9 New Holiday Tradition Ideas for Divorced Parents

decorated Christmas tree against blurred background

A Divorced Parent’s Guide to the Holidays

If you are a newly-divorced parent who has custody of the kids this holiday season, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and anxious. This may be your first holiday alone with your children, therefore you may have countless questions on how to do it right. However, there is no specific rule or guideline on how to parent the “right way” during the holidays, especially if this is your first time doing it alone post-divorce.

As such, our attorneys are compassionate to your circumstances and understand that this an emotional time for you and your children. You may feel pressured to make it extra special and memorable for them. With this in mind, we describe 9 holiday tradition ideas below to help you navigate the holidays with your kids:

Volunteer and donate: You and your children can serve meals at a local soup kitchen, “adopt” a family for gift giving, run a marathon for charity, prepare meals for homeless families, and more. Donating food, clothing, toys, and hygiene products is also common during the holidays. Giving back is a meaningful and impactful way to celebrate the holidays with your children, and they will likely feel uplifted knowing they made a difference in someone’s life.

Cook a new holiday meal: Consider cooking up a new meal this year. Whether it be a ham, casserole, pie, or dessert, cooking a different holiday meal may help take your children’s minds off of their old holiday traditions and give you an opportunity to bond with them in a unique way. ­­

Take a road trip: Traveling out of town will give you and your kids a much-needed change of scenery. Spending quality time away from home, even if you don’t travel too far away, will allow you to enjoy quality time alone with your children and establish new holiday traditions together. Should you decide to take a road trip this holiday season, ensure you ask your children where they want to visit. Doing this will help them feel listened to, respected, and prioritized.

Invite new friends or family over: You can invite new faces to your home for the holidays. Before your divorce, you may have had to compromise with your spouse about who gets to invite their family and friends over, how many guests will stay, and for how long. Now that you don’t have to worry about that, you can host whichever family and friends you wish to. Before you invite anyone over, however, be sure to listen to your children’s opinions and suggestions because it’s their holiday vacation, too. They are likely struggling with the idea of spending the holidays without both parents in the picture, so it will mean a lot to them to host family and friends whom they enjoy spending time with as well.

Visit new family or friends: Remember those long-lost relatives who you haven’t seen in months? Years? Luckily, the holidays are an opportunity for you and your children to reconnect with those relatives or friends you haven’t seen in a while. As mentioned above, it is best to ask for your children’s opinions about visiting your family and friends for the holidays before making any final decisions. Their opinions are just as important as yours, if not more, during this time of year.

Decorate your house or apartment: One of the most exciting holiday traditions is decorating. Your children may not have decorated your home or apartment for the holidays after your divorce, so doing that will be a new experience for everyone to enjoy. Putting up the lights, assembling the tree, and placing the holiday trinkets around the house will be a fun and special activity that is unique to you and your children.

Create ornaments, gingerbread houses, etc.: No matter how old your children are, participating in holiday decorating activities is a joyful experience. Activities such as decorating ornaments, assembling gingerbread houses, baking cookies, making snowflakes out of paper, and more can bring your family closer and allow you to spend quality time with your kids.

Watch a holiday movie: Nothing beats a classic holiday movie with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. As such, consider watching a holiday movie (Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Eight Crazy Nights, The Santa Clause, etc.) Ask your children what movie they want to watch after dinner and go with it. Again, doing this will not only brighten their holiday spirits but also make them feel like their voice matters.

Attend holiday and Christmas light displays: Chances are, you are not too far from a magnificent holiday light display. Many neighborhoods go “all-out” for the holidays, putting on jaw-dropping light displays that attract individuals of all ages. These light displays are typically free of charge, but the experience is priceless. As such, you can make your children’s holiday celebration brighter (figuratively and literally) by taking them to a light display.

We hope the information above helps you and your children find peace of mind this holiday season. If you would like to speak with our Birmingham family lawyers about your situation, contact us at (205) 259-7650!