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Divorced During Christmas

By: Hanna Storey

To an outsider, divorced children simply get to celebrate Christmas multiple times, enjoy multiple dinners, and get double the presents. But, as a child of divorce, this is not the case. Christmas traditions when my parents were married included celebrating with my Mom’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, and celebrating with my Dad’s side of the family on Christmas Day. Thankfully, we were able to keep these traditions through the divorce as we still celebrate Christmas Eve with my Mom and Christmas Day with my Dad. But, the house that Santa would visit switched every other year following the divorce, allowing for each parent to get to partake in this Christmas tradition. As a child this was extremely hard to embrace. Santa was one of our household’s most memorable Christmas traditions. My parents pulled up all the stops: writing a letter to us, leaving just one cookie with bite marks in it, and drink marks on the glass of milk. As Santa moved from house to house when my parents divorced, the tradition and spirit seemed as if it was no longer there.

However, as time went on and my parents remarried, we suddenly had new traditions as well as new family. Celebrating with this new family became hard to do as a parenting schedule dictates at what specific time we go from one house to another. This meant that many times my brother and I would miss out on the Christmas Eve party at my Dad’s house that all of our friends were attending and would then hear about. Or, that we would miss out on Christmas celebration with our stepdad’s family and the funny white elephant gifts that were exchanged. We were only told what happened at these functions after the fact. Children of divorce during the holidays may celebrate multiple times but do not get to be a part of everything as children with married parents do.

Now, as an eighteen year old I am able to choose what I would like to do for the first time in my life. This freedom is difficult as I do not wish for any feelings to be hurt, nor do I wish to spend any time apart from my brother as we have gone through this process together. But, this is the first Christmas I may be able to partake in all that is going on for just a short amount of time and possibly not have to be told what all occurred and instead be a part of the memories.

As I look to the future, I wonder what being an adult with divorced parents around the holidays will be like. While my parents were married they separated the holiday into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but there will be some difficulty in order to see both sides of my family as well as my future husband’s family. This is not something I blame my parents for, it is just something that I never thought growing up that I would have to figure out. Christmas is still such a joyous time during the year with or without parents being divorced, and I am sure my future family will enjoy all the extra food and celebrations.

Wishing y’all a Merry Christmas!