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Tips for First Holiday Season

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MakingLemonade posted 10/30/2013 10:51 AM

This will be my first. Mental dysfunction in FOO has forced estrangement years ago so the only family I had was in-laws and now that's gone too. All my friends head out of town to visit extended family. Fortunately I have my kiddos both holidays and I don't want to squalor it on my emotions especially with it being my teen's last one at home before heading off to college. (Okay, I know it will be emotionally hard, but I really would like to minimize that as much as I can.)

Any tips? Already thought ahead and got rid of ornaments associated with XWH.

nowiknow23 posted 10/30/2013 11:12 AM

Take a good look at your traditions. The first holiday for me, I tried to keep everything just like it used to be for the kids. Lock stock and barrel. It was a bad idea. They were teens - they knew things weren't the same, and trying to do everything the same way just pointed out how different things really were. It put the focus on what was missing. Not good.

The second year, we were more deliberate. We kept a few of the old traditions, but started new ones as well. Ones that were for just the three of us. That pulled our focus forward - to creating new memories together.

heartache101 posted 10/30/2013 11:14 AM

MakingLemonade

I know I would go out with me and just the kids and pick out the xmas tree. Decorate it etc.. Make it your new Holiday Tradition to do together!
You can do a lot of that.
Chose either xmas eve or xmas and make the big meal. Otherwise have something else you can do together. Take in a game or a movie shop workout etc.

On thanksgiving you can maybe volunteer somewhere and give back etc...
Doesn't have to be humans you can volunteer at an animal shelter etc....

Newlease posted 10/30/2013 15:06 PM

Ask the kids what they want to do. It will be different - so you might as well acknowledge it and turn it into a positive.

Sending strength and peace.

NL

suckstobeme posted 10/30/2013 15:37 PM

We do things differently now too.

The most significant new tradition is going to the movies on Christmas day. I never knew it was such a popular thing but it actually helps break up the day a lot and gets us out of the house for a while without any stressors relating to visiting.

We open gifts in the morning, get dressed, go to a movie around noon (popcorn and snacks are half off so that's a bonus) and then we get home in time to cook our Christmas meal. I usually just have my mom and a few friends come over. It's very casual and ends up being a good day.

The first year can be hard so give yourself a break. My kids are younger but as they get older it might also be a great day to stay in pajamas, watch a ton of movies and never leave the couch. It doesn't have to be a Norman Rockwell painting - in fact, those scenes are usually bullshit anyway.

mom of 2 posted 10/30/2013 15:58 PM

My kids were teenagers when the X and I split up and I will skip everything I did wrong at Xmas the first couple years.

What worked for me was completely new traditions. And I scaled way back from the over the top decorating/planning/entertaining I did in the past. I keep things very simple now.

I no longer cook; I get Chinese or frozen appetizers for Xmas eve/day. We usually put the tree up Xmas eve instead of the day after Thanksgiving. Last year we went to IHOP for breakfast before opening gifts.

I try to come up with a silly game each year for my now young adult children to win inexpensive yet practical gifts. We also play board games on Xmas eve and Xmas day.

I LOVE suckstobeme's idea of the movies! Maybe we will do that this year.

Honestly I don't miss the hectic chaos of Christmases past at all!

nowiknow23 posted 10/30/2013 17:22 PM

I go to the movies after the kids head out with wasband in the afternoon. LOVE seeing movies on Christmas.

persevere posted 10/30/2013 19:12 PM

This will be holiday #3 since DDay (which happens to be only two weeks after Christmas). It's tough, but there are some great suggestions on this thread and I'm still working on new tradition ideas.

I try to come up with a silly game each year for my now young adult children to win inexpensive yet practical gifts. We also play board games on Xmas eve and Xmas day.
Love this!

And the movie idea is great too.

Definitely try to come up with something new, though it's okay to hold on to a few traditions if it feels right.

gahurts posted 10/31/2013 09:08 AM

Last year was my first new Christmas. I love the over the top decorating so I did that outside again but got a real tree -xWW made us get an artificial years ago. Well I gave her that and I got a live tree and put it in the middle of my entrance foyer. Right smack dab in your face in the middle.

Also- go down to F&G and sign up for the Christmas Card Exchange. The love you will feel from getting all those glitter filled cards is amazing. I laughed and cried and felt so great opening those cards.

Abbondad posted 10/31/2013 09:21 AM

This will be tough on me too--my first holiday season without my family.

Thanksgiving is the big one for me--I was the chef in the family--but I am taking my son to NYC for the Parade!(Surprised my STBXWW is "allowing" this.)

Offered her Xmas day with the kids and I will have them Xmas Eve.

That will be the rough one. Xmas never meant anything to me before I had kids, but Xmas with the family? Very special. So I'm not sure what I will do Xmas day. Session with therapist would be nice... ;-)

[This message edited by Abbondad at 9:25 AM, October 31st (Thursday)]

EvenKeel posted 10/31/2013 10:35 AM

My first Christmas it was important to me to have a new tree and a new theme for decorating. I did not throw out my old stuff - just took a break from it.

