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The first holiday season after a separation or divorce can be emotionally stressful and confusing. Now that you and your ex are no longer together you may feel lost and even depressed. The holiday parties that you have been celebrating for years as a couple suddenly seem complicated. Who gets to go to which parties? Have relationships and friendships changed? What do you say when someone asks why your better half is no longer with you? It’s enough to make an already stressful holiday season barely manageable. However, celebrating and surviving the holidays alone is possible. It does require some planning, a good attitude and realistic expectations. Here is a list of tips to help you celebrate a joyful holiday season alone:

Don’t Stay Home Alone

What’s the worst thing you can do to yourself during the holidays? Spending time alone with your thoughts and listening to Christmas carols. Even worse is avoiding your family and friends. Your first holidays after a break up can be an emotional roller coaster, do don’t try to ride it solo. Make plans with friends, family, coworkers and other divorcees to get out and do things that you enjoy. Find a support group or better yet volunteer your services. Filling your time during the holidays will give you no time to think about what should’ve and could’ve been.

Avoid the Ghost of Christmas Past

When going through a divorce or separation don’t revisit past places where you and your ex created memories. This is the time you want to start creating brand new memories. Try remembering some of your old childhood or family traditions and bring them back to life. Is there something you also wanted to do for the holidays that your ex never wanted to try? This is your time to start new family traditions and explore new adventures and experiences.

Share the Joy and Love

Nothing makes the holidays better than spending time with young children. Looking at the holidays through their eyes makes everything magical. Watching them play, laugh, sing, dance, and celebrate makes the holiday season come alive. If you don’t have young children plan to attend a pageant or Christmas play at Church or at a school. If you have children don’t be selfish about sharing holiday time with your ex. Children should not be put in the middle of a disagreement. The first holiday season without both parents together is especially difficult for children. Do put the children first and both parents should plan to continue attending all their events. Remember you may be getting divorced, but you and your ex will be co-parenting together for the rest of your lives.

 Make New Year’s Resolutions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

It’s time to set some new goals and some New Year’s Resolutions for the new single you. Try a new sport, join a new club, start a new hobby, a book club or a meetup group. The idea is to get out and start meeting new people and get yourself back out into the world again.
Leslie Welch, CDC®, LOA
Certified Divorce & Life Coach

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