Christmas is a particularly difficult time of year for those going through divorce and separation.
Wikivorce has always offered additional support for its members at this time of year, our chat-rooms remain open 24 hours each day, and our forums and blogging area are accessible to registered members at all times. It is free to join Wikivorce, and free to use our resources and post on our forum and use our chat-room.
If you will be alone this year just pop in to the chat-room, you don`t need to talk if you don`t want too just listen to the others, you will be made very welcome. It is important to know that you are not alone, and there is no need to suffer in silence. While our members here are very supportive and offer and provide much-needed empathy and shoulders to lean on, we can''t provide the same level of support that professional organisations who have properly trained staff that deal with people suffering from depression, emotional stress, etc.
Wikivorce is a caring community, and we all do our best to support others during difficult times. If you are able to offer a little extra support during this time to those who most need it, your contribution is very welcome. If you require support, then you are in the right place. I will make sure I am on site throughout the festive period, so feel free to drop me a private message if I can help at all.
If you do find yourself alone this Christmas, be kind to yourself;
You don’t need to have the same traditions you had when you were married. If you are alone it is an opportunity to start over and do what really matters to you.
Volunteer your time over the festive season:
Soup Kitchens – Providing a Christmas dinner for people who won’t have one is the job of many soup kitchens around the country. Some kitchens can use volunteers to help out – consider offering your hands to dish out food and your smiles to convey warmth for a few hours on Christmas Day. You’ll get a chance to mingle with other food servers and sit down and enjoy a hot meal yourself.
Nursing Homes – Many elderly people will be spending their holiday alone or in the company of other people who are aged, infirm or both. Your local nursing home may welcome your visit even if you’re not related to anyone living there. Stop by, bring some smiles and shake hands and offer hugs to patients and staff alike – you’ll bring some Christmas joy to people needing to know that others truly do care for them.
There will also be lots of local opportunities, so have a search online, or contact local charities/places of worship for more information.
It really is easy to start spinning in your mind that you are alone when not in the usual company of family and friends at home for the holidays. It''s important to remember that while you may not physically be there, you are far from being alone. Call your family and friends, or arrange video calls.
The chances that you know other people who will be alone for Christmas are perhaps greater than you think. Lots of people have family stretched across the country and simply cannot visit for the holidays. Why not host a dinner party for these people? Consider potluck or prepare the main dishes yourself, leaving breads, desserts, wine and drinks to your guests. Ask everyone to bring one small gift for a gift exchange, deck your place in Christmas decorations and turn on some merry music to make this holiday a special one.
Be kind to yourself – set some time aside to read a book, or go for a long walk, start a new project, write a blog, binge-watch that series you’ve been meaning to catch up on
Children quickly get used to the idea of two birthdays, two Christmases, etc – and often enjoy this more than we as adults would think. Don''t get all worked up over the date on the calendar – you can still do all the usual traditional things, just be a few days earlier/later if the children are spending the Christmas/celebratory period with their other parent. Its about the day you all have together, not the date you have it on. While they are away, keep yourself occupied - deep clean the house, sort out cupboards, long walks to clear your head and get your endorphins pumping, curl up with a cuppa and some chocolate and a favourite film (not a weepie!)
Regarding Christmas, why not have a quiet one at home with your children? You don''t need to paint on a happy face for others, or endure the questioning that families tend to inflict on us, just relax, and enjoy some time with your children.
The focus on festive support for divorcing/separating people is often on being apart from their children; there tends to not be so much focus on those who don’t have children (either young or grown-up) and will spend the day alone, surrounded by the tinsel-covered adverts showing what a perfect Christmas should be. Make Christmas Day one where you are kind to yourself, doing something you enjoy, go for a walk, gather other single friends together for a meal or drinks, indulge yourself in a way that you don''t normally do during the rest of the year.
How will you be spending Christmas, and what are your tips for others during this time?
On behalf of Wikivorce, I would like wish you a Merry Christmas, and a much improved year for you next year.
Thank you Ruby. Well here goes with my attempt to help out - even though it may not seem so from the start. So please bear with.
I have no family whatsoever, so I know very well the feelings associated with facing Christmas on your own. For the first few years kind friends invited me to celebrate with them, and wonderful Christmases they had too. The trouble with that though was that it was their family, their traditions and their home. When it was time to leave the wonderful warmth of those festive homes, in the dark, I was exhausted, and emotionally spent. Every time I would drive a little way, stop the car (one year it was way past midnight) and just sob. So after the third year doing this as I sat crying down a pitch black empty country lane, I vowed never again, instead I would make my Christmas day special - on my own.
