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Why divorced parents should start planning for the holidays now

Holidays can be a great time of stress, even when everyone gets along. There are a lot of pressures, expectations and obligations that can make it seem like anything but the "most wonderful time of the year." Add a recent divorce into the mix and the holiday season can be downright miserable.

If you have recently been through a divorce, then you are probably already worried about what the holiday season will be like after the split. The good news is that the holidays can still be enjoyable even after a divorce or separation has taken place, and these tips can help make that possible:

1. Start planning ahead of time.

Figure out the logistics now, including who the kids will be spending time with and where, so that this doesn't become a conflict closer to the holidays.

It's a good idea to get specific, even laying out times and locations for exchanges so that both parents (and other relatives) are on the same page and everything goes as smoothly as possible.

If you need assistance with this, a family law attorney or mediator can help you iron it out in writing.

2. Come up with new traditions and rituals.

One of the hardest parts of the holiday season after a divorce is not doing the same family traditions that you may have done for many years.

One option would be to keep the same traditions, with slight modifications, if both parents still get along well. However, it might be a better idea to start thinking of new traditions to do with or without the kids in order to get into the holiday spirit.

3. Remember what the holidays are really about.

The magic of the holiday season is really about the kids, and parents should remember that. It can be difficult to put your own emotions and desires aside, especially when dealing with an ex, but it is extremely important to do so.

As an article from Psychology Today explains, be mindful that the first holiday season after a divorce can feel like a time of grieving, especially for children.

The needs of the children should be the No. 1 priority. If you remember this and make sure that your children feel loved, supported and not put in the middle, then the holidays will be a success, no matter how different they may be following a divorce or separation.

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