Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family, and togetherness, but it can also be challenging for those going through a divorce – especially if it’s your first time. The traditions and memories you once shared with your spouse and children may be hard to recreate, and the pain of a recent divorce may be overwhelming. However, remember that Thanksgiving is still a time to be thankful and cherish the relationships you still have.
Here are seven tips to help you navigate your first Thanksgiving after divorce.
Talk to Your Kids and Leave Space for Their Feelings
Thanksgiving can be especially tough for children of divorce. They may feel confused, sad, or angry about the changes in their family. Talking to your children and reassuring them they are loved and valued is important. Let them know that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions and that you are there for them. It’s also essential to give your children space to express their feelings, even if they are difficult to hear.
Divorce can bring out bitterness, anger, and sadness, but the holiday is about focusing on what you’re grateful for. Model gratitude for your children by expressing thankfulness for the things that you have. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m thankful for you and your siblings,” or “I’m grateful for our home and our health.”
Maintain Continuity Where Possible
Although your family’s traditions may have changed, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of continuity where possible. This can be as simple as serving favorite foods or using familiar decorations. Maintaining some sense of normalcy can create a feeling of comfort and familiarity.
Plan Your Own Thanksgiving on Another Day
If spending Thanksgiving Day with your kids won’t happen this year because of your co-parenting schedule, consider celebrating Thanksgiving on another day. Adjusting the schedule can allow you to create new traditions with your children. You could plan a fun activity or prepare a special, non-traditional meal that you all enjoy.
Do Something Fun By Yourself
Thanksgiving Day can be lonely if you’re spending it by yourself. Don’t let it be. Take care of yourself and do something that makes you happy. This could be as simple as walking in nature, watching a favorite movie, or reading a good book. Taking care of yourself helps boost your mood and makes it easier to approach challenges positively.
Opt for a Friendsgiving
If you feel lonely or want to create new traditions, consider hosting a Friendsgiving. Invite friends over for a potluck meal and express your gratitude for one another. It’s a great way to enjoy the holiday with people you care about, whether or not you have family nearby.
Start a New Tradition
This new chapter is a great time to start a new tradition with your children or friends. Consider going on a hike, playing board games, or doing a holiday craft together. Starting a new tradition can create a sense of excitement and anticipation for future Thanksgivings to come.
Finding New Meaning During the Holidays
Divorce can make the holidays feel especially challenging. Still, it’s crucial to focus on what you are grateful for and the opportunity to create new and exciting traditions. Remember, Thanksgiving is a time to cherish the relationships that you have despite the challenges that life throws your way.
Wishing you a happy holiday, however you’re spending it.