Holidays are stressful. They can be fun and hopefully are fun, but they’re stressful. At least for most adults. And also for many children. Adding the stress of divorce on top of the holiday stress can make a really unhealthy situation for everyone involved. I don’t want to dwell on how much stress is involved, but instead look at ways to make the holidays less stressful.

Number one – Make plans. For divorcing spouses without children, this means making plans to continue or replace or alter the holiday activities you enjoyed as a married couple. For divorcing spouses with children, making plans establishes everyone’s expectations. Planning also requires effective communication. That means talking about what you would like and what’s important to you, but even more importantly, listening to what your spouse or ex-spouse and your children are telling you is important to them.

Number two – Accept that your plans will change. We all make plans and have an idealized vision in our minds of how our plans will work out. But those idealized visions never come true. We can blame that on ourselves or other people or fate, but whatever the cause, the result is the same. So if we expect our idealized visions to become reality, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. And anger. And negative interactions with those around us. And stressful holidays.

Number three – Enjoy what happens. You’ll have your plans, with your idealized visions of how they will work out and then you will experience what actually happens. It won’t be the plans or the idealized visions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

If you would like to discuss this or any other family law related issue, please contact me.

Happy Holidays.