Tips to Make Christmas Easier for Separated Families

Tips to Make Christmas Easier for Separated Families

Here in the Family team, we understand that Christmas can be a difficult time for separated families. Christmas, in particular, can be difficult if the separation is recent or if this is the first Christmas that will be impacted by any separation.

Our Family team have put together some tips to try and make Christmas easier to manage.

Communicate and plan ahead

Communication and planning is crucial during this time. Try and discuss your expectations and plans for the Christmas holidays in advance to avoid misunderstandings or last-minute changes. Planning ahead can always help reduce stress and tension. If you and your former partner/spouse have difficulties communicating, you may wish to consider the use of an app such as Our Family Wizard or consider attending a mediation session to learn how to communicate more effectively.

Put the children first

If you have children, it is important to try and prioritise their wellbeing during the Christmas holidays. It is helpful if you and your former partner/spouse can discuss and coordinate the plans for the Christmas period in advance to avoid conflicts. Where possible, if there are previous family traditions that you can keep, you may decide that these may be beneficial for the children. It is important to try and keep the atmosphere as positive as possible for the children who will be finding times difficult and also will be getting used to new traditions.

Create new traditions

Whilst it may be difficult to let go of the past, embracing the opportunity to create new Christmas traditions for yourself and your children may help. It can also help you focus on the present and build a future for your family as opposed to looking back on the past which can be painful. You may also want to consider involving your children in the process of creating new traditions and letting them contribute ideas.

Be flexible and compromise

Whilst it can be difficult to be flexible, recognise that both you and your former partner/spouse may have different ideas about how you are going to facilitate the arrangements for the children over the Christmas period. If you are both willing to compromise and find a middle ground, this will ensure a peaceful and more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Take care of yourself

Divorce and separation are emotionally challenging, especially during the Christmas holidays. It is good to try and arrange a self-care plan and make this a priority by engaging in activities that support you and your mental health. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who can provide comfort and understanding during this time and try to set aside time for yourself where you can.

Seek professional help if needed

It can be difficult to navigate Christmas after divorce and separation, and if you are really struggling you may wish to consider seeking professional help. There are lots of services available and you can always speak to your GP regarding the same.

Focus on gratitude

If you are able to do so, try and focus on the things that you are grateful for. Practising gratitude can help shift your mindset and bring some positivity into your life during difficult times.

Set boundaries

Establish clear boundaries with your former partner/spouse. Again, using an app to communicate may be beneficial and mediation may also be helpful to reach an agreement as to how and when you are communicating.

Give yourself permission to grieve

It is very normal to feel a sense of loss, particularly over the Christmas holidays after a divorce or separation. Allow yourself time to grieve and process your emotions. There can be a lot of pressure over the festive period to feel happy but it is perfectly normal to feel sad or nostalgic.

If you are struggling to make arrangements with your former partner/spouse in respect of the children, then we can help you – we offer an initial appointment to provide advice in this regard. Contact a member of our Family team or email to see how we can help you.