Holiday Tips to Families Thinking of Separating or Who Have Separated

The spirit of the holidays is all about Family. But what happens when that family is in the middle of a major change or a marital breakdown? While we often hear that January is ‘Divorce month’ because married couples try their best to keep it together for the holidays, stress and emotions can run high at this time of year.

And, while newly separated couples will need to learn to navigate the holidays, this is an issue that goes much broader than simply the couple involved, often affecting their kids, in-laws and extended families as well.

Here are some tips to consider if this is your first holiday after separation:

    • Is waiting until after the holidays to announce a divorce a good idea?
      Many parents want to keep it together and make a nice memory for the kids. But this can only work if you can put your differences aside. Otherwise, the rest of the family will feel the tension.
    • How do you split the holidays if you are already separated?
      Many families try to split up the ‘day’ – meaning kids are with one spouse for the morning and another for the afternoon. While this usually makes both parents happy, it can be really hard on the kids. Consider celebrating on different days with each parent, and creating your own traditions.
    • If you want to introduce a new partner into your holiday traditions, what is the best way to go about it?
      While the holidays might seem like a good time because there is so much family around, you have to consider your personal situation and really ask yourself – Is this the right time?
    • If you’re a single parent, how can you find both the energy and the time to create the ‘magic’ of the holidays for your kids?
      It can be exhausting to fulfill the role of both parents during the holidays. Try to spend time with other families that also have kids to allow others to provide warmth and entertainment to your kids.
    • How should you deal with ex-in-laws who want time with their grandkids, even when it’s not their side’s turn?
      This can be really challenging, but remembering that they love your children too is important. Everyone will need to compromise.

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