The first Christmas Day alone as a parent after separation

Facing your first Christmas alone after a separation or divorce can be daunting, especially if it is a break from having the same traditions with your family for many years.  It may be a tough time for you and your children, but here are some of our tips to get the best out of Christmas Day.

  1. Accept invitations to see extended family. It will reassure your children that you were having fun on Christmas Day, and even if you don’t feel like it now, you may change your mind later. Being in the company of family will enable you to experience different traditions, and may take your mind away from being without your children
  2. Organise to meet up with friends, especially if they are in the same situation as you. They may be as worried as you are about the prospect of planning Christmas Day in new circumstances.
  3. Alternatively, you may find that a period of quiet time during the day is valuable, especially when you have kids. You could use the time to yourself as a chance to recharge during a busy period. Read a book or watch a film, do something you wouldn’t usually have time for, or an activity you are unable to do with the children.
  4. Remember that it is only one day of the year. The situation may seem overwhelming at first, but it will be entirely manageable.
  5. Don’t feel guilty about your children’s experience of Christmas. Try and look at it as a chance for your children to have two Christmas occasions; they will still experience the excitement and joys of Christmas with their family members, but under different circumstances.
  6. Try some positive thinking, you should try not to think of experiencing Christmas as just ‘coping’. The new situation will give you a chance to create new traditions and rituals with your kids and improve your relationship. You could tell your children that things may be different this year but that it is no less special. The Christmas and New Year period can be an opportunity to lay the foundations for a new and positive beginning for you and your family.
  7. Finally, don’t pretend that everything is fine if it is not. It is natural that you will feel upset or sad on Christmas Day after a divorce or separation, so don’t be ashamed to experience those feelings. Make sure to reach out to family and friends for support, or visit a suitably qualified professional who can offer you the appropriate help and guidance that you may need.

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