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Sharon Zarozny Headshot

The Santa Split and Making It Through the Holidays

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Imagine the unthinkable -- a divorce in the works for Santa and Ms. Claus. Yes, the once jolly old couple is now bitterly splitting the reindeer, the elves, the toy factory and even their sleigh. Spending so much on legal battles that toys can't be made. Fighting over their one and only beloved red-nosed reindeer. It turns Christmas upside down and crushes dreams worldwide. It could even cancel Christmas, forever. The trickle down effect is unimaginable.

It's a devastating thought for all. Sadly, it's reality for many families dealing with separation and divorce. It can make December the loneliest month of the year, even when there are no kids involved. It's hard to be jolly and reach out to others when your world is split in so many ways.

Traditions, by their very nature, are about holding on to the past and creating memories to pass down to new generations. Traditions ground families. They help us create our identity and understand our place in the world.

Separation and divorce brings the opposite: Letting go of the known and embracing change. The transition brings chaos, shatters dreams and requires the courage to create a new way of living. And, if you have kids, a new way of being a family. It requires embracing change, a scary prospect for most.

Kids need the magic of Christmas. You need the magic. And, you need to know it's ok to be sad during the holidays. Traditions (and Hallmark commercials) can trigger tears and sadness. Indulge in those feelings a bit, but then find a way to move on. Whatever you do, make plans to be with others, even if it's simply getting to a movie by yourself. Know you are not alone... and the holidays will pass.

What if your kids come to you sad about the changes? Don't dismiss their feelings, but do remind them that change can be a good thing. After all, they now have two holiday celebrations to look forward to, and who wouldn't like that?

Instead of letting your family's breakup steal away the holiday season, create new traditions of comfort and joy. Look at hand-me down traditions, select the parts you love the most, ditch the ones you don't like, experiment with new ways, and then roll the best into a refreshingly new way to celebrate. If you have kids, involve them in the endeavor too.

It's a very empowering way to bring back the merriment.