Divorce: Coping with the Holidays

December 24, 2009 | Divorce, Legal Perspective

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

[This post originally appeared on BV Source in November 2009.]

The winter holidays can be fun and relaxing, but at times they can also be stressful or disappointing. The downside of the holiday season is a special challenge for families who are experiencing divorce or separation. Here are a few tips to cope with the holiday season:

1. Keep your expectations realistic. People who are separated or divorced may have limited budgets for gifts, extravagant meals, or elaborate holiday decorations. Plan for a smaller, more intimate celebration with your most trusted friends and family – which can be even more meaningful than blowout parties and expensive gifts.

2.  Consider charitable endeavors. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to donate time or supplies to food banks, homeless shelters, and charitable organizations. The satisfaction that you will receive from giving to others will make it a memorable holiday season for those who receive and those who give.

3. Don’t turn away help from others. Sometimes we deny our our needs because we don’t want to impose on others. But when friends and family extend holiday invitations or ask if we need help, it may be a good time to renew our bonds with those friends or family members. Let others help you when they can.

4. Keep a positive attitude with the kids. A holiday divided between two parents can be stressful for kids. Don’t compound their stress by saying anything bad about the other parent. Even veiled comments are easily perceived by children. Instead, focus on the positive: perhaps two turkey dinners, or seeing both extended families. Kids will appreciate your good humor and feel much better about themselves and their family.

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