Category Archives: Home and Divorce

Handling the Holidays During Divorce

Handling the Holidays During Divorce

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Handling the Holidays During Divorce

Our society begins celebrating the ‘joyful’ holiday season immediately after Halloween and straight through New Year’s Eve.  The message is clear, no matter your cultural or religious beliefs, ‘tis the season to be jolly’.  For those of us attempting to handle the holidays during divorce, it can feel like a season of anything but joy.

If you are in the pre or early stages of divorce, there is fear and trepidation around all that is about to change while you simultaneously are neck deep in the conflict and struggle or the upset around your spouse’s’ decision to leave.

If you are in the midst of divorce, you are wrangling with the loss of family and friendships, perhaps not being invited to the annual shindig or, missing your in-laws who now see you as an outlaw.  Your holidays during divorce may include splitting the time you enjoy with your kids.

Either of these two scenarios may also include pasting a smile on your face to make the best of a tough time…often for the kids and sometimes just to minimize the conflict during divorce.

Handling the holidays post divorce brings a new set of challenges. Spending Thanksgiving without your children or the extended family you loved for so many years. Finding yourself alone, lonely and depressed during Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice.

Handling the holidays during divorce equally holds opportunity

In order to see the opportunity we must stop staring at the closed door that divorce represents and turn our attention to the rest of the ‘room’…the many open doors that await us.

“When God gives you a new beginning, it starts with an ending.  Be thankful for closed doors. They often guide us to the right one!”  ~ Author Unknown

Suggestions for handling the holidays during divorce

  1. Still living together? The holidays can feel like an emotional tightrope walk when living under the same roof with an impending divorce. Keep the focus on the kids and on that which you love (decorating the house, making a feast, watching your children enjoy gifts and company).  If there are no children, consider getting away; spending time with friends and family or getting out of town for a few days.
  2. Volunteer:  You will not only be giving, you will receive both gratitude for your time and attention as well as feel an inner gratitude for all that you DO have.
    1. If alone and lonely is your struggle, there is no better way to get out of our own head and feeling sorry for ourselves than to serve others.  If you don’t want to be around people, choose pets and volunteer at a local ASPCA, Pound or other facility to walk, play with and care for a lonely pet.
    2. Find a soup kitchen or food pantry or senior center or children’s hospital and care for those who are needy and unable to care for themselves or see their families
  3. Make plans and Plan Ahead:  Even if you use one activity a day to ‘anchor’ your day, it will get you out of bed and engaged in the world.  Make it something that puts you around other people where you can have a conversation and shift out of your own head.  Do NOT wait for the day to come, planning ahead will give you something to look forward to and ground you in the day.
  4. Get moving:  Walk, hike, swim, yoga, take a dance class…anything to get your body moving. The physical, mental and emotional benefits will be immediately felt.
  5. Pamper Yourself: Give yourself the gift of self love in whatever language speaks to you.  A leisurely morning, a special breakfast, an afternoon bath and nap, a foot, face or back massage.     
  6. Ask for what you need: Don’t be afraid to tell a friend that you have no plans and are lonely.  There is an invitation awaiting you and if you don’t want to be around another’s family, you can still connect via a phone call or drop in for dessert.
  7. Create new traditions:  There may be things you loved about your old traditions that you choose to keep (or adjust as a single person / parent).  Also consider new traditions.  Here are some of my new traditions over the last 10 years…
    1. One year me and the kids made it a pajama day. They played with their gifts and we watched movies  and ordered  Chinese and…it was a perfect!
    2. There is no other family near by and kids are young adults.  They may see their dad, leaving me alone. I cook all day and have all their friends for a late night holiday feast – with many religions represented, they look forward to it and are deeply appreciative. It has become my favorite way to celebrate Christmas!
    3. I love nature and hike on Thanksgiving or Easter while by myself, enjoying the changing of the seasons and sending pics to my kids during the day.

Keep your head above water this holiday season by listening to our 12 Step Divorce Recovery Series so you can respond rather than react, be solution oriented rather than problem focused and stay rooted in the present rather than lost in past regrets and future fears!


Karen McMahon, Journey Beyond Divorce Founder

KM1 3_16Our team of coaches at JBD is passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

Stay Home Mom Survive Divorce Financially

5 Survival Tips for Divorcing Stay-at-Home Moms

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By Lois Brenner, Divorce Attorney

*Original title: Are you a Stay-at-Home Mom? Are you wondering how you are going to survive your divorce financially?

There are many women who married young or gave up lucrative careers to have children once they were married. They often spend most of their marriage helping to support and in some cases build their husband’s careers/businesses in the best interest of the family.

