How to make the most of your first Christmas apart
Dec 06, 2021
How to make the best of your first Christmas apart
When Ted Lasso, one of TV’s most likeable heroes, faced his first post-divorce Christmas he was saved from a day of drinking and watching movies alone by a friend who took him out volunteering.
Keeping busy taking care of others is terrific if you feel up for it, but it’s not the only option if you’re facing some or all of the Christmas break alone. The truth is you are going to feel what you’re going to feel but focussing on the things you can control can really help.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Celebrate the things you no longer need to do
If you have always found Christmas with your in-laws to be (insert word of your choosing!) then the good news is that you never have to go through that again.
Perhaps you were always under pressure to buy gifts, celebrate customs that aren’t your thing, cook elaborate meals or travel to places you didn’t want to be? Hooray! Or even, yippee ki-yay perhaps? This is your chance to take stock, let it go and decide what you’d rather do from here.
2. If you have children, talk with your ex early about how to share time with them
Working out with your ex how you’ll each spend time with your children is an important conversation best not left until the last minute. Some options include:
• Spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with one parent, then swapping before lunch so the children spend the rest of Christmas Day with their other parent.
• Spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until after lunch with one parent, then swapping so the children spend Christmas evening and Boxing Day with their other parent.
• Creating an extra ‘Christmas Day’ the week before or the week after so your kids get double the celebration and you each get lots of quality time.
If your extended family want to see your kids but you just want to keep things low key, consider inviting them to meet you somewhere like a park or a beach for a picnic, or pick one family event so you don’t spend all day in the car.
3. Take care of yourself
The festive season can be stressful at the best of times, and if you don’t feel like partying this year that’s fine. Focus instead on what you would like to do and treat yourself to that. Perhaps it’s the perfect time for a holiday, or a project you’ve never had time for.
4. Don’t over commit
If someone invites you to join them for Christmas and you’re not sure how you’ll feel on the day, perhaps you could commit to just a couple of hours. That way you can leave without making excuses or decide to stay longer if you are having fun.
How can amica help?
amica is a smart and simple online tool to guide separating couples through parenting, property and money decisions in an amicable way. It was designed by family lawyers to help guide separating couples through the process in an accurate, calm and fair way. It uses artificial intelligence to suggest a fair division of money and property, which takes into account the length of the relationship, assets and earnings, age and health needs, contributions to the relationship, arrangements for taking care of children and future needs. It makes practical suggestions for parenting arrangements that suit your family situation, including how to share special occasions, like Christmas. At the end of the process you can download a document that sets out what you’ve agreed.
Go to amica.gov.au.