How To Create New Holiday Traditions After Divorce

December 4, 2019

The thought of losing or changing your holiday traditions may make you feel sad or guilty at this time of year, especially if it’s your first Christmas since separating. 

Whether your kids are spending Christmas Day with you or with their other parent, it doesn’t mean you can’t reinvent your previous holiday traditions to match your new lifestyle or create new ones. 

I won’t lie, there will be times this holiday season when you wish things could go back to the way they used to be, because at least you were with your kids the whole time! This is perfectly normal.  

But it’s important, for you and your kids, not to fall into a rabbit hole of worry. The best way to avoid doing that, is by finding new ways to celebrate the moments you do have with your kids, your family and your friends. 

Here are our suggestions on how to navigate this shift in your life.

1. Make a plan

It’s important to have a plan in place so that everyone (you, the other co-parent, and your children) are on the same page with what’s going to happen for the holiday season this year. 

This way, everyone knows which days the children will be spending with who, and you can plan accordingly for the time you spend with them vs. the time you’ll spend with other family and friends. Keeping channels of communication open and being as flexible as possible is key. 

Christmas can be a particularly tricky holiday to plan, so check out our Christmas-specific co-parenting blog here if you need a helping hand with your plans.

2. Get Creative

You don’t have to force the same traditions you’ve always followed if you don’t feel ready for it yet, this will probably only make you feel worse. Feel free to switch things up! 

If there are traditions you didn’t care for as much or maybe ones you feel are too emotionally connected to your past right now, just remember, you call the shots.

Let go of any traditions that no longer fit your family. Involve your children and let them know you’d like to try doing something fun and a bit different this year, and then ask for their input! 

You should never feel guilty or like you are letting down your kids by not continuing the same traditions — children simply want to spend quality time with their parents. Knowing that isn’t going to change will make them feel assured and happy with whatever you do for the holidays!

3. Disregard Calendar Dates

There’s more than one way to celebrate the holidays.  Whether you’re spending Christmas Day with your children or celebrating in the days before or after. 

As adults, we regularly celebrate Christmas with our extended families on days other than the 25th of December and those days are just as special and memorable as Christmas Day. 

By disregarding the actual date, you can celebrate Christmas with your kids and feel an even greater sense of peace and calm. 

And just remember, no kid ever said no to having two Christmases or stretching out Christmas so it lasted longer! As time passes by, you’ll remember and cherish the moments spent with your family and friends in a whole different way, regardless of the date on the calendar. 

4. Reach Out

The best advice we can give you is to reach out to your family, friends, and support system — whether you are alone for the holidays or not. 

Your family and friends will understand and will want to include you in their celebrations — this is nothing to feel bad about! 

Form new traditions that aren’t only for your children. For example, gather your friends and make a tradition of ‘Friendmas’ dinner in December. 

When you have your kids, they can come too — and if you don’t, you have your support system and a holiday tradition that’s separate. 

Overall, be gentle with yourself. Make your number one Christmas tradition to be happy and put yourself and your children first. 

Reach out and book your free 30-minute CLARITY CALL for any guidance navigating a Christmas co-parenting arrangement.



This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or any other professional advice.

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Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

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