The Dos and Don’ts of Christmas as a Divorced Parent

December 16, 2013  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

coping with divorce at christmas

For those of you who are facing your first Christmas as a divorcee, you may be worried about the logistics of dividing time with your kids between you and your partner. The holidays can be difficult when you’re separated, especially if the situation is new to you, so we’ve put together a few dos and don’ts to help you to enjoy the seasonal period – whether you’re with your children or not:


  • Make new traditions – meet up with friends, forego cooking and go out for a Christmas meal, make boxing day your Christmas day, or find a new way to celebrate;
  • Talk about your situation – whether it’s with your children (they may have worries or resentments they need to get off their chest), your family and friends, or a professional, it’s better to talk than stew in silence;
  • Focus on the kids – no matter how messy your situation is with your ex-partner, don’t make Christmas about your problems; enjoy your time with your children and let them have a great time;
  • Take time for yourself – yes, Christmas is a time for children, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to treat yourself, too! Perhaps Father Christmas can leave something special for you well as the children under the tree this year…
  • Don’t forget the grandparents – they may be missing out on time with their grandkids during your separation and the extra family support can be so valuable for all of you, especially at Christmas;
  • Be positive – the early days of a separation can be tough, but things do get better, we promise!


  • Try to make everything ‘perfect’ – even when you’re not going through a divorce, there’s so much pressure to create the perfect Christmas, and it all inevitably leads to disappointment. Give yourself a break and concentrate on relaxing and enjoying being together;
  • Pretend everything is fine if it’s not – it’s ok to be sad, and it’s healthy to mourn the end of a relationship, especially if you’ve been together for a long time. Give yourself permission to drop the façade and open up to someone sympathetic if you need to;
  • Criticise your ex-partner in front of your children – even if they really deserve it, it’s not easy for your kids to hear you badmouthing the other parent, and it certainly isn’t going to improve your situation;
  • Fight about who sees the kids and when – try to come to a logical and fair agreement for dividing your children’s time between each parent. Approach the week of Christmas as a special time, not just Christmas day. If you end up having the kids on boxing day it will still be just as special;
  • Try to out-do your ex-partner – it’s not about who buys the most expensive presents or puts on the most extravagant celebrations, so don’t get into a competition with your ex about who can spoil the kids the most;
  • Be lonely – if you have to spend Christmas without your family, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be alone! Invite friends round or visit a relative. Many people celebrate Christmas on different days because of family arrangements so find out who else is in need of company and have an alternative Christmas day.

However you spend your Christmas this year, we hope that you have a great one. If you’re based in Berkshire or Buckinghamshire and are in need of advice, support, or legal services regarding your separation, Frances Lindsay & Co solicitors are here to take the weight off your shoulders. We know how hard it can be to go through a divorce during Christmas time, so let us help ease the transition and get you on your way to a better situation. Call 01628 634667 or email to get in touch with our friendly and experienced divorce lawyers.

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