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Getting Through the Holidays After a Divorce

Your first holiday season after a divorce will look different than it has in the past, but that doesn't mean it won't be merry and bright. Now is the time to create new memories and traditions with your loved ones.

The weather is changing, decorations are being hung and retailers are advertising more than ever. There are constant reminders all around us that never fail to let us know the holiday season has arrived! The holiday season can be an emotional time for many families, but especially for those that have been recently divorced or are currently going through a divorce. Memories, emotions, feelings- they are all amplified.

Focus on your Children

Whether you are divorced or not, having children can certainly add a layer of stress, but it also adds fun to the holidays. If you have children and have recently been divorced or are in the midst of one, be mindful that their holiday season is going to be different this year too. They are experiencing this transitional period with both you and your ex-partner. Focusing on making the holidays merry and bright for your children will ultimately lead to making the holidays merry and bright for yourself as well.

Go Easy on Yourself

Your first holiday season after a divorce can feel like the most hectic time of the year. The kids’ holidays will be different, not bad, just different. Go easy on yourself! Let go of your old perception of what “the perfect holiday season” will look like and focus on making memories. Don’t stress over things out of your control and don’t stress over the little details; it is okay to cut yourself some slack. Do what you can do and don’t forget to do something for yourself. Spend time doing things that make you happy and remember what you love the most about the holiday season.

Be Realistic

Expectations are belief(s) that someone will or shall achieve something. As parents it’s natural to want to live up to those expectations your children have about the holidays. Don’t try to live up to old expectations; you are not in the same situation you were last year. Expectations change as our lives change and divorce can be a major change. Your family structure is different now and it’s important to factor that into your holiday planning. Being realistic with holiday expectations can relieve stress for everyone.

Be Flexible

Remind yourself what the holidays are truly about. Not the gifts, not the parties, not the date, but spending time and making memories with loved ones.  If you have children, you may or may not have them every holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, but that’s okay. You can celebrate any time. Most importantly, you can put a positive spin on things and point out to your children that now they will be getting two holidays (two Thanksgivings, two Christmases) instead of one. Don’t fixate on the day, make the most out of the time you get to spend with your children. I bet you’ll find yourself less stressed and ready to enjoy the holiday season.

Create New Holiday Traditions

Every family has their own set of holiday traditions. After a divorce, old traditions will have to be modified and might look different than they have and that’s okay. Now you can make new traditions! Making new traditions can be fun, exciting, and memorable. Think about what you want out of this holiday season and ask your children what they want out of this holiday season. Involve your kids in creating new holiday traditions you can enjoy together this year and the years to come!

Spend Time with Loved Ones

After a divorce, there is no doubt how you spend the holidays will be different. The reality is, you may not be able to spend every holiday with your kids. Typically, holiday custody schedules are rotating. Whether you will be spending this holiday season with your children, or not, don’t isolate yourself. Surround yourself with friends and family who love and support you. Spending time with loved ones will help you to enjoy this holiday season.

Practice Gratitude

Right now, your world might feel turned upside down. While certain things may feel like they aren’t going as planned, it’s important to focus on the things that are going right. Remember the positive things that have come out of your divorce and newfound freedom. Practicing gratitude is a skill that can help you change your attitude and perspective on things happening in your life. Ask yourself, what are you grateful for this holiday season.


No matter what situation you are in, helping others always feels good. After a divorce volunteering can help take your mind off your own problems by supporting others. Bring your kids, friends, and/or your family members with you. If you are not already connected with an organization, here is a list of a few local opportunities:

Remember What You Love About the Holidays

Ask yourself “what have I always loved about the holidays, even before I knew my ex?” and do exactly that. Maybe it is Christmas shopping, attending holiday parties, decorating, baking/cooking, spending time with friends/families, etc. Doing more things that make you happy when the holiday season rolls around will definitely put you in the holiday spirit!


Contact the Colorado Legal Group today to find out more about our attorneys and our unique approach to Family Law.