Avoiding conflict is of primary importance when you have children and are getting divorced. However, around the holidays, the need to minimize conflict and get along well with each other is even more important, because children expect these to be joyous times, and rightly so.

You and your ex can work together to make these holidays as enjoyable as possible. Plan in advance. Schedule a holiday conference in a neutral setting in which you will discuss all your holiday plans with your ex. This eliminates the risk of last minute misunderstandings about who will have the children, what kind of rituals will be included and other aspects.

Include your children in the holiday plans. This helps you get an idea of what they want to do during the holidays, and also allows them to feel like they’re participating in the celebration. Don’t keep children in the dark about your holiday plans. They may get stressed out, not knowing what the celebrations are going to be like, and how they are going to be different from last year when you and your spouse were one family.

If you do plan to celebrate, have a joint holiday celebration with your ex and the children, and minimize the use of alcohol. Alcohol can lower inhibitions, and the last thing that you want to do is say things that you will regret in front of the children.

Holidays after a divorce can be time to kick start new holiday traditions. Encourage children to volunteer at a local charity.

Keep the menu simple, and focus on being together as a family and not as much on showing off your skills as a party host.

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