Modern Dilemmas

Dear Alex, I have two kids, aged six and nine, who I deeply love and miss because my wife and I separated at the beginning of the year. This will be my first Christmas without them and I don't know what to do with myself. I usually love this time of year, but now I will be lonely and missing them so much. What can I do to survive it?

Survive you must because your kids need you. Not only that they need the full-on version of their father, not the shell. They need you because this is their first Christmas without you and it will be very strange for them too. No matter what presents they're given or how normal your ex tries to make it, there will be that huge gap.I don't need to tell you how sensitive children are to the adult world and how quickly they pick on bad atmospheres, so when you do get to see them you must put on your bravest face. I do sympathise with you greatly. Christmas is all about children and the day for you may be a painful one but it doesn't have to be a dead loss. You have a few options as to how you want to survive Christmas and it starts with your values and what's important to you the most. Ask yourself this; "when I look back on this how do I want it to look?" Sad, lonely or joyous and exciting? You decide the outcome and then go all out to create it. If you can, plan to head out to warmer climes, postponing Christmas until you're with your children. That way when you get to see them you'll be rejuvenated. If your budget can't stretch that far, then get together with other single friends and enjoy an indulgent time with no responsibility. Be committed to having fun and enjoying your status as a singleton Success of any kind is all about managing your emotions and making the most of what you have. Turn your worry on its head and decide that you are going to create a real and wonderful Christmas for you and your family.

Alexandra Watson is a Happiness Expert and best-selling author. Visit www. Time2