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Upcoming holidays and sadness

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lost4now posted 11/13/2013 10:02 AM

What is the best way to celebrate the first Christmas without us as a "family" and still have a joyful time??!

I am struggling with this big time! I LOVE Christmas and everything it represents. I have always done fun things with my daughters and have always had family and friends in our home for the holiday. My stbx inlaws live right next door. They always came over on Christmas morning to watch the kids open their presents. We always went to their house for Christmas dinner. Now my STBXH has his AP of five years living with him in his apartment. My inlaws of 22 years have met her. They have all gone out to dinner together. I can watch all of this from my kitchen window!!

Our marital home has sold and settlement is 1/3!!! So on top of Christmas and shopping, I need to pack up 22 years of our belongings and find a new home for me and my girls. I have NO money! I have no idea how I am going to do all of this. I am feeling so overwhelmed and all I want to do is NOTHING! I can't sleep. I wake up at all crazy hours and I am so very tired.

How one earth am I going to get thru the holiday and how do I figure out what to do about Christmas day!!????


suckstobeme posted 11/13/2013 10:14 AM

That's a lot on your plate. I wish I could come over to help.

For this year, I would say your mantra should be one thing at a time. If you are for certain that the move is going to happen, start packing. Throw out whatever you can and keep the bare minimum. Pack a little bit each day. Tackle something small at first like the linen closet. A little bit every day.

At the same time, look online for a few minutes each day to find a new place. Or, call a local realtor for help. Look at a few places, compare prices and see what you can afford.

Moving is the most important right now.

As far as the actual holiday goes, try to just minimize that for this year. Cut down on all the extras like baking and decorations. As long as you and the kids are together, it won't matter. I don't know how old they are, but your holiday this year might be a day of movies in pjs with ice cream for breakfast and Chinese food for dinner. Very low key - they will understand and recognize that new traditions are on the horizon. When you are in your new place and the dust has settled, you can have a big Christmas in July party.

It won't always be this way. It's overwhelming now, but in a year, you will look back with pride at how you got through it.

Ashland13 posted 11/13/2013 16:24 PM

We have a lot of this going on, too.

With no money also, we turn to crafting. There are still people in the world who enjoy getting them and it fills in time and keeps us busy.

One thing that helped me was to think about what I could control about the holidays and go with that. I don't make holidays about x or being in a couple right now, because he's gone. But my kids are not and my parents are not, so I try to family-orient the days while they are with me.

When they go on their holiday visiting with X, I either make a plan for my own visit if I feel social, with a friend or one of my family, or it's total down time and I go into isolation mode and do whatever I want at my house and make it about me.

It's really hard but it does get better and we can control how it goes and we can control the emotion part with what we let ourselves think of.

We have a very similar situation to yours and hopefully you have heavy drapes to shut? And a big speaker to turn up on your stereo or tv?

Changing your focus is going to help, away from in laws to people under your own roof, wherever it may be.

Changing my thinking of it as "our house" to "where we are staying" has helped, also...a little.

Thefly559 posted 11/13/2013 16:54 PM

I am sorry. I wish I knew how to deal with this. You are not alone I also have no idea how I will handle this. But I do know that I will!!!

Phoenix1 posted 11/13/2013 17:19 PM

I am sorry you have the packing and moving issue on top of the holidays. That is a tough one, for sure.

This will be our first holidays without XPOS. For Thanksgiving it will be just DD17 and me. We are already talking about our "new normal" plans and doing something totally nontraditional (DD17 doesn't like the whole turkey thing anyway). The plan is to grill hamburgers (even in snow) and have a movie day. Very low key and relaxed.

We are planning the same for Christmas. Was just talking to my older kids about our traditional Christmas Eve dinner that used to be just our family. This year I have extended the invite to their respective SOs, which will be totally new, and they are quite excited about it. Nothing fancy at all in terms of the meal itself.

On Christmas we are talking about doing something different or simply having another laid back day of relaxing, with a non-stressful meal. I am asking them what they would like to do. One thing I DO know is that anything will be an improvement over last year when XPOS was complaining all afternoon about having "cabin fever" and needing to get outside as he was going crazy. He drove us nuts with that, and it was totally out of the blue as he has never done anything like that so it really stood out. Fast forward, and we know that he really wanted to leave to go see OW and their demon spawn's first Christmas. Even DD17 remembers that clearly because it was so out of character at the time and she commented just the other day that she was glad she wouldn't have a repeat of that.

We will get through this! We just have to create our new traditions with our new normal! I have no idea how it will work out, but it will work one way or another.

I am so sorry you have so much on your plate. Focus on your priorities of moving and let the other things go. You can still do fun things with your kids and have family and friends over. Don't let STBX steal that from you!


Gr8Lady posted 11/14/2013 00:36 AM

I understand this with every fiber of my being. I won't lie, it is difficult. Fortunately for me I live one hour from Walt Disney World. They do a fantastic job of decorating and creating a truly Christmas atmosphere. That is my plan to create a new Christmas tradition as far as thanksgiving I will celebrate with friends, then attend a movie as a treat.

