Be thankful and have a joyful and peaceful holiday season
It is that time of year again – the holidays are upon us. For many, the holiday season is more stressful than joyful. And, if separation and divorce isn’t tough enough already, remembering to be thankful and keeping the peace and joy during the holidays can create even more of a challenge.
For most of us, this is likely the most normal holiday season we have experienced since 2019, and then came Covid-19. The excitement, and the stress, will likely be back in full force!
If you are separated and have children, here are some tips to keep the joy in the holiday and have some peace:
Most schools recess for Thanksgiving either the Tuesday or Wednesday prior to the break. That means there is a long weekend ahead. You and the other parent of your children will want to decide how to handle that long weekend – perhaps one of you will want to have the children in your care the entire break through the weekend, or maybe you want to share the actual day of Thanksgiving and then resume the normal parenting schedule. These are decisions you and the other parent want to make, in advance, so that you can enjoy the holiday understanding what is expected of everyone with respect to parenting time.
There may be old traditions you want to keep or maybe you have thought about some new traditions you want to try this year. Go for it – but keep the other parent in mind when scheduling activities.
Holiday break from schools – utilizing a calendar that follows the Christian Holiday
Even if you do not celebrate the Christian holiday, chances are you are having some sort of celebration over this extended holiday period. And, the children are typically out of school for as many as 10 days. To keep things joyful and peaceful, planning in advance on how to spend time with the children over the break is important. Some parents like to alternate the entire break with one parent having the beginning of the break until midway through the break, and then the children are with the other parent until school resumes. Some parents want to have an exchange either on Christmas Day or the day after. Whatever your agreed upon schedule, remember this schedule is alternated each year. Look at the holiday from the children’s perspective, should you alternate just a few days around the actual holiday, or does it make sense to divide the holiday itself exactly in half. What is important to know is that you and the other parent should make the decision together and do what works for your new reality and the family, remembering the children come first.
There is no law that requires you to do one specific thing; the decision is up to you and the other parent, and the sooner you can reach an agreement, the sooner you can check that box and start enjoying the holiday. And, believe it or not, some parents want to spend time together with the children over the break. If that is you, go for it.
Finally, do not forget you need joy and peace too. Keep many of your long-standing traditions – decorate the tree together, bake cookies, attend church services – but also remember this is a good time to start some new traditions so that you find new peace and joy and can start enjoying this magical season.
Adults and children experience some level of stress during the holidays, and everyone wants to experience the magic of the holidays. With some planning, understanding what you want out of traditions, and creating workable travel plans, you can have a peaceful and joyful time.
Be thankful for what you have, plan in advance, and enjoy the holidays.
Of course, if you and the other parent are unable to reach an agreement about the holidays, seek assistance by contacting an attorney. At Southpark Family Law, we are here to help you achieve a more joyful and peaceful holiday season, while remaining thankful for what you have.
We wish you and your family the best during this holiday season, the most normal one we will be experiencing since 2019.