Divorce is challenging for everyone. No matter how long ago a divorce happened, it can still be difficult to deal with, especially around the holidays.
Of course, both parents still want the best for their children, but navigating holidays can be tricky. Holidays can be complicated with different family schedules, two sets of traditions, and lingering emotions.
Here are some tips for making holidays the most enjoyable for everyone in a divorced family.
Set a Schedule Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to try to make holiday plans as a divorced family. Waiting until the night before the holiday is a good way to spark a fued. Talk about the holiday schedule ahead of time. This may look different for every family or situation. For example
- Parents trade off entire holidays. Mom gets the kids for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Dad for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For the next year, the roles switch.
- Splitting the holidays so one parent gets the kids on the “Eve” and one on the “Day”. For one-day holidays this could mean half of the day for each.
- Holiday by holiday basis. Parents work together to determine the best schedule for each holiday based on family plans and preferences.
Set Emotions Aside
The emotions that come along with divorce can be heavy, especially early on. Children will feel the effects of negative emotions throughout a divorce. Some of this you must work through as a family, but the holidays are a time to connect and celebrate. Make a special effort to put negative emotions aside and have a good time. This may even mean asking the kids about how the other side of the family is doing and what they did together for their portion of the holiday.
Multiple Traditions are Okay
It is perfectly okay to have unique traditions for each side of the family. Never put down the traditions of the other side, simply explain to your kids that each family has its own way of celebrating. Allow your kids to talk about the family traditions they do with the other parent.
Put the Kids First
Holidays are a great reminder for divorced families to put the kids first. Deciding where the kids go for holidays should be about what is in their best interest. If the other parent has a fun trip planned that would mean the kids are gone for a certain holiday, put your preferences aside for your children.
Divorce is hard for parents, kids, and the families involved, but it is still possible to enjoy the holidays in a family of divorce.