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How to Navigate the Holidays After Divorce

Getting through the divorce process can be emotional and draining. Life after divorce can be challenging as well. Couples and families have to establish new routines, traditions, and norms.

The holidays are different for everyone. While some may see this as “the most wonderful time of year,” others may feel stressed because of family dynamics and obligations. After a divorce, you no longer have a partner to share in the joy or the load.

While you may be worried about handling the holidays now, this season can still be merry and bright for you and your family. Below, we walk through tips for divorced singles and co-parents as they navigate the holiday season post-divorce.

Tips for Facing the Holiday Season After a Divorce

Handling the holidays after your divorce is finalized can be challenging. Here are 6 tips to help make the holidays more manageable:

  1. Reach out to friends and family. If you’re struggling, it’s okay to ask for help and/or a listening ear. The best way to get the help you need is to communicate your needs and wants to those around you whom you love and trust.
  2. Don’t spend the season alone. While alone time can be rejuvenating, it can also be isolating. The holidays are supposed to be fun and cheerful, so plan ahead and fill up some of your free time with arrangements with friends and family.
  3. Be honest with yourself. Your life has changed. Divorce can affect more than just your spousal relationship—possibly impacting other relationships, your finances, and your free time. Acknowledging these changes is important. You can’t get the help you need or face the season without accepting that things will be different.
  4. Make new traditions. Create traditions that are your own. While family and joint traditions are no longer possible, that’s alright. Consider traditions you’ve always wanted to try and what memories you’re excited to make—even if it’s solo.
  5. Prioritize self-care. The hustle and bustle of the season can keep you busy, as can time spent with loved ones. Make sure you take time for yourself. You can only be there for others if you’ve already devoted the time needed to take care of yourself first.
  6. Practice gratitude. There are a lot of scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude, such as better physical and psychological health, improved sleep, and an increase in self-esteem. While change is hard, there can be positives all around, such as the blessing of a new beginning, no longer having to deal with in-laws, and/or the joy of falling in love with yourself again.

Tips for Parents

During your divorce, you and your ex-partner created a parenting plan, which should include a holiday schedule. Your kids may spend the holiday solely with your partner—in that case, you should heed the advice from the previous list.

If you and your ex-partner plan to split time during this holiday season, you can reduce co-parenting stress by:

  1. Sticking to the schedule. Honoring what you both agreed on is important. To avoid confusion and/or surprises, you and your ex should review the agreed-upon schedule and make a point to stick to it.
  2. Preparing your children for what to expect. You and your ex should talk with your kids to explain how the holidays will look this year, especially if it’s the first holiday that looks different. As your kids grow, their understanding of the divorce, their emotions, and really everything develops and changes, which is why they can benefit from emotional and mental preparation of what to expect.
  3. Talking with your ex about gifts and traditions. Prior to your separation, you may have had holiday traditions you did as a family. You all should discuss what traditions you plan to keep and which parent the kids will do the traditions with. Discussing your kids’ wish list and a budget can also eliminate some stress; you can avoid duplicate gifts and one party feeling outshined by the other.
  4. Prioritizing your kids. Even if you and your ex struggle to see eye to eye, you both can likely agree that you want your kids to have a great holiday. As you have discussions and make plans, remember that your actions can affect your kids.
  5. Engaging in self-care activities. You can’t show up for your kids if you don’t show up for yourself. While your kids are a priority, you also deserve to enjoy the holiday season. Treat yourself some time this season—whether it’s to coffee with friends, a solo movie night, a quiet night in, or another activity you will enjoy.

Our team at Conner & Roberts, PLLC wants to wish you happy holidays. We understand how challenging divorce and life post-divorce can be. With nearly 40 years of experience, our lawyers are reliable legal advocates. We can help you navigate:

  • Divorce proceedings
  • Family law cases, such as child custody or support matters
  • And the legalities associated with either matter

For help easing the strain of divorce, you can reach out to our team at Conner & Roberts, PLLC. Call us today at (423) 299-4489 or contact us online.

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