gingerbreadman‘Tis the season for joy, cheer, family fun and goodwill toward others. But what if you’re separated or divorced and live too far away from your children to spend Christmas with them? It’s impossible not to feel a bit jealous, lonely, sad, angry and even resentful. And it’s hard not to imagine your ex and the kids having the perfect family holiday without you. Ouch!

Here are a few helpful tips to help you cope…and feel closer to your kids…at Christmas when you can’t be with the one(s) you love most:

Create traditions from afar. Just because you can’t be there in person doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy meaningful rituals with your kids. Send a special ornament with a favorite photo of you and your child that he/she can hang on the tree or a special Santa hat with their name on it that they can wear throughout the day. Write an email that recalls memories of Christmases of the past and the special moments you remember of your child on that day. Include lots of pictures!

Help them help you. Send your kids a gift (a puzzle, gingerbread house, jewelry or car model kit) that requires them to create or put something together and send back to you when it’s finished. Tell them you can’t wait for it to arrive and promise to display it proudly in a prominent place.

Set up a Santa Skype. Coordinate with your ex a good time for you and your child to video chat on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Make this the time when your child opens the presents you sent him/her so you can enjoy the anticipation and the reaction. Be sure to end the chat with tons of holiday hugs and kisses.

Expect to be overwhelmed with emotion once your video chat ends, and allow yourself to feel the inevitable sadness. Then move on by pulling out next year’s calendar and start planning your next mother/father and child reunion!

Sending you strength for the holidays and warmest wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Coach Todd Reed, CPC