10 Tips to Improve Your Post Divorce Christmas


10 Tips to improve your post divorce Christmas
10 Tips to improve your Christmas post divorce, is something I think will help anyone coping with co-parenting issues over the holidays. One of the most difficult times of the year for divorced and broken families is undoubtedly the Christmas Season.  Especially the first couple of years when it is a time for re-building and transitioning the new family unit.  What makes this even harder is having  to let go of old traditions.  Also, Christmas memories from before the divorce are still raw.  Due to these changes in family dynamics, the holidays become a challenge and a tug of war between households.  Neither Mom nor Dad want to be alone during this time and the children inevitably get caught in the middle.

10 tips to improve your post divorce Christmas

Also, socially the newly divorced can feel ostracized.  They don’t fit in with their married friends and feel like the fifth wheel.  Maybe they have lost some friends over the divorce and feel alone.

The challenges are twofold, one is about parenting and your children’s needs and the other is about your own social needs.  The first problem can be alleviated with some pre-planning.  If you and your ex can agree on a schedule for the kids over the holidays in advance, everyone will be much happier.

blue christmasWe would split up Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that the children were with one parent on at least one of these key days.  It worked quite well since we lived 20 minutes apart and we were sharing custody.  This arrangement allowed everyone to share some time together and share traditions on the actual day of celebration.    Now that the children are older and we live in different cities, I’ve had to re-think this Christmas scheduling.  It’s important to recognize what is working and what isn’t in your Christmas traditions and make changes as you go.

The second challenge is to ensure you are fulfilled and socially happy over the holidays.  If you feel you don’t fit in with old friends and old traditions begin some new ones.  Also, don’t be afraid to call up friends and make some plans.  Take the initiative and you will be surprised how positively people respond.  Don’t forget it’s the quality of the invitations rather than the quantity, so if you haven’t got a packed social calendar this month it doesn’t mean people don’t love and care about you!  Did you really want to go to that volunteer luncheon?  Some Christmas parties are overrated anyway so we’re not missing much.

Here is what I consider to be the happiest Christmas song.  Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee


10 Tips to Improve Your Post Divorce Christmas;

Plan ahead with your children and your ex and know where the kids will be and when

Start a new tradition with your kids, something you didn’t do as an intact family, something only you and the children will share. Ice skating, volunteering, a weekend retreat, a party…

Let extended family know when the children will be with you so they can plan to visit at this time as well

Unless you’re comfortable being alone, make sure you make plans for the evenings your kids are with your ex; with your own family, friends, running or book club buddies, or someone you’ve been meaning to call

Do something that has personal meaning to you, whether it’s volunteering for a local Christmas charity,  or just staying home and watching all of your favorite Christmas movies

Get out and enjoy the simple pleasures of the season; a walk in the snow, a sleigh ride, hot chocolate and bailey’s, a wood burning fire, the smell of the evergreens, maybe a new pair of flannel PJ’s, an outdoor ice skate

10 tips to improve your post divorce Christmas

Avoid emotional triggers; we all know what ours are (oops I better get some new tree ornaments!) Try not to pore through old photos or children’s Christmas ornaments from years ago.  It’s hard enough without going down memory lane.

View Christmas as just another day on the calendar and this will keep things  in perspective no matter what transpires


Try some of these simple suggestions and you’ll have less Blue in your Christmas and whole lot more Merry. Out with the old, in with the new Christmas traditions to make your holiday season bright.



How did you get through your first Christmas after divorce?  What would you do differently?

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16 Replies to “10 Tips to Improve Your Post Divorce Christmas”

  1. I didn’t even open my box of ornaments last year. I knew it would drudge up too many memories. This year, I almost didn’t, but then I figured doing up the house makes me mostly happy, so I am not dwelling on all the time spent picking out ornaments with him. Rather, it just feels festive to decorate the house and that’s a good thing.

    1. That’s great, Jeri! I still have my kids childhood ornaments in a box. I used to put them up every year but I would be doing it by myself and wondered at the significance of it. Instead, in the last few years, I bought some new ornaments and have saved the kids’ to give to them when they want them. It’s nice to hear that you’ve viewed your ornaments as celebrating the season and not attaching sadness. Excellent progress, right?

  2. My sister doesn’t have kids, but this time last year she was going through divorce. This would’ve come in handy. But this year, she has a boyfriend, so I think it’s easier for her now.

