“I’m not seeing my kids this Christmas as I’m divorced, it really hurts”

Are you worried about celebrating Christmas this year without your kids? This can be a tough time of year if you are divorced. The feelings of loneliness can be amplified especially if it’s not your turn to have the kids for Christmas. I have experienced this myself and it is a very tricky one to come to terms with.

You probably never imagined not see your children on Christmas day. It’s a magical experience to share with them, especially younger kids. So it’s emotionally extremely difficult when it’s thrust upon you due to your divorce.

Quite often if you do not get on well with your ex it will result in you having alternate Christmas’ with your kids. One year they are with you, the next year they are with your ex.

The first year this happened to me I was devastated. I began dreading it from December 26th the year before and it saddened me deeply every time I thought about it. As it drew closer I would often hear other families talking about their plans for Christmas and I just wanted to cry. It seemed so unfair.

If you have followed my blogs, Twitter or FB you will know that I cannot stay in that negative state of mind for very long. I have to find a way out of the pain and to make it better. So I did.

Here are my top tips for coping with Christmas without your kids:

1. Understand that this is just the way life is now. There are big benefits to being divorced and separated from your ex so focus your mind on these when you start to feel sad.

2. Keep real about it. It’s easy to run away with the significance of it in your mind but it is only ONE day. You have many days with your kids each year so one day really isn’t the end of the world.

3. Organise Christmas for you and your kids but celebrate on a different day. I invited my family and friends to come over for a weekend in the middle of December. I told them my son was going to have two Christmas’, one with me and one with his Dad. I decorated a Christmas tree earlier than normal with my son and put up decorations all over the house. Everyone came to celebrate our “Christmas Eve and Christmas Day” and we did everything as if it was the real thing…we even left a mince pie and glass of sherry outside for Santa!

A magical thing happened – everyone started to believe it really was Christmas! We opened presents in our dressing gowns (and onesies!) and had Granny Ali’s mince pies for breakfast! While I was cooking the Christmas lunch I sent my Dad out to the supermarket for some more potatoes and he came home saying he couldn’t believe how busy it was for Christmas Day and how so many shops were open! I had to remind him it was only December 16th! We even turned on the TV for the Queens Speech!

The important thing was that we all had a wonderful day and it felt just like Christmas with all the magic moments with my son that I thought I was going to miss that year. He loves this idea as he gets two Christmas’ every year – which means two visits from Father Christmas too – so he’s happy too.

4. Make plans for 25th December. When your kids leave to stay with your ex make sure you tell them your plans. You don’t want them to worry about you or ruin their day thinking that you will be sad. I know this is hard but it really is best for your kids. You don’t want to burden them.

5. Have fun. If you want to spend time with friends book it in advance, plan a trip, or just stay home and enjoy some quiet you time if you prefer. Most people don’t get a chance to be work free and kid free. All the shops and businesses are closed so you can’t do any jobs – so just enjoy it!

Give it a go – have your own “Christmas” on a different day

I have found in my experience that if you have experienced a “Christmas” with your kids (albeit not on the 25th December) you will be much more relaxed about the festive period as you know you are not missing out. Try it, it really does work.

Please share your stories with me #SDDivorce Coach

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