The First Holiday Season after Separation or Divorce

Stephanie Vokral |

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for you, it’s your first holiday season after separation or divorce.  It may be the first holiday season without your children for at least part of the season.  I know how hard it is.  But I promise, it gets easier.  You will adjust and create new family traditions.  Let me give you some post-divorce tips that will help this year and all the holiday seasons to come.


  • Embrace this change – Life is different now; use this as a time to create new holiday traditions and memories and embrace your new reality.  It is going to be ok.
  • Plan early – Coordinate schedules in advance with your ex and plan early as to when each parent will celebrate with the children.  Remember, your kids want to spend time with both parents, so be flexible.  Maybe celebrate with mom on Christmas Eve and Dad the morning of Christmas, or vice versa. 
  • Avoid confrontation – this is the time of year that should be well spent with family and loved ones.  Focus on your children, and do not choose this time to argue and air grievances.  If you cannot be civil around your ex, avoid one another.  The last thing you want to do is ruin Christmas for your family.
  • Budget – Don’t try to out-spend the other parent and blow your gifting budget.  Kids will see right through this, and they don’t really care.  Sure, they love presents, but they love you more.  Think of some new holiday activities or crafts to do together with your children.  As I said before, make memories with them they will cherish forever.
  • Don’t spend the holidays alone – if this is your first Christmas after your divorce, please reach out to friends and family.  Invite them into your home to celebrate.  There is also nothing wrong with inviting yourself if you have to!


During your first holiday season as a single person it is normal to feel sad and experience some ups and downs.  See this as a fresh start.  Think about your new future and don’t dwell on the past.  Find the beauty in this new beginning, and have a Merry Christmas!