Divorced for the Holidays

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Holidays often cause the blues in people who are divorced.

Memories of festive, happier times can magnify feelings of loneliness, dread, and despair. People that are recently divorced as well as parents who will not be with their children for a special day are particularly vulnerable. However, there is no need to lose hope. Those in broken marriages can do certain things to help get themselves through this time of year while at the same time keeping their spirits up.

Stay in Control by Planning Ahead

Probably the most important thing anyone can do in this situation is to plan ahead. This way a person feels in control rather than allowing the holidays to overwhelm him or her. Reach out to friends, family or colleagues and establish where you are going and what you will do. It may not be the ritual of years past but that is okay, it will simply be something new. And be realistic about expectations. Holidays can be enjoyed without things being picture-perfect. In other words, you do not have to try too hard to have fun.

Divorced for the Holidays

It is inevitable that the holidays will be different since you and your former spouse will not be sharing these special times. You will not be participating in certain functions or you may attend, but your ex will not be with you. If you are a parent there will be child sharing issues. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Use Zoom or a similar platform to contact children and friends
  • Do not focus on past activities that are gone
  • Find new traditions or revive and one from long ago
  • Accept an invitation to join in someone else’s celebration
  • See what holiday activities your town or house of worship may have

What Holidays Mean

Every holiday holds its own significance. In our busy lives we tend to do the holidays without stepping back and enjoying their true purpose. The disruption of a divorce could be the perfect time to treasure the special season and truly cherish the meaning of each day.

  • Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful. Each one of us should not dwell on what is lost but appreciate what we have.
  • Hanukkah means rededication. We can celebrate the eight days by reexamining our religious life and who we are.
  • Christmas is for many the most important and favorite holiday. People who are recently divorced can flip the switch from hustle and bustle to spiritual reflection while focusing on the day’s important foundations.
  • New Year’s Day is the time of new beginnings. Divorce certainly leads to a new start. Make a resolution that will bring both self-improvement and happiness.

Less Gifts, More Appreciation

After a divorce, there is usually less money so do not concentrate too much on gifts but rather focus on what is important. Look at the lights and take in the decorations. Listen to the music. Stuff is just stuff and there is no point in having these days turn into a stressful buying period. Volunteer or just help someone in need. Doing things like that can make you feel good while at the same time help make the world a better place. Make it a fun time. You may find yourself appreciating the holidays a lot more once you have a new perspective.

For more ideas about tackling the holidays while divorced here is a great article on PsychologyToday “Is This Your First Holiday Season After Divorce? What to do, say, and think so this time of year doesn’t suck.


If you are just separated during the holidays, consider taking the time to read “The Courtless Divorce” book to learn about alternatives to the costly divorce litigation court process.

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