Marjorie JamesThe children are back in school. Football season has started (Go Seahawks!), and baseball is winding down. Trips to the beach will soon be replaced by standing on the sidelines in the rain while your soccer player makes a goal. Major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. If you don’t believe me, just go to Costco and look at all the decorations, wrapping paper, and bows!

Family events of all shapes and sizes loom on the horizon. Now that the family has changed its configuration through divorce, how to celebrate is a question that needs to be addressed. Ideally, this needs to be done during the Collaboration process long before the divorce is final, but in the midst of all the turmoil and emotion, decisions may be deferred or, if made, may need to be revisited.

Your family has always gone to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, or the grandparents have come to you. Now that there are two homes, what happens? In the article I have referenced in a previous posting, the couple decided to celebrate Thanksgiving like they always had, the family together in one home. I suspect that this decision is rare. Sometimes the emotions are still so raw that being in the same house would be tense at best.

Sometimes an ex-spouse will move out of town or out of state, which totally changes the dynamics of family holidays, including birthdays. Parents want the holidays and other family celebrations to be just that, celebrations. They are a golden opportunity to provide continuing happy memories for the children, even if distance makes it harder. Most agree that a plausible solution needs to be found.

What about gift giving? I have witnessed what has been referred to as the “knight in shining armor” syndrome; one parent can afford grand gifts, while the other is struggling to make ends meet. Holidays and other celebrations can either be times of great joy for children (and their parents) or stressful times for all.

Next week, I will have insights from a family counselor on what can be done to make holidays after divorce true celebrations. Do I hear “Jingle Bells” in the background?

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.