Are you spending too much time thinking about Christmas past? Wondering how you will get through this Christmas? Concerned that Christmas will never be the same for you and your children?

You are not alone.

The holidays are a stressful time for most but separated or divorced parents seem to take it to another level.

Here are 5 tips that will help you survive the holidays.

1)    New traditions – Traditions are great. Old ones however tie you to the past. Creating new ones help everyone start to the think about the future in a positive way. Let your kids help create some new and fun traditions for your family.

2)    Be flexible – It doesn’t matter which day you celebrate on. If the kids are with your ex on Christmas Day for the big dinner, look at celebrating with them on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. Your kids won’t attach themselves to a specific day. They will just want to celebrate as much and as long as they can!

3)    Connect with friends and family – Don’t go through this alone. The holidays are a terrific excuse to hang out with others. Invite them to your place or celebrate at theirs. Why sit at home alone moping when you can be around others that love you?

4)    Don’t make it about the presents – Make it about happiness and feelings. We know that there is less money to go around after divorce. Do what you can to buy presents and get creative. If there are less presents under the tree, try wrapping stocking stuffers in unusual ways or have a scavenger hunt for their big present.  It is the experience and feelings that your kids will remember, not the actual gift.  Unless it’s their first bike, every adult seems to remember getting their first bike haha.

5)    Keep it focused on the kids – In all likelihood your kids want to spend time with all of their loved ones during the holidays. Now is not the time to be selfish and bitter about your exes past actions.

Don’t be a Scrooge.

Christmas Past: Keep those old memories of Christmas past in your heart. They can never be changed or recreated. Be thankful for what they were.

Christmas Present: Follow the tips above to help you survive this Christmas.

Christmas Future: Make new traditions and look forward to your kids being excited about them next year.

Julie Gill Q.Med