The Holidays: Divorced Parents Edition by Zachary Dresser

All of us have heard it in the movies : “TWO CHRISTMASES!!!” The expression that young children belt out when they first hear of their parents splitting. Joking aside, undergoing a divorce is a very emotional time for the parents and kids.
Dealing with divorce around the holidays can be challenging for both parents and children and is a highly sensitive issue. As a child of divorced parents, I know first hand how the holidays can be. I remember wondering years ago when my folks split what my future Christmases would look like, and in retrospect, it’s not so bad.
So whether you’ve lived many holidays with split parents, this one coming up is your first, or you are a parent, here are a few tips to help you get through what might seem like an abnormal time.
First and foremost, always remember what the holidays are about. For me, Christmas serves as a time to share with my family. It is not often that an entire family can gather together, and if your family is anything like mine, December 25th may be the only day to see them – so enjoy it. When my mom and dad divorced I began to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins less and less, so I look forward to Christmas as a time to be united as a family. This time is so special and important to me and I cannot wait for it to come around so I can see the people I love the most. Being surrounded by family helps any person understand more about their ancestry and themselves.
Just because your parents are divorced does not mean that Christmas is any less of a fun time. The first Christmas without married parents, I remember being so excited (and almost shocked) to see gingerbread men, the christmas tree, and all of the decorations around my house. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but my young self enjoyed everything just as much as I did when my parents were still together. I took this lesson to heart and do not let my parents divorce get in the way of my happiness, or really anything. For others with divorced parents, note this. The feeling that I had that Christmas morning validated that things weren’t really that different and although things were changing, there was no need to let the thought of divorce take over my mind.
Keeping things normal is so important during this fragile time. There were a lot of transitions involved with my parent’s divorce, but I always felt that things never really changed. We never stopped loving each other, and excluding a few obvious changes, the holidays were about the same. This was reassuring to me in a time that I needed it the most. Looking back, that first Christmas was so important to feeling like things were normal again.
Having two Christmases is different, of course, but it’s easy to get used to. Trust me. There is something to the “TWO CHRISTMASES!!!” quote. In my experience, having divorced parents around this time of year just provides more joy and love.
In a tough and fragile stage in a families’ life, divorce is nothing to let take over your holidays, stay merry and remember why we say ’tis the season!’

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