It’s Time for New Traditions

How to say goodbye to your holiday routine

Ah, the holidays are upon us. Whatever you choose to celebrate, it’s hard not to be affected by the ‘holiday spirit’ when Christmas is practically popping up in stores before the end of Halloween. Did we forget about Thanksgiving?? Say nothing of Hannakuah. I suppose I’ll save that debate for another article. 

If you are a new divorceé or in the separation process, the holidays can bring on a sense of dread or relief. Hear me out. Remember your ex’s sister/mother/cousin who you never really clicked with but faked during the joyous holiday affairs?

Just like a fairy godmother coming to grant you a wish, you are now free of that duty. Poof.

Holiday dreams do come true! Did you miss your family traditions from childhood but choose to compromise and embrace new traditions with your ex? Poof, that’s done too. Those are just a few examples of the sense of relief a divorce can bring, and trust me, it’s a good thing to give each reflection the gold star it deserves. Good riddance!

Now, let’s get to the more complicated part: loneliness, sadness, and loss. I’m not going to beat around the bush; the holidays are hard as a new divorceé. Yes, I want you to embrace celebrating saying bon voyage to the traditions and relationships that never served you; however, you also have to embrace the suck. It’s ok to feel down or feel the longing but know; this too shall pass. In my own experience, I can admit that I often threw on a pair of rose-colored glasses to revisit memories of past holidays when times were rough. 

Let me share a little story. My first Christmas away from my marriage was spent in my childhood home, alone, with my parents. Now my parents know how to do Christmas. Thirty-six boxes in the attic of decorations say so. I noticed there were all sorts of shiny packages wrapped around the tree with my name. When Christmas morning came, I moved effortlessly back into my family’s routines. Five months into my separation, I was feeling slightly more like myself. Once we were all done with the presents, I heard bells jingle.

Did Rudolf bring me a new sexy-lover (my real Christmas wish)?

Out popped my parents with three bags of goodies declaring that it was ‘pity Christmas’ and I deserved extra gifts. This may sound horrifying, but it made me laugh, and let’s be honest, humor is what I needed back in my life. If life serves you lemons, you might as well have a good laugh while drinking that lemonade. 

Pity Christmas was my parent’s way of trying to help me lift my spirits when their hands were tied. No one could do anything to ease my pain and accelerate my healing timeframe. Try to recognize the gestures that people awkwardly make over the holidays. Remember that their efforts are trying to say, ‘we know this sucks, and we would love to make it better.’ Bonus points if they hand you a glass of wine with your dose of pity Christmas.

Recognize that it might take a few more holidays to regain your sense of normalcy and build new traditions, but the exciting part is that YOU get to choose the path forward. Once you understand the power of choosing to embrace your next chance and build the life you want, the puzzle pieces will start to piece together. Play with new traditions and try them on. One year I declared to my family that we would start every Christmas morning off with Rose Champagne. When I found it hard to stay awake a few hours later, I decided to swap that tradition with a new idea. 

Sending love and new traditions,