Surviving Your First Christmas After a Divorce

According to recent research at the University of Washington, March and August have continuously been the peak months for divorce during a 14-year study. Of course, a Michigan divorce can occur at any time. And regardless of when it does happen, those first holidays alone can be doozies. Here are some simple but effective ways to survive your first Christmas after a divorce.

Take Care of Yourself

The first round of holidays after a divorce can be the toughest days of your life. But the worst thing you can do is shut down. Life goes on around you, and it’s never quite as bright and cheerful as it is around the holiday season. People will want to see you and offer support, and you need that. The best way to survive your first Christmas is to take care of yourself from every angle. Focus on your health. Join a gym and get into the habit of going. Get plenty of sleep and eat right. Let your support system do their job. Give yourself permission to be happy and have fun. And if you need to, take some time daily to grieve. But then get back to living and rediscovering yourself.

Adopt a Seasonal Schedule

Perhaps you’ve always been the life of the party or hosted the holiday dinners while cooking and prepping up to the time the first guest arrives. Well, things are different now, and divorce wreaks havoc on the emotions. Chances are, you’re not thinking as clearly or reacting as quickly as you were during your happiest holiday seasons. Change is inevitable, so this doesn’t mean you can’t still do all of that… you just need to make some adjustments. Scheduling the holiday is a great way to ensure the important details are covered without over-stressing. Once everything is written down, you’ll probably realize what can be delegated to others to make things easier than ever on your end.

Be Open to New Traditions

Whether you’ve been married a month or 30 years, chances are you’ll find that your first Christmas will lack many of the traditions you’ve built with your partner. You can look at that with sadness or excitement. If you’re strong enough for the latter, consider the joy and ease this can bring to your life. Why not avoid the cost and effort of cooking for days and let someone else host the holiday dinner? Change up the decoration scheme at your home or opt for an entirely new tree theme. Don’t let the kids being with the ex get you down. Consider volunteering for a soup kitchen to help others, or go away for the holiday with a special friend.

Let Go of the Guilt

“Traditional” marriage in America still refers to households consisting of two heterosexual spouses. Fewer than 46% of kids nationwide live in such a household. That’s a drastic change compared to the 61% of kids of “traditional” families in 1980 and 73% of children of traditional households in 1960. What does this mean? It means unless you completely alienate your children from socializing, they’re aware divorce happens. Moreover, they know it’s survivable. Therefore, release the guilt you’re feeling, at least for the holidays, and don’t let the kids play the guilt card to benefit from your attempt to buy their affections or force them to see you as the holiday hero. Even if it works, it’s a temporary fix that ends up self-destructing when you finally put your foot down and stop the game.


There’s no doubt that your first Christmas after the divorce will be rough. Emotions will creep up out of nowhere, and time will seem to fly by. But friends and loved ones will also seem to come out of the woodwork. Focus on the bright spots of the holiday season and let your support system help you along the way. And remember, if you need more suggestions, legal assistance, or professional help to balance your emotions, your Michigan divorce attorney is just a call away.

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