Our family had our Christmas day celebration on Dec.5 th. I know it was a bit early. However, with married adult children getting a day that worked for all four couples was a trick. There were those that do shift work, and those in their own stepfamilies and everyone has other important families to visit. We were grateful we could find a date period! And of course like many of you, there was one family who lives in a different province and couldn’t come at all. It is hard to get everyone in one spot even for a night.
Perhaps early, but the fun of Christmas was on display with youngsters running around in excitement, presents being opened, stories being told and even our sweet daughter/ Aunt, making an appearance in a Santa outfit. In short, celebrating early did not matter – but celebrating the season and each other did.
When I talked with other types of families with adult children they have also begun looking at different dates for their holiday celebrations. One family reserved the right to have everyone over on
Dec.28 th. She said that was her date. Others decided to have their party in the New Year “after all the sales and things settled down to boring again.”
It didn’t matter what special holiday you are celebrating or what day you do it. What does matters is that you care enough to gather those you love around you and have fun. As my husband often says “ there are no rules.” Just be willing to be flexible and keep thinking “outside the box.” There are many ways to do holidays.
Now what about those families who have smaller children? These families often divide the day or the week of the holiday. What matters here is that the children get to see each parent for some of the holiday time. It is good that each household has a different way of celebrating or a different tradition. Just think how much the children learn in each house!
Despite the challenges, frustrations sometimes heartache of being separated from young children at Christmas try not to loose sight that for the children the holiday season is magic. Let some of that childhood wonder rub off and let the frustrations go and embrace the joy of the holiday, even with its compromises.
I remember from my days of counseling how hard this time of year is for so many people. It can be very lonely for those that have little or no family. People who have just lost a loved one, or are separated, and those with financial worries are just a few examples of those that struggle. Again embrace the spirit of the Holidays and if you know of someone in this circumstance reach out and hopefully make a difference to their life and yours.
I can tell you that my first Christmas without my two children was very hard. I was absolutely devastated! I counted the days and hours until they were back in my arms again. So I certainly understand how difficult it is to share your children with their other parent especially on those holidays. However, over the years I learned how to cope with these feeling and how to distract myself. The most important thing I learned was that I could change how hard a situation is by changing my attitude towards it. That meant trying to think positively about the situation and finding ways to sooth myself.
One of my clients said she had a bubble bath with a glass of wine on Christmas Eve and then watched a movie. Another told me she and her husband went to a lovely hotel in a different
city for two days. Others have gone to a relative’s house and shared the celebration with them. Good friends are very willing to include another soul at their table.
The secret is to take control of what you can do and make plans. Stay positive. The Holidays are short-lived and will go by quickly. You can then focus on a positive and a renewed Year.
Happy Holidays to you and a wonderful New Year!