Your Divorce Holiday Survival Guide

We are supposed to enjoy the holidays. And usually, we do. But when you are divorcing in December, the holidays can feel completely overwhelming.

For weeks, you are distracted with holiday planning, shopping, school events, and work deadlines. Then all of a sudden, EVERYTHING hits you like a ton of bricks. We get it. And that's exactly why we turned to our friends who have survived divorce-related holiday overwhelm to bring you our Divorce Holiday Survival Guide. It's filled with the best tips, resources, and tools to get you through the next few weeks with your head held high. You may even find yourself singing Joy to the World  ... and meaning it.

Below is a useful list of worksheets, links, and more. Feel free to click directly on whatever speaks to you the most.

If you haven't told family and friends yet about your divorce...

If you haven't broken the news yet to your extended family or friends about the change in your marital status, remember: There's no right or wrong way to do it. Our piece, Announcing Your Divorce: How & What to Consider Before You Share, will help you think through who, how, and what to tell about your situation.

But, do you know what? You don't even have to break the news at all if you don't want to ... though I will say this: In over 16 years in this industry, with thousands of divorces under my belt, you might be very pleasantly surprised at the reaction you get. People who love you will want to help and support you. Read our article, Breaking the 'D' News to Friends and Family: Helping Them Help You before you head to the next family holiday gathering, and you'll be armed with strategies for getting the kind of support you actually want.

If you haven't told your soon-to-be-ex...

Lots of people try to make it through the holidays before telling their spouse they want a divorce. Maybe that's you. And maybe you're unsure how to break the news. Maybe you're even more unsure about what to do and what to say after you break the news.

Our piece, How to Tell Your Ex You Want a Divorce (in the Most Amicable Way Possible) will help you with all of that in a way that keeps conflict at a minimum. And, our advice even comes with a draft follow-up e-mail that you can customize.

Tune out the chaos

If you haven't already listened to the Hello Divorce Happy(er) Holidays playlist on Spotify, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to get festive. Few things work better than music to re-energize and re-focus, and we spent a good chunk of time compiling songs that will lift you up and keep you feeling positive, motivated, and ready to go the distance:

While you're on Spotify, I hope you'll check out the Hello Divorce Podcast! Each 5 to 7 minute podcast is about all things divorce with tips, advice, and some of the smartest people in the divorce, coaching, and well-being industry. I hope you'll give it a listen!

Take a little advice from people who've been there

Maybe this year hasn't gone according to plan. So what? The most important thing to remember right now is that, like it or not, you are not alone. This might be your first divorce, but the good news is, (literally) millions of people have gone through divorce before you. And they've got some really good advice to share:

READ: 6 Sanity-Saving Holiday Tips for Surviving the Holidays, From People Who've Been There

Getting through the holidays with kids

If you haven't already downloaded a co parenting app, do it right now. Schedules are busy, and it can be tough to keep finances, schedules, and agreements organized. Co parenting apps like Fayr help you streamline conversation and document it. And as an added bonus, when you and your ex use a co parenting app, you won't have to worry about cringing or tearing up when you check your email. Just check the app once a day, and you're good to go.

Related: 5 Co-Parenting Plan Resources We Love

If vacation planning with your ex has you up in arms, I highly recommend our resource, Vacation Planning With Your Ex Driving You Crazy? Co Parenting Tips That Get The Job Done.

And finally, a few quick tips to keep the kids front and center this holiday season:

  • Keep routines intact as much as you can. Routines and rituals help kids feel stable and secure, safe and loved.
  • Your kids are going to want to see both of their parents for the holiday(s). Make sure they get that time and that they know you want them to enjoy the time they spend with your ex.
  • Cooperate; don't compete. Nobody wins when parents try to compensate by overbuying on gifts. To the extent that you can, coordinate gift giving so things feel equal on both sides in terms of price and quantity.

Remember to make time for yourself. Here are self-care strategies you can implement.

This should probably be the first thing I list in this toolkit, not the last. But there is so much truth in the phrase "Put on your own oxygen mask first." It might feel hard to schedule or too self-indulgent. But if you don' care for yourself, who will? And, it will be harder to be present for others at a time of year when people value your presence.

Stuck for ideas? These articles will help:

Would you like to come up with a self-care plan you'll actually stick to? Then download our Self-Care Worksheet. First, we'll challenge you to commit to a timeframe. (Because if it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done, right?) Then, we'll ask you a series of questions about how you're feeling and the areas you feel most in need of a little pick-me-up. Finally, we'll walk you through the steps for picking the perfect self-care activity for where you are right now.

If you like that worksheet and want a tool for focusing on the new year ahead and all you want to accomplish, download and print our Goal-Setting Worksheet. Focusing on the future is a terrific way to remind yourself that this period in your life is temporary. You will get past this, you will move on to your next amazing chapter, and there's absolutely no reason you can't start working toward that chapter right now.

A few more tips

  • Say no: If you don't want to go to every holiday event or party, just don't. It's okay. Your friends will still love you. And if they don't, they aren't good for you anyhow.
  • Bye, Felicia: Leave the guilt behind. You are doing the best you can, and that's good enough. You don't have to be perfect. 
  • Offline is the new luxury: Social media comparisons suck. If you can' scroll through SM without getting sad or jealous, find something else to do. Listen to podcasts, browse at the bookstore, take a walk, or get creative.
    Just a couple of weeks to go, and then we'll move on to a new year, and a new you. You can do this. And we're here to help.
Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.