- Home Alone for the Holidays
If you share holidays with your ex, you may be
facing a holiday alone this season without your child. It can be difficult to
be separated from your child, but you can get through the holiday with these
• Talk to your child. Make sure
your child understands where he or she will be spending the holiday. Mark the
plans on a calendar so that the schedule is solid in your child’s eyes. Explain
to your child that you will miss him or her while he/she is with the other parent
on the holiday, but point out that you’re happy that he/she will be having fun
and want him/her to have a good time. While it’s important to be honest with
your child, it is equally important that you not burden him or her with the
responsibility for your happiness. Don’t tell your child that you will be miserable,
lonely, in tears or completely depressed while he or she is with the other parent.
It’s ok to say you will miss him or her, but follow this statement with reassurances
that you’ll be together again soon.
• Make plans with your child.
Plan out with your child when you will celebrate the holiday together. It’s
not important what you do or when you do it, as long as you
plan a way for you and your child to celebrate the holiday together in some
way the next time you are together. This will help your child feel confident
that both parents are truly a part of his or her life and will give you something
to plan for and look forward to.
• Consider holidays together.
Some parents find that in the first few years after a divorce, it works best
if they spend important holidays together with their child (for example, having
the non-custodial parent come over to spend Christmas morning with the custodial
parent and child). If you think this option would work for you, try it.
• Touch base. Plan to have some
kind of contact with your child on the holiday itself. Call him or her on the
phone or even to stop by for a quick hug and kiss on the other parent’s front
porch (if you and the other parent agree this will not make your child upset).
Making contact with your child on the holiday itself will not only help your
child cope, but will help ease your own feelings of loneliness.
• Make plans for yourself. The
key to getting through a major holiday without your child is to plan ahead for
it. If your family celebrates together for this holiday, get involved in planning
the event and look forward to spending the day with them. Plan a get together
with friends or spend the day wrapping gifts for your child. It doesn’t matter
what you do, as long as you plan something out.
• Think about what you want. Give
some thought to what you really want to get out of this holiday. Are there things
you have always wanted to do, but have never been able to? Maybe you’ve always
wanted to go to a football game on Thanksgiving Day, perhaps you always dreamed
of caroling on Christmas Eve or hoped to host a Kwanzaa feast. Now is your chance
to fulfill your holiday wish list.
Filling Alone Time
Even if you’ll be attending a party or hosting
some kind of event, there will be some time on the holiday when you will be
alone and if you have no plans, the day may loom long and empty before you.
Take some time before the day comes around to plan out some things you can do
on your own. Look around your community for events celebrating the holiday –
church services, community get-togethers, civic events, single parent gatherings
and so on. Don’t be afraid to go alone – there are a lot of other parents who
are also alone on holidays.
If your day still looks wide open, make a list
of things you can do just by yourself. These don’t have to be earth-shattering,
spectacular plans. Anything that makes you happy and gives you something to
do works. Try some of these suggestions:
- take a long walk alone
- buy a special meal to have alone at home
- cook a special meal for yourself
- go to a movie
- read a good book
- rent videos
- give yourself a home beauty treatment
- buy yourself something you’ve been wanting –
wrap it up for yourself to unwrap if you want
- get a big project done around the house, such
as painting or wallpapering
- organize your photographs or make scrapbooks
- clean out your closets or basement
- get a big project done for work
- give some time to a local charity
- stay in bed all day
- go away for the day or the weekend to someplace
you’ve always wanted to visit
- chat online with other parents who are alone
- create something special to surprise your child
with – a mural on his or her wall, a batch of cookies, a fort you built in the
backyard and so on
- start a new hobby – start knitting, hit some
golf balls, make wreaths, build model airplanes – anything that is new that
The key to remember is that you can get through
a holiday alone and that real holidays with your child happen when you make