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How to Prepare For the Holiday Season After Divorce

By November 16, 2022April 25th, 2024No Comments

The holiday season is only sometimes a happy and festive time for everyone. The holiday season can feel incredibly depressing and stressful for anyone who has just been through a divorce. In previous years, the holiday season was spent together with your ex-spouse creating memories and traditions as a family. This year will be different, and you may have lots of questions. Who will do what with the children? Do I still have to get my in-laws’ gifts? Will I see my children at Christmas?

However, it’s not a time to get down on yourself. It’s a time to move forward and create a new normal for this holiday season.

Five steps to help you prepare for the holiday season after divorce

Celebrating the holidays can be a happy and eventful time. With the new year approaching, it’s also a time to look forward to a new you. It only takes a positive outlook, careful planning, and realistic expectations.

Set holiday expectations for yourself.

Be prepared for good and the bad as you navigate this first holiday season after divorce. Set your expectations low. Low expectations will help alleviate stress and eliminate surprises. However, it’s also important to enjoy the holiday season. Do not spend time alone when you don’t have your children during the holiday season. It’s a great time to plan holiday events and activities and reconnect with your friends and loved ones.

Your children should feel excited about the holiday season.

Life after divorce will be a new normal for your children as well. They mustn’t feel the stress of the divorce because that is a stress they will remember every year during the holiday season. Remember, the divorce is between you and your ex, not them. As much as possible, allow the children the holidays they always celebrated. Although, a few traditions may be different. It’s crucial to communicate with your children how things might be a little different but that it is exciting to create new traditions and memories. Create a plan ahead of time of which traditions or events you will do with the children separately. You can create a holiday calendar for your children, so they know what to expect. This holiday season can be just as wonderful for your children if you and your ex-spouse work together towards a shared goal.

Create new holiday traditions.

As mentioned above, communicate to your children that although things are changing, creating new holiday traditions with each parent is exciting. As you co-parent with your ex-spouse, think of fun new traditions that can be uniquely yours. Examples would be; ice skating, baking cookies for family members or friends, seeing holiday lights, or attending a Christmas festival. The great thing about the holidays is there is plenty of activities to see and do.

Self-care is important.

Understandably, there will be days that you feel sad or depressed during this time. When you feel down, your body is also reacting in the same way. Therefore, taking care of yourself is essential to prevent your body from getting run down. Don’t think of days without your children as a negative; instead, think of it as time for yourself. Do something for yourself, like curling up to watch a holiday movie, going to the spa, doing some uninterrupted holiday shopping, or having drinks with friends.

Be thankful.

Divorce is difficult. However, there can be some positives that come out of getting a divorce. For example, if you had a strained relationship with some of your ex-spouse’s relatives, you no longer have to see them during the holidays. Remember, no matter how nasty the divorce was, there are plenty of things for which to be thankful. Think of at least five things you are thankful for this holiday season. Try to remember that divorce is both an end and a beginning.

Try not to wallow in the nostalgia and memories of past holidays. Avoid holiday destinations that will lead you down that path. Instead, focus on making new traditions by creating new memories you and your children will have together for years.

As you navigate this new normal, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.


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