Home for the Holidays: Celebrating as a Blended Family
COVID-19 has upended many traditions for families around the world this year, and Thanksgiving will be no exception for many of us throughout the Tampa Bay area. For some families though these changes are made even more difficult though with the complication of family changes. Divorce, remarriage, new custody arrangements, and more can cause added stress in the midst of uncertain times. Sessums Law Group believes in supporting families in the courtroom and beyond, so we’ve put together a few helpful tips for making this season easier as you prepare for the holidays in the midst of a pandemic.
If You Are Recently Divorced:
Obviously, a recent divorce leaves behind raw emotions, and you might not even have the desire to celebrate the holidays right now. If you have children, they are a good motivator to help you get into the holiday spirit, but we understand how hard that can be with many traditional activities being cancelled or altered in some way. Depending on the type of relationship you have with your ex, your children could be splitting their holidays between the two of you, and you’ll have to adjust to this schedule. Additionally, family interactions could be a little uncomfortable as your parents, siblings, cousins, etc. don’t know how to interact with you for fear of making you upset. The best way to avoid this is by addressing the elephant in the room. Instead of pretending that everything is normal when it isn’t, let them know up front that yes, things are different this year, but you are ok. Consider throwing in some fun, new traditions to overshadow the differences of your former spouse no longer being involved. If in person celebrations aren’t an option, host a “virtual” Thanksgiving, or cook a family dish together while Face timing one another on a group call. Also, remember to take care of yourself. A divorce or separation is emotionally draining, and if you need to step away from the holiday cheer to let yourself heal and process the changes that’s ok.
If You Are Divorced, and in A New Relationship:
If you are divorced and in a new relationship, or have remarried since last Christmas, there are definitely some ways you can prepare to avoid circumstances that leave you, or your significant other, embarrassed, uncomfortable, or upset. First, if your family and/or friends haven’t yet met your new significant other, let them know that he/she will be joining you for family gatherings and holiday festivities, even if they’re just online. If possible, let them know a few things about your new love (their name, for starters, as well as any pertinent details like whether or not they have children, their career, or anything else that could be a good conversation starter or help avoid awkward conversations). If you will be celebrating in person at family gatherings, prepare him/her for the various family gatherings or parties with longtime friends by filling them in on traditions, meal choices, names of other guests, etc. so they can go in feeling confident instead of wary. By being open and working together as a couple, and with your family and friends, you can more easily blend your family together and enjoy the holidays.
If You Have A Recent Divorcee in Your Family:
If a close friend or family member has recently gone through a divorce, or if they are seeing someone new following a divorce, you can play a big part in helping them this holiday season. Do your best to make them feel welcome and accommodate where you can. For example, if you know someone has recently divorced and will be spending the holiday alone, consider inviting them to an intimate dinner with just a handful of mutual friends either on the holiday itself, or the day before/after. If going out isn’t an option or if they aren’t comfortable attending in your home, ask if they’d accept a “Doorstep Thanksgiving” and drop off their favorite meal, a bottle of wine, a fun treat, or anything else that could lift their spirits and make the day seem more celebratory. If you are the family member of someone bringing in a new spouse, do your best to make them both feel welcome and comfortable, even if Thanksgiving dinner is online. Doing so will go a long way in building family bonds and if things return to normal by next year and we’re all celebrating together once again, your kindness will likely be remembered.
We hope your holiday season is full of fun, love, and happiness in the midst of unusual times, and that the above tips can help you more easily cope with your circumstances this year, whatever they may be. If you are currently facing a divorce or custody battle, Sessums Law Group is here to not just support you, but to STAND FOR YOU. We offer a variety of options to meet with you about your case, so if you aren’t yet comfortable in an in-person meeting or an office environment, you can choose to meet with us virtually. We are trusted throughout the greater Tampa Bay area to get the best possible results for our clients, and we are ready to help you achieve optimal results in your case.