My daughter was 7 years old when she spent her first Christmas with my Ex after the divorce. Having spent the 3 prior Christmas’ with just the two of us, the thought of not having her with me filled me with mixed emotion. To add to this, I do not have any family that lives within 1000 miles of where I lived and faced the prospect of spending my Christmas alone. Wanting to have a joyful Christmas, I lived by the three following guidelines.

1. Not to harbor resentment against my Ex. I knew in my head it was my Ex’s legal right to have his daughter for Christmas. I also knew that it was the right for my daughter to spend Christmas with her father. Regardless, I still felt I was being cheated for Christmas and could feel a resentment growing against my Ex. I had to get to a place of acceptance that I would still spend Christmas with my daughter it just wouldn’t be on December 25th. I made the decision that year and every year since to have our Christmas when she returns from her visit. I have been very happy with this arrangement and have found that I enjoy having the wrapped gifts under a tree for a day or two more.

2. Don’t play martyr. A friend had asked me that first year what my plans were for Christmas. I had no desire to hop on a plane and be so far away for Christmas from my daughter even though we wouldn’t be together. I told my friend I had no plans. She made the observation that it sounded like my plan was to sulk all day. She was right and is what I needed to snap myself out of being self-centered. I went on that year to volunteer my time locally to be of service to those less fortunate that I am. It was a special Christmas for me and a lesson in humility and gratitude.

3. Enjoy the Holidays. I needed to remind myself that Christmas Day alone does not make up The Season. I needed to make sure that my daughter and I still enjoyed the activities we’ve come to do each year. I knew I needed to be upbeat about her going to spend Christmas with her Father. She was excited and I didn’t want to send her out the door feeling guilty about Mom spending it alone. I talked with her about how much I was looking forward to my holiday and the holiday we would spend together when she came home.

4. Tradition of Being of Service. I have had several Christmas’ by myself and each one I’ve done something a little different except for the common theme of being of service. One year when my Grandmother was 101, I traveled to spend Christmas with her in a nursing home when I learned she was going to be alone. That was a special year since it was her last Christmas and I was able to assist her in wishing every family member a Merry Christmas by phone.

This year, I will be spending Christmas without my daughter as well. This year will be a bit different. I’ve been dating a wonderful man for the past year who is a single father as well. We’ll be celebrating Christmas at my house with his extended family in the immediate area. I love to host dinner parties; so am looking forward to having everyone over. Upon hearing about our Christmas dinner together; my Ex offered to bring my daughter home mid-afternoon on Christmas so she can enjoy the afternoon and evening with us. I truly am blessed and so grateful that I elected years ago to halt that resentment with her father that was building. Her presence at the Christmas table is the best gift he can give me.

Author's Bio: 

Using my own life as living proof that extraordinary choices lead to an amazing life, I help others women do the same. As a divorced mother, I empower other divorcees to move out of their comfort zone and begin creating an extraordinary life for themselves and their children. For additional information about me, please join me at www.joylaughterpeace.com