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8 Ways To Handle The Holidays After Divorce

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Nov 19 2021

8 Ways to Handle the Holidays After Divorce

If this is your first holiday season after your divorce you are likely experiencing a lot of emotions and facing the challenges of navigating it all without your spouse.  The holidays are an adjustment for everyone in the family after a divorce, even extended family.  You may be feeling down but the holidays don’t have to be unhappy, you can still make it a memorable, joyous time for you and your children.  We have outlined 8 ways to handle the holidays after your divorce.

  1. Acknowledge All Your Emotions – There is no right or wrong way to feel about divorce or the holidays. You are likely feeling a lot of different emotions right now and that’s OK.  You may be sad, overwhelmed, angry, scared or excited.  You may feel all that at one time or it could change by the hour.  Acknowledge how you are feeling and know that it is perfectly normal to have a lot of mixed emotions right now.  Reach out to friends, family or therapist to help work through your emotions.  Find ways to help your process what you’re feeling such as exercise, going for a walk, binge-watching TV, meditating or going to lunch with friends.  Whatever works for you and helps you feel better.

  2. Make a Plan – During your divorce proceedings you outlined your visitation schedule with your ex and how you will split holidays with your children. The holidays bring lots of commitments, especially when it comes to children.  Make a plan with your ex on who will go to school events, make cookies for the holiday party, take the kids to see Santa and whatever events may come up.   Knowing ahead of time how you will navigate these events will alleviate some stress and hopefully eliminate any potential disagreements.  It’s also a good idea to have a plan together for events without your children.  You probably went to holidays parties and gatherings with your ex and now you will be flying solo.  Knowing what you need to do can help you feel organized and get you in a festive mood.

  3. Avoid Conflict with Your Ex – The focus should be on your children during the holidays. This includes keeping the peace with your ex and having open communication with them.  Make a conscious effort to avoid any conflict with your ex, children pick up on it when parents are not getting along.  The divorce is between you and your ex, it’s not the fault of the children.  Try and be flexible and accommodating.  Plans can change or something may come up that interferes with set visitation.  The more flexible you are, the more likely you will get that same treatment when you need it.  Communicate and coordinate children’s gifts with your ex.  Don’t try and out-do each other or overcompensate for the divorce with extravagant gifts.  Talking about it with your ex can keep things equal and eliminate any duplicate presents.

  4. Focus on Your Children – Your children are likely experiencing a lot of different emotions with the holidays and having their parents divorced. Keep your focus on them and making the holidays special for them.  Talk to them about what they are feeling and ask them what traditions are important to them.  Work together with them to keep what is important alive and make new traditions with the new family dynamic.

  5. Have Realistic Expectations – You can’t turn on the TV or go to a store without being bombarded with images of happy families and perfect holiday festivities. It’s hard to not let that get to you and make you feel bad about how your family looks now.  You know that nothing is perfect, no one’s holiday is perfect.  Set realistic expectations for your holiday.  Keep things simple and enjoy the season with your family and don’t put all that pressure on yourself to create a perfect, magical holiday.  Your children are happy to just spend time with you, they don’t need anything else. 

  6. Reach Out to Family and Friends – Your family and friends understand what you are going through, reach out to them for support. They likely don’t know what you need and you can’t expect them to be mind readers.  Let them know how they can help you.  It’s OK to go out and have fun too, spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the holidays.

  7. Focus on the Future Not the Past – Instead of dwelling on Christmas’ past, focus on your future. This is the start of your new life, start making new traditions and new memories.  What gets you in the holiday spirit?  Is it caroling, baking cookies, decorating, volunteering or listening to your favorite Christmas songs, whatever it is that puts you in the holiday mood, spend time doing what makes you happy.

  8. New Year’s Resolutions – This has probably been a long and stressful year, going through a divorce takes everything out of you. As you go into a new year, set resolutions that focus on you and becoming the person you want to be in the next chapter of your life.

The holidays can still be magical and full of joy with a positive attitude, planning and realistic expectations.  Don’t spend all your time thinking about how life used to be, focus on what you want from your future.  You just went through one of life’s hardest events and you survived.  Spend time with your loved ones and be thankful for the little blessings in your life.

At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have the experience, resources and skills to provide you with empathetic and compassionate legal service.  We are here to provide legal advice and the assistance you may need throughout your divorce.   We represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.


Florida Women’s Law Group