#Love & Sex

How I Survive The Holidays With Divorced Parents

by Hannah Marsh

How I Survive The Holidays With Divorced Parents

Being an (kind of) adult with divorced parents and navigating your way through the holidays can be tough, but here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

I know we all hear about this being the “most wonderful time of the year” and yada yada yada, but let’s get right down to it: While they can be fab, the holidays can also be super stressful. And if you’re a child of divorced parents, it definitely doesn’t make it any easier.

While families of divorce are all so different from one another, splitting your time and travel between everyone you love can be seriously tricky no matter the situation. While I’m by no means an expert (don’t even get me started on fitting in your boyfriend’s fam, too), I’ve definitely learned a thing or two in my years of navigating the holidays.


Procrastination is not an option when it comes to the holidays and divorce. When my sister calls me at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday in September to talk about Christmas plans, I honestly shouldn’t be surprised anymore. Committing to dates that far in advance tends to be terrifying, but by getting our calendars out early we can more easily avoid overlapping schedules!

2. Go Ahead And Add “Professional Communicator” To My Resume

Communication is hard, communication with family can be harder, and I promise you that trying to communicate with multiple parties of your family, who most likely don’t see eye-to-eye is the hardest, but I’ve also found it absolutely vital in order to have any holiday cheer whatsoever. I have learned (and am still learning!) to be upfront and honest about what I can realistically give timewise. It can be hard to get all parties on the same page, but it’s most likely that everyone is going to have to sacrifice a little somewhere!

3. Balancing Food

If you thought holiday weight was a fun bonus of the season before, try having multiple family Christmas feasts to attend. Holiday meals mean constantly reminding myself that this will not be the last basket of dinner rolls I will ever get my hands on and that Christmas cookies are not actually going extinct. Because after several consecutive days of dessert after dessert, you can bet that jeans are not an option for at least a few days (weeks) following.


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4. Flexibility Is Key

Because I can barely move my body after any holiday dinner(s), I obviously don’t mean physical flexibility here. Everybody involved has to be willing to shift things around. Sure, one side has had to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday instead of Thursday some years, but it’s about who we’re with, not on what day we celebrate!

5. For Once, Your Siblings Are Your Biggest Ally

My sister and I are polar opposites (and that’s not an exaggeration), but when the holidays come around, you’d think we were professional partners in crime. From tag-teaming our parents to being each other’s venting and support system, I’m definitely reminded of how much I appreciate not having to go it alone this time of the year!

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Especially with divorced parents, the holidays might feel like a period of time you’re just trying to “get through.” But no matter your family dynamic, remember to try and be thankful for everything you do have during this holiday season!