If this is your first holiday season as a separated or divorced parent, you're not alone. Many other people are going through the same thing, or have in previous years. Even if you won't be sharing all of the traditional holiday festivities with your kids, that's no reason why the holiday season can't be special for you and, more importantly, for them.
This is a time to create new holiday traditions. Maybe there are things that you always wanted to do, but that your ex wasn't enthusiastic about. Ask your children what they'd like to do for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
Even if you're not with them on all of those holidays, you can plan special events around them. Most kids won't turn down an opportunity for multiple celebrations. Don't worry about "out-doing" your ex. Chances are that your kids will just enjoy spending time with you, even if it's not at a five-star ski resort.
If your kids are going to be taking a vacation with your ex, use this as an opportunity to take some time away for yourself or with a friend. Maybe you'll find a place where you want to create a new holiday tradition for yourself and perhaps bring your kids when you have them.
If you don't have the time or money to get away over the holidays, look for volunteer opportunities. Food banks, soup kitchens, animal shelters and many other organizations can always use help around the holidays. Nothing helps you forget your own problems like being around people whose lives are much worse off or spending time with animals who could just use a hug, a belly rub and a gentle presence.
You don't have to miss out on your kids' fun and adventures just because you aren't there. Arrange with your ex to share photos, do regular video conferencing and generally keep in touch. This should go both ways. When your kids are with you, make sure that you keep in touch with their other parent.
Often, holiday visitation is included in the parenting plan when people divorce. If you find that this isn't working or that your ex isn't adhering to his/her part of the bargain, talk with your family law attorney to find out what changes can be made so that everything goes more smoothly in the future -- especially for your children.
Source: Huffington Post, "5 Tips for Making It Through the Holidays as a Single Parent," Russell J. Frank, Esq., Divorce Magazine, Nov. 06, 2015