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Top 5 Tips for Happy Holidays, Post-Divorce

The holidays are probably the toughest time of the year for divorced parents. You may not even think about your divorce during your busy daily life, but the holidays can definitely conjure up memories of how things used to be, causing emotions of loneliness, anger and even depression. There are many things you can do, however to make the holidays special for you and your children, post-divorce. Here are a few tips to put the happy back in your holidays after your divorce:

Prepare yourself for a strong emotional response. Adjusting to life post-divorce takes time, and just recognizing the fact that you may have a strong emotional response to the holidays allows you the ability to prepare yourself. It's okay to feel sad; allow yourself to have the feelings. But it is best not to wallow in them. Recognize the feelings and then do some things to make the holidays special for you and your children.

Create new traditions. Divorce can turn traditions upside down. You might allow your kids the choice of continuing traditions with either you or your ex-spouse. If they choose to continue the traditions with your Ex, that's okay! Get creative and establish new traditions that you can cherish as uniquely yours with your children year after year.

Plan in advance. Chances are you probably have holidays mapped out in your parenting agreement. Make sure your kids know well in advance where they will be for each of the holidays. It's imperative that they are not surprised and can prepare mentally for the separation. This is also good for you, so you can plan your time when you will be away from your children.

Do something different. If you are away from your children for a holiday, you might think about doing something different than the norm. Some people are comforted by having their extended family or family of origin around when they are without their children, and some feel discomfort and a heightened sense of their loss; it just depends on your unique relationship with your family of origin. If you don't feel up to celebrating the holidays with extended family or your family of origin, maybe it's a good time to do something different! We have heard of some people taking tropical vacations and having a great time making new friends and getting away from it all.

Be flexible. Flexibility may be the most important characteristic of successful co-parenting! If you don't have your children for a specific holiday, for example, Thanksgiving or Christmas, plan another day to celebrate and do it up big! Celebrate as if it was the actual day; whether that means making a big turkey dinner and all the trimmings, decorating the tree, or getting up early and opening presents, being in the holiday spirit will make your kids feel comfortable, grateful, and they will love the time they spend with you creating new holiday memories.

Do you have tips that have helped you during the holiday seasons after your divorce? We would love it if you would share them with us in the comments section!

(Source: Holiday Divorce Advice: 10 Tips for Weathering the Holidays Post-Split, www.huffingtonpost.com)

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