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Recently divorced? Tips for making the holidays easier

Individuals experience numerous changes after a divorce, from where they live to how they support themselves. And these changes can become especially challenging and pronounced to navigate during the holidays.

If you are recently divorced and this is the first holiday season after your divorce, you can take some steps to make this time a little easier.

Watch your spending

You likely have a different financial picture than you had during your marriage. That, combined with mounting pressures to buy gifts, can drive some folks to overspend.

Before you set yourself back financially, think of ways you can save money this year. This article has some good recommendations, from creating a budget to setting new expectations for your kids. Try to remember that the holidays will end, and a new year is just around the corner. Having debt follow you well into 2021 can make adjusting to life after divorce even more stressful, especially if you recently divorced.

And this article, by a therapist, gives us pause for reflection at this time of year.

Start new traditions

The first year after a significant life event can make it impossible to carry on traditions – especially this year, when we are also battling a pandemic. Instead of only looking at the downside of all this, consider the opportunities it can present.

You can start new traditions that you like observing. For example, you likely won’t be going to your in-laws for special events, so you can do something that you enjoy. You might watch a movie with friends (but don’t forget social distancing protocols and limits on the number of people permitted in one place at one time) and have some holiday-inspired food and drinks.  You could consider organizing a neighborhood ZOOM party.  Be flexible; be creative.

Focus on your kids

Parents can expect their children to struggle this time of year, as well. They can feel angry, confused, and upset by all the changes. And parents who share custody may not be spending as much time with their children as they would like.

As upset as you may be, keep their experience in mind this year. Do things together they enjoy, from making cookies to going sledding. And try to remember that while this year can be challenging, children appreciate the happy memories you can create together.

In other words, it’s not about buying the most gifts or keeping everything the same after they have recently divorced or in the years after a divorce. It’s about acknowledging that which has changed and embracing opportunities to find and bring joy.

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