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For recently separated or divorced, breaking with traditions may be wise this holiday season

This week, families across Tennessee will gather together to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast and give thanks for their many blessings. While the holiday season is often regarded as a happy and joyous time, for an individual who is recently separated from a spouse, going through a divorce or recently divorced; the holidays can be an especially difficult and lonely time.

This is often especially true in cases where children are involved and may be spending a holiday with an estranged or ex-spouse. Holidays are often filled with traditions like decorating, baking and games. When an individual is in the midst of or recently divorced, attempting to participate in old holiday traditions can be painful and result in an one feeling even more sad and lonely.

With the wounds of separation or divorce still fresh, individuals may choose to take a break from normal holiday traditions. Rather than attempt to put on a brave face and fake happiness this holiday season, the end of a marriage can signal a new beginning and a time of reflection. The holidays present an opportune time to reflect on the good in one's life and plan for a happier future.

Too often, individuals get caught up in the material aspects of the holidays. Individuals dealing with the end of a marriage may choose, therefore, to simply their lives this holiday season. For some, foregoing the normal holiday traditions and instead taking time to pamper and take care of oneself may be a wise decision. In other cases, an individual may choose to volunteer to serve others a holiday meal. Whatever the case may be, breaking with old traditions can be liberating and spare one the pain of reliving past memories.

Source:, "Preparing for Christmas … after Separation or Divorce," Judy Hawk, 2014

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