What was Thanksgiving like before the divorce? Was there a huge roast turkey on the table, finally ready for eating after tantalizing everyone with its aroma for hours? Were there last-minute rushes to the grocery store for extra cranberry sauce or whipped cream? Was it all topped by a feeling of togetherness as everyone gathered around the dinner table and started passing the bread rolls?
Now it’s different. This is your first Thanksgiving since the divorce, and your former spouse has the kids. A time that was once joyous now feels like an open wound. You don’t feel like cooking a sumptuous meal or even getting out of bed.
While these feelings are understandable, don’t let them convince you that Thanksgiving is a lost cause for you this year. Here are some suggestions for combating any feelings of loneliness and even creating a new tradition for holidays spent without the kids.
Have a special Thanksgiving with the kids
Tradition dictates that you celebrate Thanksgiving on a certain date, but why not take a different approach and double the fun in the process?
Many divorced parents create a workaround by having an “early bird” celebration when their ex has the kids on Thanksgiving Day. It can just be you and the children, or you can make it extra-festive by inviting grandparents and family friends.
Join someone else’s celebration
If you have family living close by, then join their Thanksgiving dinner. If not, then see if friends have an extra space at their table. Chances are that they’ll be happy to have you join them. If you arrive early enough to help with the preparations or offer to bring a bottle of wine and a side dish, then you’ll be greeted with special enthusiasm.
Let someone else make Thanksgiving dinner for you
Restaurants throughout New York serve Thanksgiving dinner for those who don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours in the kitchen preparing their own feast. If you know other divorced parents who will be alone on Thanksgiving, then ask them to join you.
Spend the day doing what you love
If you will be spending Thanksgiving alone, then use the day to indulge in activities that relax you. Read a book, go for a walk, or go see that movie you’ve been meaning to check out. If you have a new favorite series on Netflix, then give yourself permission to binge-watch. You deserve it.
Stay off social media
If you’re missing your kids on Thanksgiving, avoid social media as much as possible. Seeing them celebrating with your ex and his or her family can trigger loneliness and depression. Let this day be about you, and enjoy it until the kids come home.
If you are considering divorce, then speak to an attorney as soon as practical. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York divorce and family court lawyer who offers free in-office consultations. He represents clients in both contested and uncontested cases. Visit www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/Divorce to learn more or call 718-329-9500 to book an appointment.