Divorce and the Holidays: How to Survive the Holidays During Your Divorce

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted December 14, 2022

Divorce in Colorado is never an instant process. It takes time to go through separation, negotiate terms, draw up the divorce documents, and then for your Denver divorce mediation to be processed by the courts. All this means that most divorces take several months, and some can take upwards of two years to complete. So if you find yourself in the middle of a divorce around the holiday season, you’re not alone. 

In fact, divorce during the holidays is known to have some pretty intense effects, even if everyone remains calm and civil. You are likely to feel some pretty strong emotions, and there is often more than enough additional drama going around involving the splitting of families and traditions. This is a time of year when family blending is at its peak, and a divorce can turn your entire holiday experience on it’s head. If you have children, this adds both emotional and logistic complications to an already complicated issue. The holidays may not be easy during your Denver divorce mediation, but you can get through them.

Whether you’re ready to build the “new you” this holiday season or your goal is simply to survive to the other side, we’re here to help. As Denver divorce mediators, we’ve helped to guide many divorcees through this difficult time and have a few pointers to share that might make this season a little easier for you.

Prepare for the Emotional Roller Coaster

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Divorce and the holidays are an almost guaranteed recipe for emotions. Humans care deeply about family and holidays, whether your traditions are big or small. It’s in the genome, and even little things can create a huge emotional impact when your family situation is in flux during this time. Thoughts about family, about separation, and about losing the traditions you may have loved best often bubble to the surface, and you can feel stronger emotions than you expected to.

So brace yourself. The emotional roller coaster is going to come, so you might as well buckle in for the ride. If you know that bouts of sadness or frustration are on the way, you can also more easily deal with these emotions when they come along, and then make the best rational decisions when each storm passes.

Rebuild Your List of Favorite People

Denver divorce mediation and the holidays are complicated because of how married couples tend to blend family relationships. You may have been close with some or all of your in-laws, or you may be happy to never see them again. You may be spending the holidays with your own parents and sibs for the first time in a while, or the first time going solo without your partner since the wedding. You may be able to accept invitations to celebrate with friends for the first time in years. There are even divorces where a divorcee might stay friends with their in-laws while a disreputable ex is on the outs.

Whatever your situation and relationships, now is the time to rebuild your list of favorite people to see on the holidays. It’s a good time to pare out toxic relationships that make you feel bad and to reconnect with the people who have always loved and supported you. Few things can make you feel better than surrounding yourself with truly loving people on the holidays both during and after your divorce.

Do Something Meaningful

If you are feeling hopeless or emotionally burned out, unable to feel the holiday cheer, try doing something meaningful. Pick up an Angel Tree angel and fulfill a child’s Christmas gift list, or volunteer at a local charity organization where you can work directly with people who are receiving help. Putting your time and energy toward helping others – people who are not in any way connected to you – can help to cleanse that feeling of being burned out.

It may help you feel reconnected to humanity, and to the importance of emotion beyond the debacle you’ve been through as part of your Denver divorce mediation. Doing things for strangers in need during this season can help you to rebuild your sense of connection and also to interact with people who are completely disconnected from the current stresses in your life. It also just feels good to help people, a feeling that can transcend your personal emotional struggles and help you come out of your unhappy shell over the holidays.

Build New Personal Holiday Traditions

Chances are that the holiday traditions of your marital life are changing, so it’s time to build new traditions. If you have children, pick a few unusual and fun ways to celebrate the holidays together. Decorate your own stockings, cook silly treats, and reinvent how you do holidays without your ex. If you are solo, now is a great time to rebuild holiday traditions with your friends, with non-toxic family, or even start a tradition of doing something fun and just for you each year – whether that’s a long bath, trying a winter sport, a wine and painting class, or touring the local museums just for fun.

RediscoverOld Family Traditions

Now is also a great time to reconnect with the holiday traditions of your ancestors, and perhaps your current family. If you will be spending the holidays with your parents, ask them all the family historian questions you can think of. Dig up your great-grandmother’s old cookbook, or even research holiday traditions that connect to your cultural roots.

Bringing back old traditions is a lot of fun, and can help you feel connected to ties older than the marriage that has just ended. You can become more you by embracing who you have always been through traditions and history.

Split Holiday Time and Duties for the Kids

For divorcing spouses who share children, the holidays comes with a special responsibility to make this season good for the kids, even while parents are going through the divorce roller coaster of experiences and emotions. This means coordinating, staying civil, and – often – recruiting both sides of the family to keep the holidays a happy and ideally stress-relieving time for your children.

Work together to split holiday time fairly – or agree that you will alternate starting with this year to avoid chaos. It is also OK to send your children to spend extra time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – or let them have holiday sleepovers at friends’ homes if both parents need time to cool off and rebuild their holiday-ready demeanor.

Take Time to Feel Good

Last but never least, don’t over-stress. Take a moment to smell the peppermint and spiced pinecones. If you see a beautiful display of lights, stop and smile. If you wrap up in a soft blanket and it feels great, let yourself snuggle in for a moment. Going through a bad time during the holidays has a way of causing you to fall deeper into unhappiness – this goes beyond divorce  – but you don’t have to lose yourself in feeling bad.

Take time to feel good. Let yourself smile, if a little sadly. Let yourself laugh when silly things happen. Let yourself admire beautiful things, be heart-warmed by candid holiday moments, or feel comforted by a napping pet nearby. This holiday season may be tough, but it doesn’t have to take you down.

Getting Through a Holiday Season Divorce with Split Simple

Here at Split Simple, we provide Denver divorce mediation services to spouses through quick, efficient, and compassionate mediation sessions. We make it our goal to take the stress and conflict out of divorce through a practical and mutual process. We can help you build a divorce agreement that is the most beneficial to both spouses and to any children without the drama of a legal battle or the time-consuming process of lawyer negotiations.

Let us help you through this difficult time with an efficient and empathic Denver divorce mediation process. Contact Split Simple today to learn more, and don’t let the holidays get you too down this year. It gets better.

Split Simple

1624 Market Street #202

Denver, CO 80202