this transitional state. Recognize you are grieving a major loss and pause to exhale the sadness and loneliness. Be careful not to entertain the pity party or to make bitterness your friend. These will keep you stuck in victimization. Giving yourself what you need—a good cry, encouraging words from a friend, a good workout, meditation, prayer, speaking with a therapist and reading spiritual and self-help literature will aid in moving you past this phase.
2. Something old and something new. Channel your creativity and remain flexible. Don’t try to recreate everything or abandon everything associated with the holidays—be selective and keep it simple. Shifting into curiosity can make new traditions more fun and enjoyable. Try sending e-cards to a select few. Plan ahead with friends, family and coworkers or consider taking a trip to spend the holidays with a loved one who’s far away. Instead of buying gifts for everyone in the family consider blessing a family within the community who is in need.
3. Comfort and joy. Neither the gifts under the tree nor the size of the turkey are indicative of a joyous holiday season. One of the reasons we celebrate the birth of Christ is that in Him we have forgiveness and the promise of new life. Extend an olive branch to your children and try to make amends with them. Time, along with a new perspective, can make all things new again.