But what happens when divorce comes knocking at your door? Continue reading

Going From Bitter to Better

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By Lisa Brick

For many of you who have found your way to Journey Beyond Divorce this divorce may not be your first.  Your first experience with divorce may have been when your parents split up.  The relationship you have with your spouse is also rarely the first contentious and painful relationship in your life, although it may well be the most agonizing. There are a number of you who have experienced other challenges in your childhood home, including neglect, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and violence.  All of these experiences compound the pain around the discord and dissolution of your marriage.
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Weeding Out the Old and Uncovering Hidden Beauty

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by Karen Basmagy, Transition/Divorce Coach  

The Power of Metaphor

As spring begins to blossom, many of us have been scrambling to get outside and clean up our yards, myself included. So this Sunday, I quit the seemingly never ending process of emptying boxes from my recent move and turned my attention to the long neglected flowerbeds in the front yard of my new home. I felt a strong need to get my hands in the dirt, feeling like it would be therapeutic for me.  I am not always enthusiastic about doing such work but it had to be done and I needed to shift gears and get outside and away from those boxes!

As I methodically weeded and cleared out the old dead growth and debris in the bed, it reminded me of my transition from my old life to my new. I happily discovered as I began to clear away the weeds that I was able to find some of the familiar and beautiful plantings of my past that were hidden by them. Narcissus, live-forevers, azaleas, irises, ornamental grasses…all became visible as I slowly and diligently, with care and purpose, pulled the unwanted growth from the beds, allowing the new growth a chance to benefit from the warm caress of the spring sunshine, giving them their rightful place in the sun. Continue reading

A Journey Of Empowerment During Divorce

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By Karen McMahon

I awoke this morning feeling deeply grateful for my life. I began my day brewing freshly ground coffee, making a pot of steel oats, encouraging my 17 year old daughter (who has senioritis) to get moving; and feeding my feline family (yes, I have 4 cats). I had a sense of peace and joy. I realized how much I love my life. I love the people my two teenagers are becoming. I am crazy about my job and my clients and my remarkable team of coaches. I adore the women in my life…my deep circle of girlfriends and sisters. I am in awe by fact that I have consciously created a life I love! Someday I know I will meet a man that I choose to marry.

Continue reading

Co-Parenting: Acting Like a Grown-Up for Your Kids

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By Karen Basmagy

Easier said than done for many, maintaining a mature co-parenting relationship with your ex may be your greatest challenge as you seek to rebuild and redefine your life post-marriage. Emotions may still be running high for a very long time for one or both of you. It is imperative that you deal with the emotional demons surrounding your divorce in order to be the parent your child needs you to be. Though you can’t control the behavior of your ex, you can control your own and model what it truly means to be a “Grown-Up’. And by the way, being a grown-up also includes not pointing out how immature your ex’s behavior is. Your child will figure that out on his own as he grows and matures.

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Finding My Way to Acceptance Through Cartwheels and Square Pegs

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By Karen Basmagy

My marriage, like so many others, had floundered for years. Alternating between trying to work on the relationship and then falling back into those comfortable dysfunctional places, I would become so discontent that in my struggle for a solution, I would read yet another self-help book to try to understand why I just couldn’t make the damn thing work. What was I missing? Where was I falling short?

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Divorce Overwhelm – A Grounding Practice When You Short Circuit

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By Lisa Brick


There are many times that, like you, our clients call in a total panic. Emotional sparks  are flying everywhere, like the end of an electrical wire that has been severed by a tree limb crashing down and snapping it in a storm.   There is nothing getting past the break. All of the person’s energy is spewing randomly, everything dark with nothing available to light their path forward.  These moments feel radioactive, destructive, frightening.   Continue reading

My Ideal Partnership

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By Patty, A Journey Beyond Client

My ideal partnership is one that feels as easy and natural as floating around on a raft. Not driven by obligation or restricted by fear, or clouded with compromise.

Back to the positive…my ideal partnership is completely accepting and supportive of each other, truly listening unselfishly without judgment.  It includes encouraging and supporting each others’ goals and purpose for being and fully knowing each others’ past, present and dreams for the future. Continue reading

My Ideal Home

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By Geri, JBD Client

I was in the throes of my divorce battle, emotionally tossed and turned inside out with every new discovery that emerged from the shadows about my ex’s betrayal of our 21 year marriage and his secret life.  And, as the divorce process usually spirals from emotional to financial distress, I found myself having to uproot my two daughters, ages 20 and 18, from our large suburban home to cramped New York City apartment living.  

I sorted whatever I couldn’t take with me and the objects that reminded me of life with my ex.  The floor in my den was piled high with the wedding presents we had received and things we had acquired through the years.  There were stacks of dishes, glassware, vases, paintings, decorative pillows, small appliances, electronics and knick knacks.  I called my friends over for a free-for-all and thankfully most of the stuff was taken.  I gave away sofas, tables, beds, outside furniture and even pool toys.  I purged.  I was left as empty on the outside as I felt on the inside. Continue reading

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