Christmas is often the hardest time for divorced parents. Especially for the newly separated, it can be agonizing to be separated from children. For most families, more tears are shed over how to divide this holiday then any other time. How do families deal with this problem? There are some strategies that may help.

  • Create new traditions. Many people think that the way to handle Christmas and other holidays is to alternate who gets the kids to continue the old traditions. Consider the possibility of developing new traditions around the holidays. Perhaps one parent can celebrate the holiday with a spectacular Christmas Eve dinner. Some people have a special dinner late on Christmas Day rather than Christmas morning. If church service is a part of your Christmas celebration, take the children to s special service. Another possibility is to substitute another holiday–Thanksgiving and New Years are sometimes “traded” for the old Christmas traditions.
  • Do something else. If you are alone for the holiday, do not sit around the house missing your kids! Make plans with friends. Join another family’s celebration. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a trip. Find some way to help someone else in need–helping others can be the best medicine.
  • Learn to know and love yourself. Do something to connect with who you are as a person not just as a paernt or a spouse. Go on a retreat or find some other way to connect with your core self.
  • Support your children. It’s important that your children feel good about their holiday celebration. No matter how badly you miss them or how angry you are, let them go and enjoy their time with your ex. They deserve to enjoy the holiday!

The holidays are a time of forced cheer and outright misery for many people. There is no need to join their ranks. Whatever strategies you choose, the new year will be here soon.

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