Getting Through The Holidays After Divorce

Planning ahead for the holidays can help to reduce co-parenting stress.Co-parenting during any time of the year has its challenges, but the holiday season can bring out even more questions needing answers and issues to face. Gifts, family gatherings, and old traditions all associated with holidays can prove to be harder to maneuver after divorce. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be asking yourself how you will get through the holidays during such a complicated and already-stressful time. With some pre-planning and care, you and your family will get through the holidays and have a good time all the way through. Here are three strategies for getting through the holidays after divorce.

Get your holiday parenting schedule in place. This strategy can prove to be critical as you inch closer and closer to the actual dates of the coming holidays. The schedule can quickly become a point of contention if you don't already have a concrete plan in place and, in turn, end up spoiling some of the holidays for your whole family. With that said, many co-parents decide on their holiday parenting schedule at the time that they create their parenting plan so that they don't run into this problem. If you have already planned your holiday parenting time schedule, review your plan early on. Know where your children will be and when. If you are bringing your children to some holiday gatherings, let the hosts know that they will be coming. On the other hand, if your kids won't be attending a gathering that they used to attend, let the hosts know that as well. That way, they can plan for the number of attendees at the party as well as send holiday wishes to your kids if they would like to. Once you know that much, you can start thinking about the other aspects of this holiday season. 

Focus on reality. Part of getting through the holidays after divorce is to understand that they won't be the same as before. Some traditions might stay the same, but others are probably going to have to change just due to your family's new circumstances. Clinging onto the past and trying to re-create it won't help yourself or your family move forward. It'll just stir emotions and make things harder for everyone. While it's okay to mourn the loss of past holiday traditions, try and focus your energy on thinking of new traditions you can start practicing from here on out. Keep your focus on reality and how you can make the holidays great even without some of your old traditions. This is your time to create new holiday rituals that you and your family can practice into the future. Try and make it fun and exciting. 

Go easy on yourself. This holiday season may be a hard one for your whole family after a divorce, so don't make yourself feel worse by putting too much pressure on making everything perfect. You don't need to throw a huge family bash at your home if that's too much work for you, nor should you expect someone else to do the same if that's not part of your new holiday traditions. One thing that may affect your emotions over the holidays after divorce is the fact that your children might be spending some of that time with their other parent and not with you. Maybe it's just for a few hours, or maybe it's for the entire day or weekend surrounding a holiday. Part of getting through the holidays after divorce is coming to terms with this and finding ways to keep yourself in a healthy state of mind. If sharing time with your children over the holidays, you and your co-parent can send photos and share stories about how the kids were over the holidays by using the shared tools available on the OurFamilyWizard® website.

Getting through the holidays after divorce may not be simple, but it's possible if you just employ the right strategies. Planning you holiday parenting schedule well ahead of time will certainly be to your advantage, and having it thoroughly documented in a place that both you and your co-parent can see will also be very useful. Stay focused on the reality this year as the holidays approach, and don't put pressure on yourself to make things perfect or the same as years before. Go easy on yourself and enjoy the time you have with your family and friends over the holidays. 

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