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It’s hard to plan for the holidays, especially when divorce or separation is involved.  It’s no fun and the first year is definitely the hardest. If this is the first year that you will be forced to spend at least part of the Holiday without your children, the more you plan ahead, the smoother things will go for you and your children.  Even though it will be very different, here are a few tips to help:

  1. Realize that life is different now and will never be the same again and it’s okay! Embrace change!
  2. Plan early! Don’t wait until the last minute to coordinate with your Ex what the schedule will be. And remember that the kids want to spend time with both parents.
  3. Christmas does not have to be Dec 25th! If you won’t be with your kids on the 25th, simply plan a “Special Christmas” when you will be. There is no reason to give up anything, just rearrange.
  4. If this is your first Christmas without the kids, reach out to friends and family, accept invites and invite yourself if you have to. Don’t spend it alone!
  5. Start new traditions. To help both you and the kids embrace the new reality, start some brand new traditions that you’ve never had.

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. If this is your first Holiday as a single person, you are still in the grieving process and you can expect to have some emotional ups and downs.  Do your best to think about your new future and try not to dwell on the past. Think of new possibilities. Are there activities that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time? Now’s the time to make it happen! A trip….a spa day….an outing with friends?

With holidays comes the urge to spend.  Don’t let yourself fall into the “best parent” trap of trying to outspend your ex on presents. The kids see right through it and there’s a good chance they don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll love all the gifts – for about 2 seconds.  Kids want your time not your money.  Pass on the iPad and buy a board game that will force you to interact with each other for an extended period. These are the memories the kids will treasure and you will too.

Good luck this Holiday season. Remember, it doesn’t have to be defined as the end unless you choose to. Choose to see the beauty of a new beginning. You can do it!

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