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How to handle the holidays after divorce

Divorce can be difficult any time of year, but often the most painful occasion is the holiday season. While some situations in California may allow ex-spouses to avoid each other, those who have children will have to find ways to get through the holidays and any future events without spoiling the occasion. Psychology Today offers readers some tips on keeping the season joyous after divorce.

First, it is important to avoid the temptation to compete. Many newly separated spouses feel the need to make up for the loss by providing bigger gifts than normal. This can lead to each parent trying to offer a better present than the other to show his or her love, leading to a pointless competition each year. Instead, ex-spouses should decide together what the budget will be and how many presents can be given.

It is also important for pick-up and drop-off times to be determined before the holidays roll around so there can be as little interaction as possible. Both parents should be on time, but if one is running late due to weather or holiday gatherings, consideration should also be given. There are few times that are better to avoid contention than during a time when children are excited and expecting their parents to share in their joy.

A well-discussed, pre-planned schedule can also make the holidays easier. Whether the parents choose to split the holidays into days when they can see their children or rotate years when they have them, discussing the options with a mediator can be a great way to simplify this time of year even more. CNN reported on a family who found that taking turns with the children each year worked best since the other parent could travel or visit friends when it was not their turn.

Compassion, forgiveness and love are all aspects of the season that can greatly benefit a family after divorce, but even ex-spouses who harbor anger and resentment can benefit from these tips to keep the holidays as simple and stress-free as possible.

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