Surprisingly it''s more than just OK, it''s rather fun. Yes I do allow myself a little lonely weep if the need arises. But I cheer myself up by remembering that no one is shouting, I''m snug and safe. I''m not about to overeat as I wasn''t tempted by all the rubbish food in the dreadful supermarket crush, because I didn''t have to go to the supermarket with every other harried woman, shopping to eventually feed the dustbin or inflating girths. I do take Christmas day off though, so no DIY, cleaning or such like. This is a day for pampering me, manicure, pedicure, get the fire lit, along with candles etc to make my home super comfy. I have nice food, watch TV, doze off, read, doze off and above all count my blessings.
But the run up and after Christmas is something else. In the early days I hadn''t made my new life, so actually it was pretty empty, nowadays it''s not. Thanks to a little voluntary work, pursuing new interests, becoming a part time employee, and making wonderful, and I mean truly wonderful new friends as well as being able to reconnect with old ones, I''m having a wonderful run up to Christmas and afterwards.
This year I am spending Christmas Day with a friend and her parents, but because there will just be the 4 of us, I don''t fear that horrible overwhelming bereft feeling when I leave. And I am going to other friends on Boxing Day too. All of which I''m looking forward to. However the day that I''m really anticipating is Christmas Eve, that will be my Christmas, mine to spoil myself as much as I want. Definitely a walk after a late breakfast and then a completely guilt free day with Carols from Kings filling the house with joy.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas. It might be different to the past, but it just might end up being better.
Nothing to add to the wise and supportive words from Ruby and Forrester other than to say that it really does get easier. Third Christmas now since finding out marriage not what I thought and whilst pangs of sadness at memories of Christmases when children were younger and all the family traditions, being free from a lot of the stresses involved in attempting to create the perfect family Christmas, the overspending and over indulgence and sheer hard work of it all is liberating. Just so pleased to be getting to the end of the year in a much better state than I was at the beginning - will enjoy the rest from work (though consider myself fortunate to be working) and enjoy celebrating Christmas in a more relaxed manner. Ironically much busier socially than I ever was in marriage - and again feel fortunate in this respect. Wikivorce helped me through the last two Christmases (and New Years) which were pretty miserable but now I am in a position to let go of what was and have the confidence and will to do things differently. Best Wishes to all.
I love Xmas,a complete and utter sucker for all the hype,but I know that it is also the saddest time of the year.The ad men want us all to believe that Mam,Dad and 2-4 kids are all sat enjoying their time together,playing games,eating and drinking stuff we normally don''t.We are all in love and we are safe from the horror of divorce:dry: ....
Reality check the Ad men get it wrong,okay some people may have that Xmas,but there are quite a few of us,that Xmas was the time it fell apart,and I don''t think this year will be differant:huh:
Each and everyone of us should do as we wish,we can be selfish if we want,we don''t have to conform to anybody''s agenda,but if your anxious some brilliant ideas above,and yes believe me..You will make a difference to someone''s life..
I will be working Xmas morning,then spend it with my family,siblings included,we raise a glass to people above,and always have some sort of convo about them also..
I would like to add my Xmas wishes for each and everyone of you,and my promise that next year will be better.
Unless you have small children, who are going to want Santa and all the usual things we do at Christmas, my advice is not to slavishly try to copy what you’ve traditionally done. If the missing person is the only difference this year, they will be ‘a presence’ which may derail your efforts to be positive for everyone’s sake. If you have to take charge, make some changes. If you’ve always done a big family lunch, can someone else take care if the cooking this year? If for years you’ve been cooking a traditional turkey meal to please everyone else when all you really wanted was a curry, now is your chance! Can you shop online? The shops are playing the same old emotional Christmas songs - avoid, avoid, avoid!
If you have no choice but to spend Christmas alone, you might take the opportunity to chill and pamper yourself with some treats. If you’ve been working long hours and only have two days break, chilling at home with a glass of something sparkling and a take away may be just the boost you need. I decided I couldn’t face the first Christmas so the family went on holiday and if you can afford it, it’s a great idea to get away. Yes, I was still sad, but I was doing something very different and for me that was a welcome relief.
