Moving Christmas: Holidays After Divorce

Christmas is gone, so why am I bothering with a Christmas post? Now is the time of year that even the most die-hard Christmas fans begin to allow those God-awful Christmas car commercials to get to us. We want them to end. We are pondering taking down the tree and trying to figure out whether the kids will throw a bigger fit if we let them help or just strip the thing naked while they sleep. So why am I insisting on dragging this out? To give you an idea of what my Christmas was like.

Many of us end up splitting Christmas across our various families, in-laws, and traditional destinations. It’s the way of things this day and age. And, although sad but true, there is an ever growing number of us that split our personal Christmas due to divorce. This year I fall in with these ranks, troopers, all of us. I have one daughter and one ex and guess who landed custody over this particular holiday? Yep, the ex. I knew about this well in advance. I got Thanksgiving this year and he was going to get Christmas.

So when he showed up at 3 pm on Christmas Eve, I was not the least little bit surprised. It’s been long enough since the split and the custody order that the transfer from parent to parent has become less awkward. I, as a mother, feel that pang of separation each and every time. But it is no longer crippling and I, occasionally, find myself looking forward to weekends that my ex-husband takes her. Hey, don’t judge me. Any mom on here is grateful for those brief moments when someone else is wholly responsible for the children. Not just in the other room with Dad or Grandma, but out of the house with the promise of ten minutes to yourself and at least one opportunity to go potty all by yourself, uninterrupted and undisturbed.

But this time, 3 pm on Christmas Eve, well, it was a little harder. Yes, it was technically no different than any other time, but it was my first major holiday away from my daughter since her birth. I woke up on Saturday morning and it was just Saturday morning. We (my mom and I) went to see Tron and were blessed with a blissfully empty theater since everyone else was occupied with presents and turkey and candy canes. I wondered how many other Christmas-celebrators were skipping Christmas this year. Or at the very least, moving it.

I was the child of divorced parents but Christmases were never an issue. My dad never upheld the custody agreement so I always knew where I would wake up on Christmas morn. A fellow GeekMom writer said that she had the opposite side of the coin as a divorce kid. With four sets of family all expecting to provide her the bestest Christmas evah, the holidays were hairy for her. I solved the problem this year by simply moving Christmas. My daughter was able to fully enjoy the day with her dad and I made myself okay with celebrating our Christmas on Monday. It was easier than I expected and harder at the same time. Actually being divorced hasn’t been the emotional issue thus far. I kind of saw that coming. Being a divorced mom is the hard part and it was never harder than on Saturday morning when I looked in my daughter’s room and knew that she was having an experience that I could not, could never, be a part of. That will happen more and more often, I know. This was a first for me. It will get better. Not easier. Just better.

I moved Christmas. As a divorced parent, we do things differently sometimes. Add being a geek to the mix and even the mythology gets different. To ease my own qualms with adapting the mythology of Santa, I concocted a whole story as to why Santa felt the need to visit Momma’s (that’s me) house two days after Christmas Eve. My daughter is three and it didn’t make a bit of difference to her. There were goodies in her sock and presents under the tree, it was good for her. All my worrying amounted to nothing and we had a fantastic Christmas two days late. We moved Christmas. Did you?

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