Kids, Christmas and Divorce

How to make the holidays less stressful: advice about Christmas and divorce for Moms, Dads, Grandmas, and Grandpas during the Holidays.

By Brian James
Updated: November 12, 2015
Kids, Christmas and Divorce

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is enough to make anyone a little stressed, especially if you are going through a divorce. But if divorcing parent's team together, they can avoid making the kids miserable.

"If you are planning to divorce, don't break the news to the kids during the holidays. This can make the holidays a painful memory for them for years to come." Says Brian James, a divorce mediator with C.E.L. & Associates in Chicago.

Here are some ways that divorcing parents can survive the holidays:

  • Don't let guilt drive you into buying too many presents for the kids as a way of making up for it. This strategy can backfire on you in future holidays.
  • Discuss what you plan to buy the kids with the other parent. That way your children don't end of with two of their favorite toy. Or maybe you want to consider splitting one big toy.
  • Celebrate the holidays together one last time, but only if you can do so peacefully. It will be very comforting for the kids. Otherwise, if you are going to fight, it's best to spend the holidays apart.
  • If the kid's suspect that you are filing for divorce, make sure the kids don't believe that Santa can magically help you to be a couple again.
  • If you must spend the holidays apart, then start new holiday traditions to make holiday time more fun. For example, one divorced father started a tradition of everyone throwing a sock on the Christmas tree. It was silly and fun but made the holidays more fun for the kids celebrating Christmas at Dad's house. Ask the kids if they have fun ideas to share.
  • Understand that your child may want to choose to spend the holidays with the other parent. Try to put your child's emotional needs for comfort above your own at this time. There will always be next year to share special holiday time together.

Advice to Help Grandparents Get Through the Holidays When Their Kids Divorce

  • If it's too difficult to get holiday time with your grandchildren because their mom and dad now have separate holidays celebrations, don't sweat it. You can celebrate any day you choose. Think of making a special time together after the New Year. You can create an extra special brand new tradition.
  • Try not to get your feelings hurt if you don't get to celebrate the holidays the way you used to. Just remember to be there for your children and grandchildren during this difficult time.
  • Give your divorcing daughter/son emotional support. This is one of the most difficult times they will ever go through. Provide a shoulder to cry on. Offer extra support. Offer to watch the children if they need time alone or to rest.
  • If you and your spouse are need help making your divorce less stressful and easier on the children, contact divorce mediator Brian James at 312-524-5829 to find out more about how divorce mediation can help you. C.E.L. and Associates has divorce mediation offices conveniently located throughout the entire Chicago area and Southeastern Wisconsin. For more helpful divorce advice like this, please visit his website at www.yourdivorce.org.


Brian James is an experienced divorce and family mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. He runs a mediation practice, C.E.L. and Associates where his approach to mediation is client driven. By aiding his clients with the resolution of their divorce issues outside of the courtroom, Mr. James helps create a win/win situation for all parties in a divorce. He can be reached at (312) 524-5829. View his Divorce Magazine profile.

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July 29, 2013
Categories:  Children and Divorce

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