It is that time of year again. The temperature has dropped, decorations are coming out, and the holiday excitement is spreading. But this year is different. You may be in the middle of a divorce or this may be your first holiday season as an official divorcee. Maybe you will spend the holidays together peacefully with your ex (kudos to you). Perhaps you and your ex are “sharing” the holiday and the children separately. Or maybe this is not your year to see the children. Remember to look to your parenting plan for guidance for the holiday timesharing schedule. If you are struggling with your new role and the new schedule, the attorneys at Brandon Legal Group have compiled a few tips for surviving the holidays as a newly divorced parent.

Tips on surviving the holidays as a newly divorced parent

1. Remind your children that even though a lot has changed, you will still be celebrating the holidays.
2. If you won’t be spending the holidays with your kids, reassure them that you will be fine and encourage them to have a good time on their own. Children will often feel guilty if they sense a parent is left out of the festivities.
3. Plan a holiday celebration for when you do see them. Holidays are about spending time together, not the specific date on the calendar.
Santa's lap
4. Try to keep family traditions alive. Continue to go see Santa. Listen to your favorite Christmas album. Although some traditions may no longer be feasible, get creative and tweak them if possible. With all the changes over the past year, your children will appreciate some familiarity.
5. Start new traditions. Ask the children to help you brainstorm so they have something to look forward to. Some of our favorite traditions are Christmas Eve gifts and leaving out reindeer food.
6. If you won’t be with your children, try to coordinate a video chat or a telephone call with them at a time that is agreeable with your ex.
7. Don’t spend the holidays sulking. Reach out to friends and family so you don’t have to be alone.
8. Don’t attempt to outspend your ex or shower your children with gifts because you feel guilty about the divorce. Divorce often leaves parents in tight financial situations. Instead, coordinate gifts with your ex to avoid overlap and overspending.
9. Do something nice for yourself.
10. Be realistic with your expectations but focus on the positives. No more conflict. No more tension.
The divorce attorneys at Brandon Legal Group understand that being a single parent during the holidays is difficult. We wish you a happy holiday season and are here to help if needed.

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