With Christmas being just over three weeks away, it’s normal for stress levels to increase. December comes around in the blink of an eye, and this unfortunately causes people to panic about having everything ready.

Statistics show us that Christmas is in the top ten most stressful life events, up there with changing jobs, moving house and divorce.

If you find yourself going into December, having gone through a divorce or separation this year, you may be worried about how you can enjoy the festive period, particularly where there are children involved.

We’ve listed some of our top tips which can help reduce your stress levels, and make this Christmas an enjoyable family time.

There’s no right or wrong way

It is important to remember that each divorce is different, and what might work for some families, won’t work for all.

Because of this, you have to remember that there is no right or wrong way to organise your first Christmas after separation.

Some people may split amicably, meaning that Christmas arrangements are less stressful. Whereas others may have had a more complicated divorce, meaning that more time and planning has to go decisions.

Leave your children out of disruption

As solicitors, we always keep a child’s wellbeing at the forefront of every decision we make, during divorce or separation.

Try to keep your Christmas plans as undisrupted as possible, especially if you have younger children.

If you split amicably, it may be positive to try having Christmas morning together as a family, where the children can open presents with parents.

On the other hand, if you had a complicated separation and both parties have planned their own Christmas, DO NOT ask your children to choose who they would prefer to spend the day with.

We understand that parents will want their children to have the choice. However, by making them choose, it is possible they may feel caught in the middle, which will put unnecessary stress and pressure on them.

Don’t leave plans until the last minute

Making your plans in advance is a great way to help make December less stressful. You want to be sure that everyone is on the same page, and that there will be no last-minute surprises.

Whilst this may sound obvious, the sooner you start a discussion about Christmas plans, the more time you have to finalise plans that suit everyone. This is far better than leaving things until the last minute, or leaving one person disappointed or upset. Or even worse, that a child is disappointed not to be able to spend time with a parent over Christmas.

You should also think about whether your regular contact schedule needs to be modified in the run up to Christmas, as well as any “emergency plans”, which would come into place if, for example, bad weather makes travelling difficult or impossible.

Remain positive!

Children can be more susceptible to our moods than we think, and if they sense stress or tension, they often take on that feeling themselves. Ultimately, your mood could result in them not enjoying Christmas.

Trying to stay positive can not only reduce issues down the line with your children, but it may also reduce your own stress and help you enjoy the festive period.

We understand how hard it can be going through a separation during Christmas time, that’s why we’re here to help. To speak to one of our family team today, either call 01254606008 or contact us by email.