It’s Christmas, and for those of us trying to reinvent our holiday traditions due to unexpected life events, it can be a difficult and challenging time. Yes, things will never be the same, and we can’t force a return of what was “normal” we have to devise our “new normal.” So that you know, it does get easier with time, but that does mean it is easy.
Things have changed, and because of that some of our traditions have to change. I think we need to work on developing new traditions while possibly tweaking some of the old ones that are still doable.
One tradition I am hoping to keep is the PJ exchange. In the past the kids would come to our home and we would exchange pajamas on Christmas Eve. We would wear them that night and for most of Christmas Day. It was a joy to open our Christmas gifts in our new Christmas attire. There has been a kink in this tradition this year it seems there will be a partial exchange. Deep breath and move on. Just a reminder that we need to flex our flexibility muscles during the holiday season. For those of us going through a divorce, it seems to be constant flexing. Again I say take a deep breath.
One tradition that I started this year, and I would love to continue, is a page taken from Icelandic tradition. It is called the Christmas Book Flood. On Christmas Eve you exchange books, settle in somewhere cozy, could be by the fire or in your bed, and read until you fall asleep. Eating chocolate is highly encouraged while reading your book.
We did a version of this earlier this Christmas season. My daughter and my grandbabies were spending the night. I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a book for everyone including myself. Then I stopped by World Market and bought some chocolate. Now we were set for our Christmas book flood. What fun! I want to do this again next year, but I want to add wine to the list of indulgences:-)
When stress hits me hard here are a few things that help me…
I take a walk. The cool air in winter is refreshing and helps take the edge off.
Have a good cry. It is ok and even therapeutic. I did that last night and I am not ashamed of it.
Read a book or magazine. Reading is a form of stress relief.
Exercise is a great stress reliever and you feel better about yourself after a great workout.
Don’t sweat the small stuff…move on. Easier said then done but it is possible. Again I say deep breath.
Plan some events you will love. Force yourself out even if you don’t feel like it. I have found Meetup has an extensive list of activities to pull from when your family has been divided, and you need to find things to do on your own. I am going to a brunch today with some folks I have never met, and I am going to an ugly Christmas sweater dance this weekend. There are many times I have to force myself out due to what I will call “Chronic Divorce Funk” but once I attend I am always glad that I did and the Funk just seems to fade away.
Whatever you do this holiday season I hope you can find peace and joy. When you feel like you don’t know what to do and you feel the pressure building call out to God. He loves you and has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you.
God Bless you and Merry Christmas