Surviving the holidays: tips for newly divorced parents

Buying gifts, planning holiday dinners, and juggling the events of the season can be stressful for any family. This time of year can be especially overwhelming for those who are newly divorced, especially if children are involved. While it can be easy to sink into winter gloom, you don't to let your life transition get you down. The holidays can stir up emotions, but there are ways to navigate the season with minimal stress for you and your family.

If you are separated or recently divorced in Salt Lake City, Utah, here are some tips to help you survive this holiday season:

  • Make your children the priority. The holidays are an exciting time for kids and a divorce should not ruin their childhood memories. Even if you are facing difficult personal challenges, you should remember that your children are also struggling. Providing a stable home, regardless of divorce turmoil will help you and your children focus on what is important.
  • Avoid "guilt-gifting" and competition with your ex. Deciding who gets the children on what days can be difficult, especially if has not been pre-determined in a custody arrangement. You may also have to decide who will take the children to other events and parties throughout the season. Try to be cordial and don't make the season a competition. You should also remember your holiday budget when buying gifts for your children. Don't overspend just to compete with your ex. Your children will remember their time with you, not the gifts they received.
  • Modify family traditions. In the past, you and your family may have had traditions with in-laws, opened presents on Christmas Eve, spent the night decorating the tree or putting up lights. Whatever your family traditions were before the divorce, maintain what is possible. For those customs that don't fit anymore after the divorce, you can also revise and create new rituals that will remind your children that change can be positive.
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