You need to find new tradition for the holidays o change things up.

I too so enjoyed big family holiday celebrations, I get it totally. :

[This message edited by Gr8Lady at 12:36 AM, November 14th (Thursday)]

abigailadams posted 11/14/2013 01:54 AM

I hear you.Your situation sounds really hard.

I too am facing moving during the holiday. MY DD and I will actually be between the marital home and out new home and in a sublet. However bad I know it will be better than last year with my stbx raging at my daughter because he knew he couldn't get a rise out of me. We might not be joyful but we will be peaceful.

And I second the crafting idea. this year I have had so much fun with DD making things for holidays. We made some pumpkin bats for Halloween that really made the holiday.

As for sleeping, get your doctor to prescribe something for you. I thought I needed anti-depressants but it was simply being sleep deprived.

Vulcanized posted 11/14/2013 04:42 AM

My new normal: walk/bike around my new neighborhood, enjoying the cold & holiday decorations. In lieu of the open house I'd have for the holidays, invite any/all orphans over instead.

My first Christmas after DD, I spent alone, looking for a place to kill myself. It was utterly horrible, and having made it thru, told myself that I'd never go thru that again. Every year gets a little better (4 years out). The first year is, by far, the hardest.


lost4now posted 11/14/2013 08:22 AM

Thank you!!! Once again, I feel better now that I got it out. I know that the holiday isn't about how much I buy but rather spending the time with the people who mean the most to me. I too will be glad to have a Christmas without the underlying stress of being suspicious every moment of my STBXH's many trips to the bathroom (you text OW!). That made me on edge every year for the past 6 years!

I was talking to my mom yesterday explaining my stress level and why and she reminded me that while this holiday will be f'ed up......I have had many of those f'ed up celebrations for the past 6 years. At least this year I can make it my own and make it different and special however I choose.

As for the money.....well, this is a different one for me for sure. We NEVER had a money problem. I spent whatever I wanted and never had to check prices. I know....spoiled! I really don't have any available cash right and because I need to move and purge anyway I am having a yard sale next weekend and I am selling everything I really don't need. I have a huge collection of coach purses that are going!! And that is just the tip of the iceberg of crap I have collected over the years! Whatever I make will be spent on my daughters. All of my family and friends know I am struggling financially right now and they will understand. My girls come first. The yard sale will help me get the packing and purging started.

I will make it!!!!!

SeanFLA posted 11/14/2013 09:54 AM

The first year is always the hardest. You are compiled with the fact that you have to move out also. The first year I was really lost and just tried to get through it for my child. I bought a new tree, decorated it how I wanted it with his help and had my mom come down for a visit. Unfortunately there really isn't a whole lot you can do but accept it. Just goes with the territory of what we have to eat with this mess. But once New Year's is over you will realize that you survived it and it wasn't as much of a big deal as you made it out to be in your head. The world didn't end and your daughter still loves you. Think about how you will improve on it next year. Just write this one off. And remember, there are always a lot of people off worse than you. Think of all those young soldiers sitting in crummy places around the world that can't even be with their families for the first time in their lives.

My mother isn't coming this year and my son will not be here until Xmas afternoon. I did tell myself that if it weren't for him, I would probably take a trip to Mexico and be on a beach somewhere experiencing a "different" Xmas. But in a place I would like to be. It gets better.

Charity411 posted 11/14/2013 14:31 PM

((((lost4now))) You've gotten some great advice here. My EX-WH told me he wanted a divorce on Thanksgiving Day. Of course it was after he ate the dinner I slaved away on. I too was then left facing a move and the Christmas holidays. It was very complicated.

I thought I'd hate particularly Thanksgiving forever. The first Thanksgiving I was facing completely alone was terrible. About a week before I decided there had to be other people in the same boat so I asked around. I was totally amazed at how many people faced the same dread. So I made the turkey and invited anyone with no where to go over as long as they brought something. It was the most fun Thanksgiving I ever had bar none.

Part of it was that I was free of the dread you carry around with a cheating spouse. You watch their every move and it's exhausting. Having a holiday without that was wonderful. I was surrounded by people (some I hardly knew) that didn't represent any baggage as far as I was concerned. No in-law tension, no pretending everything was ok, none of the negative stuff. By the time the day was over I wondered what it was I thought I was going to miss.

From then on I created my own holiday traditions. I didn't throw away all the old ones but I added inexpensive fun that made the holidays special to me and my daughter. And from then on I realized that we are only alone if we really choose to be. There is always some hungry bored person that feels just as left out as you. Sometimes when misery loves company it turns into joy.

Abbondad posted 11/14/2013 15:26 PM

I'm sorry, lost. First holiday season without my family too. It will be hard. Thanksgiving is always "my day" to shine for my family, as I was the chef. Great memories. I am taking my son to NYC to see the parade! So that will be awesome for him.

Xmas I'm not sure what the plans are. But I will try to make "my half" fun for the kids. It will be hard, I know, Lost, but we must stay busy busy. Don't wallow. Find some friends and invite yourself over :-). Make the home--such as it is--a festive place. It will be tinged with sadness and loss, for sure. But you've been through so much, you WILL get through this as well. You have your girls. Money comes and goes.

