"It's my exes turn to have the children for Christmas this year and it's all I can think about. It makes me so sad to think that I won't share Christmas Day with my kids, they are what Christmas is all about. What can I do?"
I received this Facebook message a few days ago. My heart goes out to you as I know how this feels. It can be difficult when you can't spend Christmas with your children, especially if they are young and still excited by the magic of it all.
As always, there are two ways to look at this:
- Option 1: Doom and gloom and wallow in self-pity about it
- Option 2: Do something constructive and positive and use my "Flip It" technique to turn this around
As those of you who follow my blogs and Facebook will know by now, my choice will be Option 2 every time, no matter how hard it is to do!
Flip it to see that 25th December is only a date. The important part of Christmas with your children are the magic moments such as leaving out a mince pie and a glass of port for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, decorating the tree and their faces when they see their stocking and presents under the tree.
And the good news is..... You can recreate these moments on ANY day!
Remember you are not alone, there are many of us reading this who are in the same boat. This year I don't have my little boy (who is 6 years old) as it is his turn to be with his Dad. So I have made plans already so that my son still has the special festive celebration with me and my family and also I manage my own emotions so that I don't miss out either.
I have chosen 20th, 21st and 22nd December to be our "Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day". We will do everything exactly the same as if it were 245h, 25th and 26th... just a little bit early! You can do it a little late if that works better with your access dates, the beauty is it really doesn't matter when it is.
Invite family and friends who understand your situation to come and join in the fun ... some of your friends may be in the same position so this works well but even if some are not most are happy to have an extra Christmas Day!
It is always best to explain to your child what is happening so they understand as best they can. Telling them that you are having a special Christmas early or late with them so they actually will get TWO Christmas' always goes down a treat!
This way you get to follow all the little traditions that you like to repeat each year and share it all with your kids. You don't miss out on anything. It really doesn't matter that the day is different. In fact you will probably find that it feels like the actual Christmas Day!
Two years ago my family and I got so into the festive spirit that when I asked my Dad to pop up to the local supermarket for some cranberry sauce he came back saying that he couldn't believe how busy it was for Christmas Day! I had to remind him that it wasn't REAL ... well only for us!
Try this idea and you will see how Christmas magic moments can be created on any day. This way you take control back of your situation and make sure that you celebrate just as you would if you had your kids on the 25th December.
The funny thing is that when the real Christmas Day rolls around you will feel like you have already done it! So you won't feel so bad about not having your children there with you.
Of course you need to plan your real Christmas Day in advance and make sure that you keep busy to stop your mind from wandering to less positive thoughts. Flip it so that you have the kind of
Christmas that you could not have had if your kids were there. Maybe one where you relax and put your feet up or one where you have a few drinks and stay up late.
Avoid seeing families with kids on Christmas Day if you think this will make you feel sad. However if you do have other children around you will be surprised at how well you cope if you use my idea above.
Another idea is to do something completely different for Christmas and go away for a few days, travel abroad or volunteer for a charity as they often need help over the festive period. Charity work is a great way to see your situation in perspective and help others in need.
The key is not to waste time worrying about Christmas Day. If you follow my advice you will feel much better about the holiday. Whilst you may miss your kids you will be able to deal with your situation much better than if you didn't recreate Christmas with them.
Remember we only live once so flip your situation and do something positive for your kids and you.