How to “Be Thankful” When It’s Not Your Year with the Children

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you may be thinking about how the holidays may look different this year. This is common among divorced parents who share children together. One parent may get the children for Thanksgiving and Christmas one year, while the other parent gets them the next year.

This is a typical compromise that divorced parents make, which can be sad and depressing when it comes time to send your children to their other parent’s home for the holidays.

How can I prepare and get ready to spend the holidays alone?

It can be difficult knowing that you won’t get to see your son or daughter eat a big piece of turkey, fight over who gets the last slice of pie, or even watch them open all their gifts on Christmas Day. However, you should remember that a divorce with children can change holiday celebrations, and you and your ex-spouse made an agreement to share the children, which means making sacrifices during the holiday season. This can be extremely challenging, but you can think about the fun times that you will have next year together.

Additionally, you should keep in mind how you feel during the holidays and remember that your ex-spouse will feel the same way when it is their turn. It is also likely not easy for the children to be away from you during the most special time of year. Therefore, you should do your best to encourage your children to have a wonderful time, refrain from arguing with your ex-spouse in front of them, and decide how you will give your children their presents.

Surround yourself with other family members and loved ones during the holidays

During this time, it is highly recommended that you surround yourself with other family members and loved ones. Consider inviting your parents, siblings, or nieces and nephews over to your home for some hot cocoa by the fire, a gift exchange, or to watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day. You may want to sit around, watch the clock, and think about your children, but this will not make them come home any sooner. Instead, you should be having fun, talking with your family about childhood memories, and enjoying the delicious holiday food that everyone made.

If you live far from your family, you can go out with some friends or even invite one of your neighbors over to your home. Even making phone calls to family members to wish them a happy holiday or watching a few of your favorite Christmas movies is a great way to pass the time.

Compromise is something that you will have to learn, especially during the holidays

When you are used to having the holidays with your children every year, it can be tough learning how to compromise during the holidays. However, it is crucial to compromise if you want to ensure that your children have a good time and experience the least amount of stress as possible. If your relationship with your ex-spouse is damaged and you both have a hard time communicating with one another, you may think that it is best if neither of you speak or talk to each other about anything, but this can actually do more harm to your children in the long run. It is suggested that you both put aside your differences during the pick-up and drop-off before and after the holidays. This allows your children to have a happy holiday and enjoy themselves without worrying that they are doing something wrong or defying your wishes.

You and your ex-spouse are not the only ones affected by the divorce. Therefore, you should talk openly and communicate with your children about what to expect, assure them that they do not have to worry about you while they are gone, and tell them that you cannot wait to hear all about their Thanksgiving and Christmas stories at their other parent’s house. The holidays can be a stressful time for children who have divorced parents, which is why you want to do all that you can to reduce their fears and anxieties when it comes to spending time away from you and with their other parent alone this year.

What should I do about the Thanksgiving meal, gifts, or other experiences?

Although some parents may think that the holidays are completely doomed since their children will not be around, you should try to have a positive outlook on the situation. It is completely acceptable for you to dread the holidays. However, you should consider giving your children new holiday experiences to remember for many years to come before they leave for the holidays. Instead of completely missing out on a Thanksgiving meal or handing out gifts, you can simply choose another day to do this. Your children will still be excited, and you can pretend that Thanksgiving and Christmas came early at your house.

Another great idea is to create new experiences together. This means that instead of pretending that it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can take your children on a fun vacation, a ski or snowboarding trip, or a scavenger hunt around town. Your children will be happy and thankful for the effort that you put in to make your time with them special and important this holiday season.

Pamper yourself and think about everything that you are thankful for this year

While your children are with your ex-spouse, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and plan to do absolutely nothing. However, you should take this time to go on a solo trip, take a much-needed nap, or do something that you have put off doing. While you are pampering yourself, take the time to think about everything that you are thankful for this year. If you are having a hard time coming up with things that you are grateful for, here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • You and your children are healthy.
  • Your children attend a great school and get good grades.
  • Your child recently won a basketball game or football game.
  • You recently received a promotion at work.
  • You bought a new house.
  • You moved closer to your parents, so your children can develop a close bond with their grandparents.
  • You have made a few new friends at work or in your neighborhood that keep you busy while your children are with your ex-spouse.
  • You and your ex-spouse have started working on getting along and developing a cordial relationship for your children.

Co-parenting and splitting holidays can be stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming. You may have unexpected questions or concerns during this time, which is why the San Antonio family law attorneys at Grable Grimshaw, PLLC are ready and available to assist you whenever you need. No matter how discouraged you become during the holiday season, you cannot forget to make this a magical time for your kids. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule an appointment. We can also help you if you are planning to divorce in the near future or are having child custody or child support issues.