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Newly divorced? Get a game plan together for the holidays

What do you do about the upcoming holiday season and all that happy “togetherness” that you’re supposed to be enjoying when you’re newly divorced (or newly separated and on your way to a divorce)?

It’s not easy. Going solo through the holiday season when you’re used to being part of a couple can make you feel very uneasy and out of place. You can still find plenty of holiday cheer, however, as long as you have a plan.

4 tips for handling the holidays when you’re newly single

No one plan is right for everybody, but the basic principles remain the same no matter who you are. If you want to keep the holidays merry and bright, here are some suggestions:

  1. Be realistic (and honest) about what you can and cannot do. Your life has changed. If going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve makes you sad because it makes you think of happier days with your ex-spouse, don’t go. Be very conscious of your choices and how doing (or not doing) something will make you feel before you agree to anything.
  2. Ask other people not to discuss your divorce. Whether it’s been over for months or you’re still in the middle of it, your marital split may be a big topic in your social circle. Politely shut down any questions about your marital troubles at holiday gatherings with a comment like, “Oh, let’s talk about happier things!”
  3. Create new memories and traditions. Instead of Christmas breakfast with your spouse, consider doing a Christmas Eve brunch with your best friend (and mimosas). Call an old friend and set up a movie night to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Elf” together. Don’t let the past haunt your present by dwelling on what you would be doing with your ex while you could be doing something else that’s even better.
  4. Be selfish about self-care. It’s okay to indulge a little during the holidays, and that holds especially true when you’re healing some emotional wounds. Pamper yourself with a few self-bought gifts, set up the tree “just because” and take that spa day you’ve always wanted.

Psychologists say that moving forward with your life after a breakup is a process, and you’re bound to make a few missteps. As long as you are focused on the future rather than the past, you’re bound to find a new sense of equilibrium.