But it is very hard, I know. I wish you well.

whatdoto posted 11/14/2013 15:41 PM


Me too. First holiday in 19 years that I won't be doing our families traiditions. It's just me, DS15 and my mom.

Also, the dreaded, is this an odd year or ever year? Who gets DS15 on what days and for how long. I have to keep the decree handy during holidays now, as well as a calendar. It's like his A gave me a lifetime sentence of not being a fulltime anything except a worker.

Now I'm bawling my eyes out. Sad.

We use to go to San Antonio mid December every year, stay at the same hotel and enjoy the Riverwalk. DS15 doesn't want to go anymore. I'll have to create another "tradition" for us.

It's OK, I can do it. We all can.

((hugs to all))

Healing2012 posted 11/14/2013 15:46 PM

Ugh. You do have a lot to deal with - I'm mostly thinking about the in-laws next door. Don't know if I could handle that.

I am moving, too! December's that for a stressful holiday?

In all seriousness, the first holidays are hard. Last Christmas was my first without us all together. My family is three hours away and Christmas Eve was just me and my DS who was 4 years old at the time. He asked for spaghetti for dinner, so we had that and watched Christmas movies. I was pretty good until he went to bed. I couldn't sit by the tree at night like I usually love to do - made me want to cry. Christmas morning we opened our gifts and played. I made a big breakfast for just the two of us.

You know what? That was one of my favorite memories from the past year. I really anticipated being depressed and feeling pathetic, but I really didn't. I missed what used to be, but I was so happy to be with my DS.

I know I was lucky that my WH didn't come pick up our DS until later that evening. There were no arguments about that. And when they left, I felt sad, but I let myself cry. I'd been holding a lot of emotions in over those couple of days and I just needed to let it out.

You will get through this. It might suck, but enjoy the time with your children...and don't feel pressured into having the "perfect" holiday (a la Martha Stewart). Know your limits and don't push yourself.

Gr8Lady posted 11/15/2013 01:24 AM

Something else I forgot to mention is that my money is pretty tight. The days of extravagant gift giving is over. As corny as it sounds I bake holiday cookies, make picture albums. With the advantage of digital photos, even on our phones many people do not print anything out on photo paper. I watch for coupon offers at Walgreens and do themed photo books. Very inexpensive, very personal, and a nice nostalgic reminder of what the holiday should be. I have even framed some 8 x 10 pics and made a picture photo ornament.
My one splurge will be for admission to Disney, again have Discounted military ticket. It is my present to myself. I haven't been able to afford to go in several years and have been involved with false reconciliation, drama, and lies.
I will put as much thought into each gift and my grandchildren will receive a special toy I know they really want.
I am creating memories, new ones that hopefully indicate the extra preparation and care that goes into my gifting process.
On my mother in laws 80 th birthday, she was stunned with the photo book I gave her. The first thing out of her mouth was that she had no pictures of the great grandchildren. ( mainly because their parents are younger and do the Facebook posting). So for a person with limited or no technology pictures. This makes print outs even more special.
We have options for gifts and new creative holidays. Figure out what will work for your new tradition. We can SO do this.
And we will!

Abbondad posted 11/15/2013 05:29 AM

Something Sean wrote resonates with me, Lost, and it might be something to hold close as you struggle through the upcoming days:

The world didn't end

This, and variations of this, is what I frequently remind myself and have through the nightmare. The worst has never happened. What would have been or could be the worst?

I would have a complete breakdown and be unable to live, to care for myself and my kids. I didn't.

I would kill myself. Nope.

In other words, yes, a world we knew has concluded, shockingly, painfully. But THE world has not ended. Not yet. Not until we die. And although this often feels like a living death, we are alive, and lots of worlds exist for us--new worlds we create even as we bid a long funereal farewell to our old world.

Death of a Salesman: "Life is a casting off."
Cicero: "Where there is life, there is hope."

I wish you inner peace, Lost. You will find it.

tryingagain74 posted 11/15/2013 06:14 AM

PM coming to you!

lost4now posted 11/15/2013 11:14 AM

I'm so glad I posted this!!!!

Quite often, when a situation arises my initial reaction is to allow myself to play the victim. I go back to the pain and dread of finding out about the affair. I relive the pain. I don't know why I do this to myself! I get mired down in the gross awful feeling that somehow I deserved all of this and that I will fail at being alone in my new life!

So many of us, out of no wrongdoing on our own part, are beginning a new chapter in our lives. While this is the most frightening thing I have ever done I need to look at this as part of my new ME! My new life with my two daughters. I hope that they see power and confidence. I hope they expect more for themselves in every aspect of their lives because I am showing them that there is no other option.

I am committing to myself and SI that I will make this holiday special for myself and my girls. I love the photo book ideas!!! I think I will do one for each of my girls. Maybe I will take pictures of our house, all the rooms and outside too. Since this was their only home....they will miss it. We will be moving on January 3rd.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! I am no longer a victim. I have to remember that!

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