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Let’s face it, a divorce is like a death. We need time to grieve it, whether we are grieving the loss of a partner, the idea of “happily ever after”, or the family unit we once were.

The first holidays after a divorce can be particularly hard and stressful on the couple who went through the divorce, their kids, family & friends. Here are 5 tips that helped me right after my divorce and tips that I share with my clients.

  1. Grieve Allow everyone to grieve and mourn the holidays of the past. Trying to hide it or bury it doesn’t work. Allow your kids to talk about the past, acknowledge it and move forward to the present and future.
  2. Write a New Chapter This is the perfect time to start new traditions rather than clinging on to the old ones. Have fun doing this and ask each family member to contribute ideas so everyone is a part of the planning.
  3. Focus Keep in mind what’s best for you & your kids rather than trying to use the holidays to get revenge on an ex or spouse. Focusing on the positive will make your experience that much better.
  4. Create Memories Use this time to create memorable new experiences whether for you or your kids. Chances are that finances could be a bit tight right now. Creating memories is a lot less expensive than buying material objects.
  5. Plan Spend some time planning out your holiday schedule. We all get pulled in many directions especially at the holidays. Be thoughtful, think about what will make you and your kids happiest during this time of transition.

Divorce is a long process. It usually takes couples years before they are actually ready to move ahead with it. Once the marriage has ended, it takes time to readjust and find a new rhythm.

The first holidays are hard but I promise you with that once you get past the first, it will only get better and easier. Hang in there!

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