During that time of year that tends to be focused on family and loved ones, enduring after a divorce can be difficult, uncomfortable and draining—especially when there are children involved—and ESPECIALLY if the divorce was recent. Your first Christmas apart from your partner can be extremely trying—so we put together a few basic tips on how you can enjoy your holidays after divorce.

Emotionally and mentally prepare for something different

If you’ve been through a number of holiday seasons with your partner, and this is your first season in a long time without them, prepare for your holiday to have a different tone and have different traditions than the past. Much like the rest of your life, the holidays will change, too. Keep in mind that change isn’t bad—just a step forward.

Decide ahead of time which traditions to keep and which to move on from

There are some traditions that you might feel inclined to repeat just because “that’s what happens”—but by planning to do things differently, you can plan to stay focused on the joy of the season rather than rehashing “what used to be.” If there is a tradition that was for you and your partner, maybe it’s time to move on.

Create new traditions

This is a great time to create new traditions. Take your eyes off of your divorce, and look for local and community opportunities to replace old traditions with new ones. If you have kids, this can be especially crucial. For example, if you used to go to the same tree lot every year to get a tree—take the kids to a new tree farm and start a new tree-hunting tradition.

Remember to treat your former spouse and their family with respect

The discomfort of holidays after a divorce can add to any already-existing emotional rift feeding anger and bitterness. If conflict arises, handle it with dignity and respect for your former partner and in-laws.

Have fun!

Even though it’s been a rough season, remember to enjoy the holidays. Find things that bring you joy, and spend time doing them. Stay close with those who you love and who love you. Laugh with friends and family, and don’t tune out all of the joy and merriment around you because of the difficult situation at hand.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and wish you the best in your new year.

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