Don''t feel compelled to accept invitations if you''d really rather be alone. Sometimes, being in a room full of people who simply don''t understand how you’re feeling, can actually make things worse. Usually I advocate accepting all invitations, even ones that take you way out of your comfort zone, but trying to join in someone else’s Christmas fun can emphasise the feelings of loss, so think carefully before accepting. If you''re not sure whether you want to accept an invitation, why not compromise and say you’d love to call in for a drink, but when you’ve had enough make a polite excuse and spend the rest of the day doing what you want. Don’t cut people off, remember they were kind enough to think of you, but maybe this year you’re not ready to join in for long.
If you''re really not happy about facing a Christmas on your own, volunteering somewhere like Crisis or local charities, helping to provide meals for the homeless might be a solution. It may seem daunting, but worth a try if you truly can’t face being alone.
Please don''t imagine you’re the only one feeling lonely, many people experience loneliness at Christmas and it seems magnified when you think everyone else is having a great time. If you feel lonely, it’s important to try to talk to someone like a counsellor, friends or family. It''s far better to acknowledge your feelings and understand that they are valid, real and perfectly normal.
Take a look at the campaigntoendloneliness where you will find a helpline for anyone feeling alone. And don''t forget, there''s a large community of supportive people to chat with here on wikivorce, many who will be dealing with the very same lonely feelings. There will be some of the many regular volunteers around over the Christmas period to help cheer you up.
If you are not in a good place right now, try to avoid the triggers which will take you down further. I know it''s really hard, honestly I do but it does get better and I and lots of others on here are proof that it does.
This is my 4th Christmas since my ex left and its feeling like it''s going to be the best Christmas I''ve had in a very very long time. When I was a kid, money was tight and we lived very much hand to mouth, it wasn''t the best of a life but at Christmas my parents went completely over the top. They no doubt went into a lot of debt to give their five children a Christmas to remember but it''s because of this that I love Christmas. It was magical, happy, exciting and full of wonder. I particularly remember being out late on Christmas Eve one year, it was bitterly cold and the ground glistened with ice. My aunty told me that it was the fairies beneath my feet who were busy running around helping Santa and that''s why the ground looked so sparkly. I''ve been a sucker for anything that glistens ever since and this year ( actually since the 2nd week of November ) I have turned the house into a winter wonderland of sparkle. Less is more, well not this year, not in this house. There''s no one here to dampen my enthusiasm or ridicule my love of Christmas. And there''s no one here trying to stop me trying to recreate the Christmas day that my parents gave to me. That''s why this one feels like it''s going to be really good because for the first time in all those years I think I might have done it. My kids are thoroughly enjoying my giddiness as I am gearing up to Christmas Eve, which is without doubt my favorite day in the whole year.
Unfortunately I don''t think many of us get a lot of time off at Christmas and the festive period is over way to quickly which is why I am milking every minute of it.
My ex left me in 2012 and my first Christmas was a couple of months later. My first one was hard and I didn''t know what to do. I got it all wrong and Foresters experience of sharing it with others romped home. I''ve been invited to Christmas dinner with family and friends but funnily enough they all said " she won''t come " and they are right I won''t. My Christmas is here with my boys, it''s where I belong.
If this year is hard for you, hang on in there, it does get better, I promise you.
There is no escaping the fact that if you are a parent prevented from having contact with your children Christmas is the most miserable time of the year and the most difficult to get through. Acknowledging that, and realising that there are many other parents in the same situation is a good start.
I spent eight Christmases in that situation, and firmly believed I would never see my son again, though we have since been reunited. I can honestly say that it didn''t get any easier, the longer a situation like that endures the worse it gets.
My advice would be to treat the Christmas period like any other; if at all possible, continue working. For my first couple of Christmases I was working in television and was able to work the Christmas day shifts. If you can''t go to work, Mitchum''s advice is excellent - do some charity work, such as helping with the homeless, though you need to set this up well in advance and will need to be checked. Listening to other people''s stories can take your mind off your own.
An alternative, if you can afford it, is a cheap package deal - go abroad, preferably to a non-Christian country; avoid the season altogether.
It is probably a good thing to be with other people, and to avoid drinking too much. Sometimes friends may invite you for the day, but I would avoid that, especially if they have children of their own, you will simply make their Christmas miserable.
Just remember that Christmas is only one day, and that you will soon be back at work and the world will be back to normal.