If you do not want to venture out that day, you could do movie-day in. My GF always buys lots of DVDs as gifts for her boys and they spend the day in their jammies, vegging out with movies and yummy food.

Abbondad - Do you have any single friends close by who you could do something with? Even if it is just hanging out, etc?

"but I am taking my son to NYC for the Parade"

THIS IS SOOOOO on my bucket list!!!!!!!!!! Wonder how far in advance you have to book a hotel there?

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 10:36 AM, October 31st (Thursday)]

gahurts posted 10/31/2013 17:39 PM

Abbondad - Do the big Cristmas day thing with the kids on the 24th! That's what I started doing last year.

I had it written in the D that xWW gats the kids every Christmas day (which she wanted) so that I can have them the week from the 27th till after New Year's so that they can see my parents who visit every year for that week. So I was wondering how I would do presents and stuff and decided that the kids would wake up to Santa bringing their stuff a day early. What a great surprise and they loved it.

For Christmas day you can run a bar thread here on SI. There will be a few of us here to join in with you.

Catwoman posted 10/31/2013 18:46 PM

Start your own tradition! You love to cook. . . How about a Christmas Eve festive supper/ early breakfast. Serve sparkling apple juice in champagne flutes (this will morph into real champagne as they are older), make an elaborate meal, put a fire in the fireplace nd watch cheezy old movies.

I was moved 1000 miles from my close family because ex wanted to start over after affair #2. He started over with affairs 3 and 4 and we divorced. We make out own traditions here. We go to a movie Christmas Day after a lovely meal. You have the power to make it all different--do so!

Cat

foxglove posted 10/31/2013 19:21 PM

The first year I was D, we didn't have many options since my father had just passed away, so we had to make some adjustments to accomodate my mom. The second year, we also had a nice meal, and then went to the movies. My kids are older, so it gave us a new tradition, but we also kept some of the old.

Bluebird26 posted 11/1/2013 07:54 AM

Work out some new traditions for your family, try and maintain some of the old ones too.

Last year we brought a new tree, new decorations.

We also started to have pancakes and ice cream for breakfast Kids loved it.

We also go to the cemetery to put flowers on my son's grave as well something we have always done.

My kids also have always gotten one gift from me on xmas eve so they get to unwrap that. That way on xmas morning it's Santa presents only.

Try and enjoy it, it is bitter sweet. Kids will take your lead it's ok to have some fun.

MakingLemonade posted 11/1/2013 09:51 AM

Thank you for the suggestions and warnings! You guys are fabulous!

gahurts: Glad you mentioned the card exchange otherwise I would not have signed up! Was dreading all the perfect family Christmas cards. I'll put them aside and get/send glitterbombs instead!

Abbondad: Thanksgiving parade! (jealous!) What a special memory that will be.

My kiddos liked the movie idea. I didn't realize so many people went on Christmas day. Thinking we'll go midday and do a dinner instead of traditional "linner".

I need to get myself a new Christmas stocking.

And for Thanksgiving dinner (instead of "linner"), I'll take the pressure off myself and order from Fresh Market.

Good to hear people are hanging out around here too. I'm sure I will be dropping in.

Junebug0525 posted 11/2/2013 09:21 AM

The first Christmas after the divorce was rough. Even though the year prior he was already screwing the OW, we still spent Christmas morning together. So...I treated myself. I bought a few things that I needed around the house on Black Friday (tool box, Shark floor cleaner, etc). I also went clothes shopping. I wrapped everything up and put it under the tree for me from Santa (DS still believed at that time). Then you can all have fun opening stuff together. Also, one of the traditions we have in my house from growing up is to open one gift on Christmas Eve. It's ALWAYS pajamas. That way we get to sleep in brand new, comfy PJs. You can all open new PJs, curl up and watch some kind of Christmas show while drinking egg nog or cider.

Abbondad posted 11/3/2013 20:11 PM


Abbondad - Do you have any single friends close by who you could do something with? Even if it is just hanging out, etc?

Sure. I'll probably hang out with my brother and/or Jewish friends (I'm half Jewish but always celebrated Xmas). I definitely won't be alone, but it will still be painful because I know my kids will be missing me so much.

"but I am taking my son to NYC for the Parade"

THIS IS SOOOOO on my bucket list!!!!!!!!!! Wonder how far in advance you have to book a hotel there?

:-) I know, I am very excited. It will be a first for me too. Some great memories will be forged. We just booked our hotel last week. It isn't a problem as long as it's downtown--far from the hell of Times Square and mid-town overall, where the parade actually is.

Abbondad - Do the big Christmas day thing with the kids on the 24th! That's what I started doing last year.

That's the plan, barring any possible craziness from the STBXWW, to whom Xmas eve is sacred. But again, very painful to watch them leave me on Xmas day.

I resolve to make Xmas eve special and fun for them. Maybe I can invite myself to one of their friends' houses for at least part of the evening, and then special time with Daddy.

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