Marjorie JamesLast week, I started a list of Christmas gifts newly separated or divorced people can give themselves. They do not cost much, if anything, but they can turn into some of the most valuable gifts ever. Let us continue!

1. Give yourself permission to reach out to another family you know are newly single. The meal may be hot dogs and boxed mac and cheese, but the sound of laughter will make it special. Find an old CD of Christmas carols to listen to, or discover the tradition of walking around the neighborhood singing for your neighbors. The carols do not have to be in tune, just enthusiastic. Who knows, maybe a neighbor will invite you in for cocoa and cookies!

2. Give yourself permission to reach out to your ex-spouse. This one could be hard, but he or she is also experiencing a first Christmas without the intact family. Just a simple “Merry Christmas” on the phone would work, and it would be even better if the call goes to voice mail, right? Seriously, this could start both of you on the road to forgiveness and some sense of normalcy.

3. Give yourself the opportunity to work at a homeless shelter, mission, or church ministry. This time of the year, we get all sorts of mail asking for donations to help provide nutritious Christmas meals for the homeless and poor. Pick up the phone and ask if they need help. The joy of giving always brings joy to the giver.

I am sure that you can think of even more things you can do to make this holiday a very special one. Use your creativity and find new ways to celebrate. Believe in yourself and your future, and this Christmas could end up being one of those marvelous times you will never forget.

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