Legal Blog

The First Holiday Without Your Children

Your divorce is probably one of the biggest challenges of your life, especially if you have children. Once a custody schedule has been approved, you will begin to establish a new way of life and newly defined interactions with your soon to be ex-spouse. With the holidays approaching, you may be the parent that has to celebrate without your children this year and it’s okay to be concerned about how you will handle it. It is natural to be concerned about the unknown, but the best thing you can do is to acknowledge your feelings and move on toward making a great life for yourself and your children. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the first holiday without your children:

Prepare your children for what to expect.

Your children are going to wonder how to handle this transition as much as you are. They will probably have some sadness, but you can help by talking with them about the positive experience they will have with the other parent and the creation of new holiday traditions that they can get excited about. More cooperation between you and your ex-spouse will give your children a sense of ease that everything will be alright even if you are living separately.

Plan your own celebration when your children return or before they leave.

The children may not be with you on “the day” of the holiday, but the holiday for you will be the day on which you celebrate it. Plan a celebration before your children leave or when they return. This is a great way to extend the holiday cheer. What child won’t enjoy two Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations! Planning a celebration after they return will give both you and your children something to look forward to and may help you get through the tough moments.

Make plans and have fun.

This is a new beginning for you and there is no reason you have to sit at home with old memories when you can start making new ones. If you are unsure about what you want to do, then make a list of things that you have always wanted to do and ask a friend to tag along! The holiday season also is a great time for giving back. Plan some charitable activities such as working at a local soup kitchen or adopting a family for the holidays. These are activities that you can plan and prepare for with your children, even if they are not with you to share the activity this year.

Step outside of your comfort zone.

Divorce can take a toll on your self-confidence and being without your children during the holidays may exacerbate your feelings. Work toward gaining your confidence back by facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone. Some ideas include:

  • Finding ways to meet new people. There are many websites geared toward helping people connect around common interests and social activities. During the holidays, these groups may provide a great outlet for you to meet new friends by attending holiday parties or shopping trips.
  • Going places alone. You may be used to running errands alone, but try a fun activity by yourself during the holidays. Go to the movies and see the latest holiday film or eat at your favorite restaurant. Get comfortable in your own skin.
  • Cleaning house. If the old memories are too painful, get rid of items that remind you of your ex-spouse. It is ok to clean house as you decorate for the holidays. Incorporate new décor that appeals to you and makes you feel good.

Transitions such as these are difficult for parents and children alike. If this is your first holiday without your children, then it is the start to a new way of celebrating the holidays. Retain the sentiment of the season, remember the reasons you celebrate. Those reasons still remain even if it feels very different. We wish you good tidings and great cheer this holiday season.


Linda Ostovitz Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.   You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.