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Surviving your first Christmas after separation

The festive season is nearly upon us. Yet, what is advertised as the season for joy, can for some, bring a great deal of stress and upset, particularly those facing their first Christmas post-separation or divorce.  

Family traditions may feel redundant now you are no longer together, and memories of what used to be may cloud your mind. But remember, while you cannot control the loss of those traditions, you can control how you respond to this, and how you build new traditions moving forward. 

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind to help you enjoy a Merry Christmas. 

Focus on the positives

You control how you respond to having a different Christmas. If you are down and negative about it- it will feel that way. Instead, approach the situation with a positive mindset and a willingness to embrace all the different things about your new-look festive season. 

Do something different 

Discovering new traditions and things to do over the festive season can be exciting. So make plans with friends and family and fill your time. Try new things. Go on holiday. Volunteer for the day. See different friends.

And on the flip side, enjoying missing those things, you did not like to do at Christmas but felt obliged because of your previous relationship.

Break from the expected

Who says you have to celebrate Christmas Day on the 25th December? If you have children and they are with your ex this year, have your own Christmas on a different day. And do the works, the kids will love having a second Christmas Day, and you can celebrate with them.  

Or perhaps you are in a new relationship, but you cannot meet on Christmas Day, then have your day together as a couple later and enjoy the magic of two Christmas Days yourself. 

Take some time for yourself

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the busy, chaotic world of Christmas but build in even more time for self-care this year. If your split happened this year, you have been through a lot and looking after yourself is important. Think of things that help you relax, walking, yoga, running, a warm bath, watching a film and do more of them.

Keep to your routine as much as possible

When all around you feels chaotic and out of control, sticking to your normal routine will help you feel more grounded and calm. If you can keep the basics in place: eating well, regular sleep times, keeping up with exercise, plenty of fresh air and pockets of relaxation – the rest will follow. 

Put the children first

For those facing their first Christmas as a separated parent, it is time to show them (where possible and safe to do so) that you can still enjoy some time together as a family. Plan and define a clear routine/split of time that works for the kids first and then both parents. This will require compromise on both sides but will help you all adapt to (and hopefully enjoy) a new type of Christmas. 

So whether it is your first Christmas after separation or your 10th, remember to be kind to yourself and others and embrace the changes rather than dwelling on the past. 

Get in touch 

If you would like any advice on divorce, separation, or other family law issues, please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist divorce lawyers here. 


The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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