If you’re facing your first holiday season as a newly-separated or divorced parent, you’re likely doing so with some sense of sadness and anxiety. No matter what your custody and visitation agreement is with your spouse, the kids are probably going to be spending some part of their Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations with their other parent.

However, you can still make the holidays fun and memorable for the kids as well as for yourself.

First, remember that a holiday doesn’t have to be a one-day celebration. If your children are going to be with your ex on Thanksgiving or Christmas, for example, plan a special celebration before or after. Most kids won’t turn down a chance to celebrate any holiday multiple times. Create new traditions that will give them some fond memories of their first holidays without their parents together.

Second, make plans for yourself for those holidays when you won’t be with your kids. You may want to spend time with other family members or friends.

You could spend these holidays doing something nice for someone else, like volunteering to serve a holiday meal at a local mission. If you’re fine with being alone, use this time to pamper yourself or simply enjoy the solitude, either at home or on a short getaway up or down the coast.

If you and your co-parent haven’t worked out how you will split your time with your kids during the holidays, now is the time to do it. Holiday schedules should be part of any parenting plan. Your Rhode Island family law attorney can help you develop a schedule that will let your kids enjoy the holiday season with both of their parents.

Source: ESME, “The First Holiday Without the Kids,” Amy Rivers, accessed Oct. 11, 2017