    1. Hi Chrys, I’m sure not having kids makes the seasonal memories a little easier. Having someone new in her life doesn’t erase the old memories though, but at least she can make new ones. It’s funny that there is a romantic element to Christmas yet it’s really geared for children. Either way, I hope your sister finds joy and peace this year!

  3. Lisa, sometimes a thought that crosses my mind is…whether one can actually let go the memories even if you don’t touch the albums and keep emotions at bay…Aren’t memories and emotions spontaneous? They flow like a river, so difficult to deal with them at such times. I guess they fade with time…All the best friends. Wish you a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays.

    1. Yes, emotions are spontaneous. I agree, Balroop. All we can do is let them in and then try to let them go (the hard ones). They flow like a river, indeed 🙂 I love that! Happy Holidays to you, too! xo

  4. I actually think about this because Scarlet’s best friend’s parents split up almost two years ago and the holiday scheduling is still under talks! Complicated! I love what you said about making new traditions too.

    1. Hi Tamara, new traditions are always a good idea. I’ve heard nightmare stories regarding Holiday custody. Really it’s best to work it out ahead of time for the kid’s sake. They feel stressed when they don’t know what to expect. 😛 I’m sure in time, your friend and her ex will get it figured out.

  5. Hi Lisa,

    Wonderful tips to get through the holiday season when newly divorced. I can remember like it was yesterday years back when I went through this. It comes down to our attitude. Put the kids first and the rest will follow. Most importantly yes…keep away from those negative triggers!

    After a while, we did become a blended family. We didn’t want kids to be going crazy back and forth so we ended up spending holidays together. What a blast it was when all the exes got together in one place. The kids were happy, but it was humorous.


  6. Such wonderful tips, Lisa. I have forwarded this to someone who I know needs to read this this year, as it is her first Christmas after, and she was feeling pretty torn about it.

    1. Hi Shantala, thanks for sharing this with your friend and I hope it helps her. I could’ve used this my first post divorce Christmas, too. It’s the hardest one.

  7. Lovely post, as always, Lisa! Yes, the first Christmas after he moved out was difficult to say the least, but the TRO was in place, so in a way, it made it easier because I was so focused on being ‘safe’ and trying to normalize everything for the girls. I was drained monetarily, but we were safe, so i got us a tiny table top tree and we made cookies for santa. Actually that’s a tradition we’ve done every year, and the girls besties are coming over tomorrow to do cookies again and have a sleepover! LOL my poor hubby, the house is going to be overrun with girls, girls, and giggling girls.

    But yes, the holidays, while fun looking through their eyes at the magic of christmas, also play a painful chord in my chest, less painful as the years go by, faded into a dissonant chord in the back of my heart. It echoes the ongoing conflict that I have with the girls’ dad, and some of the loss i’ve experienced over the years that have nothing to do with the divorce at all.

    And I love that you’re encouraging embracing new traditions! I did like that part of re-building our holidays (and our house) out of traditions of love and kindness. and honestly, my DD2 was in diapers when he moved out, so now that I think about it, more years apart for the girls than together… gosh, what a sobering thought…

    At any rate, the holidays are both joyful and also complicated–i have to embrace both, the former much more enjoyable than the latter, but a celebration all the same. <3

    1. Thanks, Jane 🙂 That must have been incredibly difficult for you. Looking back, I’m sure you’re very proud of how you handled everything (and continue to). Letting go of old traditions is part of this process but also one that has to be done slowly, considering how attached the kids are to the old ones. Sounds like everyone is doing excellent now and hope you enjoy the Holidays! The sleepover sounds fun! Merry Christmas to you!

  8. I love this–you’re absolutely right. Christmas is just another day on the calendar, though I know that it’s a bit different when there are children involved and a divorce can really sully the season. But I hope that you had a very merry holiday and that you were able to create a whole new set of lovely traditions with your kiddos! I love the idea of volunteerism. I actually really want to do something with the local shelters this winter… there are so many areas where we can divide our time that kind of take our minds off of our own personal suffering/emotions, which I think is always helpful <3

    Sending much love your way, sweet Lisa!! XOXO

    1. Hey Charlotte, yes I did have a nice Christmas with the kids (adult kids 🙂 ) It takes some time to get the new traditions going but it all works out when everyone is committed to spending the time together. Volunteering is a great way to give back. I would like to do that too. I’ve been saying it for years and haven’t got off my a** and done it. Something to get going on in the new year. Love back to you, Charlotte! xoxo

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