Your Guide to a Happier Holiday after a Divorce

Though we’re brought up to believe that the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year,” anybody who has gone through a divorce knows that is not always true. Being without the person you once thought you’d share every holiday with can be lonely and painful, and that feeling is made even worse if you are angry, hurt, or if your separation also means that you’re not able to spend as much time as you’d like with your children.

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year are all associated with family and friends. When a divorce impacts the ability to join in gatherings, it can exacerbate your sense of loss, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps that you can take to reduce the sense of loss, and even introduce a new sense of hope. Here are some of our favorite tips for creating new traditions, readjusting your expectations, and having a happier holiday.

  • Don’t leave things until the last minute – By coming up with a plan for where you will be, who you will be with and where your kids will be, you avoid having to fight and give yourself the chance to get used to the idea.
  • Try to avoid arguments – It is easy for emotions to run high when discussing kids and custody around the holidays. Try to stay within the spirit of the season. Remember that making sure that your kids enjoy the holidays is the point – when you’re fighting, that’s not happening.
  • Spoil yourself – If you’re disappointed or lonely, turn the situation around and let yourself indulge in something you rarely let yourself do. Maybe it’s a movie marathon or staying in your pajamas all day. Maybe it’s a phone conversation with an old friend or a spa day. And if you’re going to be alone and don’t want to be, then don’t be shy about asking your friends or family if you can be with them. People often assume that you have plans or don’t want to insult you by implying that you don’t.
  • Create new holiday traditions – Just because your holidays have consisted of specific events or gatherings in the past doesn’t mean that they always have to be that way. Choose this year to celebrate the holiday by doing something new. Go for a hike. Take yourself out to a restaurant. Buy yourself the gift that you’d have liked to receive from your spouse. Volunteer to help out at a soup kitchen or charity, or go to the ballet.

The holidays can be new and exciting, even if they aren’t the same. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it, and if you’re going through a divorce and need legal guidance, we can help.