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How to cope with Christmas following a separation

Christmas in particular can be a very stressful time for families newly broken apart by separation or divorce.  This is the case not only for the children but also both parents – the one spending time with the children and the one who might be alone. Therefore it is good to have a strategy in place to with how to cope with Christmas following a separation.

Plan.  It is important to think about it early, agree what is going to happen and make sure everyone is clear as to the arrangements.

Be fair. To everyone.  As a parent the likelihood is that whatever you agree this year will be visited upon you next year.

Make new traditions.  Christmas is a time of family traditions.  Sometimes this can make things very painful so make new ones.  Or if you are splitting Christmas day and not sitting down for lunch together, what about making breakfast a special meal? My children certainly enjoy an “anything you want” breakfast!

Don’t try and be the big cheese with the presents.  Try and see if you could share the cost.

Don’t be hard on yourself.  Whatever happens it is going to be different.  You might feel sad, lonely upset or deliriously happy.  Think about how you might feel in advance and talk to someone about it.  Share your feelings, concerns or worries.

Don’t be hard on your ex.  If they are without family, they may well struggle.  If they live nearby see if you could arrange for the children’s presents to be exchanged on Christmas Day.   The children will then see both their parents.

To quote Chris Martin of Coldplay – “nobody said it was easy”. Maybe try not to make it too hard.

If you would like some further help on how to cope with Christmas following a separation, it may be worth considering some counselling – more information can be found here and here.

Jo qualified as a solicitor in 1992 having completed her training at leading Cambridge firms Taylor Vinters and Thompson and Co. After qualification, Jo moved to J Garrard and Allen in Olney where she established the family department. In 1994 Jo was made a Partner at J Garrard and Allen and continued to build and develop the practice. Jo trained as a mediator with Resolution in 1996.

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