If this is your first holiday season as a separated or divorced parent, you're likely facing the prospect of not being with your kids on the holidays themselves or not seeing them every day throughout their winter break. Maybe they're even going away for a few days or longer with your co-parent. You can minimize your holiday blues and help your kids enjoy the season with some planning.
If you and your co-parent already have a holiday schedule included in your custody agreement, you know when you'll see the kids and when you won't. Make sure that they know and understand the schedule as well. Kids like to be able to discuss their holiday plans with their friends.
If you're not going to be with your children on Christmas or during Hanukkah, make your own new tradition. Plan a celebration or at least a special activity for whenever you will be together. Maybe you can plan a visit to Disneyland to enjoy their Christmas decorations or take them to one of the many Hanukkah celebrations around Southern California in December. Making plans is always a good cure for holiday blues.
Make plans for yourself as well. If you're going to be away from your kids on Christmas or New Year's, plan an activity with some friends, family or simply by yourself. This could be something simple like Christmas Day at the movies or a ski vacation in Idaho. There are plenty of volunteer activities around the holidays that can help you focus on helping others rather than on yourself.
If you and your co-parent haven't yet finished working out your custody agreement, or if the one you have doesn't specify a holiday schedule, it's important to think about that. Having a schedule around which the whole family can make plans in advance can help the holidays go more smoothly next year. Your family law attorney can help you seek the holiday custody and visitation schedule that's best for you and your kids.