The holiday season is such a fun time to go to your mailbox. Why? Because in addition to bills and junk mail, you probably get some beautiful holiday and Christmas cards from family and friends! You get to see everyone’s kids, how much they’ve grown, and smiling, happy faces! But what happens when you get divorced and you’re not sure about the holiday and Christmas card etiquette?
What should the return address label read?
What should the greeting say?
How should you sign the card?
Can you still use “The Smiths?” even if “The Smiths aren’t living in the same house any longer?”
Will people think it’s weird if your ex isn’t in the picture? (literally?)
Should you even send them?
These are all really tough questions, especially if this is your first holiday season and Christmas as a newly separated or newly divorced person.
I got divorced during the month of August, so four months later, when the holiday season came around, sending a card didn’t really appeal to me. I was thinking, ‘We’re not a family anymore,’ ‘We’re broken,’ ‘Does anyone really want a card from a divorcee and her two kids?’
Looking back, that was the worst way to look at things, and a terrible way of thinking.
Of course you are still a family, you are definitely not broken, and yes, everyone who loves you wants a holiday or Christmas card from you and your kids! There, that’s your holiday or Christmas card etiquette right there!
Here is some holiday or Christmas card etiquette for divorce:
1. The address return label can just have your address on it, or you can still have it read, “The Smiths,” or, just have it be from you.
2. The greeting can be anything you want it to be!
3. I sign my cards every year with my name (I changed back to my maiden name) and then my kids first and last names. All of these things are your decisions and there are no right or wrong answers.
The only wrong answer is to not send a holiday or Christmas card after divorce because you are embarrassed or you think people don’t want one from you.
Be strong. Be tough. Send your holiday cards this year! There’s still time. You technically have until January 15th (in my opinion) to get your cards out, and if people receive them after Christmas, they will appreciate them even more because yours will come solo, and not with dozens of others that come right before Christmas!
Receiving a card from you tells people a few things:
1. You possess grace, strength, and courage. You have the confidence that your family unit is just as special as people who are married. (which is true.)
2. You care about saying Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to people you love and care about, and your divorce isn’t the enter of your universe.
Sending holiday or Christmas cards after divorce is empowering in a way. It sends a message that the spirit of the holiday season doesn’t go away because you got divorced.
Lastly, I want to address the question, does divorce change WHO you are sending the card to? Probably. For example, you might not be sending your soon-to-be ex-in-laws a Christmas card this year. But what about mutual friends, or friends who knew your ex first?
The best holiday or Christmas card etiquette is, take the high road. If you want to send someone a card, just do it. I bet no one ever said to themselves, “Shoot, I wish I wouldn’t have sent a card to so and so.”
The recipient might be shocked if he or she gets a card from you, probably in a good way, though. Don’t worry so much about what people might think. In other words, if you want to wish someone a Merry Christmas, there’s no rule that says you can’t!