Surviving Divorce Around the Feasting Day
by Michael Heath
Celebrating holidays after a divorce can be tricky at best and heart wrenching at worst. This is especially true for someone experiencing a recent break up. There will be many changes to the way the traditions are enjoyed. It will likely mean days without loved ones. The adjustments will be difficult but can be managed with careful planning.
Thanksgiving and Children
It is common in a divorce settlement that holidays with children are alternated. Maybe Mom gets the kids at Thanksgiving while Dad has them for Christmas. The next year it is vice versa. Even if the mother has the children on Thanksgiving, the father doesn’t have to be out of the picture altogether. Dad can do a feast day earlier or later than the actual holiday. If that does not make sense, then try a trip to a farm for a hayride, a drive into the city to see a parade, or just walk a nature trail. Local high schools usually have football games on Thanksgiving morning or the night before. Dad and the kids don’t even have to love football to feel the excitement of the decades-long gridiron tradition.
An even better situation is to set all animosities aside and have a Thanksgiving dinner together. It may take some bravery on both sides but having a feast as a family could go a long way in tempering the trauma the divorce inflicts on the children. They will like an occasion where everyone is together. And remember that it is only one day. Ex-spouses can discuss whether a family get-together like this can be worked out.
If you must be away from the children on Thanksgiving Day, a Zoom meeting can be conducted so that there is a feeling of spending time with them. Make sure to coordinate this with your ex so that there is no conflict with his/her celebration schedule.
There may be some bitterness over the holiday arrangements, but a mom or dad must be very careful what is said to the kids. It is of utmost importance to not denigrate the other parent and/or their family. The kids are already unhappy that the family is broken up; saying nasty things only makes it worse. Always remember: it is your divorce and not theirs.
Alone on Thanksgiving
It is possible one may find oneself without a Thanksgiving invitation. Loneliness and depression could easily seep into a person’s mindset if not addressed. In this situation one could volunteer at a Salvation Army facility that is serving free dinners to the needy. What a great way to show the world you are thankful!
If you have a friend or relative in assisted living, Thanksgiving may be great day to pay them a visit. Bring them a pumpkin pie to store in their room and eat when they wish. They will be so happy for your effort.
See if there are any friends in a similar predicament and offer to join them for dinner. There may be even more like yourselves, and you could organize a gathering into a “Friendsgiving” event.
Wear a Smile
It is easy to feel nostalgic for what once was. Just remember that the holidays will always be there, and they will be celebrated differently. It is up to the person to make the best of what is, and each year try to make it even better. With the right determination Thanksgiving Day will turn into a Happy Thanksgiving.