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Handling major holidays, post-divorce


Divorcing is rarely easy for anyone involved, and sometimes, the holiday season can make things even more difficult. Maybe you are gearing up to spend your first holiday season without your ex-partner, or perhaps you are having a hard time adjusting to the loss of certain traditions and customs. You may, too, be struggling because you typically spend your special days with your children, and you are a recent divorcee who will soon celebrate without them for the first time.

Restructuring your family can give you a unique opportunity to establish new traditions and customs, however, so it may prove wise to nail down the fundamentals about how you and your ex-partner plan to handle major holidays early on.

Common holiday arrangements

You may find it helpful to look at how other couples in similar positions chose to handle holidays when their marriages ended. A common choice among divorced parents is to simply swap years, with you, for example, having the kids on major holidays during even-numbered years, and your ex-spouse, on odd-numbered ones. Another option, if you and your ex live within a reasonable distance from one another, is for you to have the kids in, say, the morning, and then your ex-spouse getting to visit with them later in the day. This may work better for divorced couples who have maintained amicable relationships with one another, post-split, as holidays make many people feel stressed and emotional as it is.

Yet another option for divorced couples who have managed to stay friendly with one another is to celebrate major holidays together, even after you divorce. This saves your children from having to go back and forth between homes, and it can also keep them from potentially feeling guilty about spending special days with one parent as opposed to the other.

The holiday season can be tricky territory after going through a divorce, and the media hype surrounding it does not always help by setting unrealistic expectations. By maintaining your composure and rationale and setting expectations early on, you can minimize stress on the whole family.

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