Divorce is difficult for any Chicago family, but when the holidays come around it can be especially challenging. No matter what the circumstances were leading to the couple's breakup it's important to try and come together long enough to figure out how to help the kids make the best of the situation.
In the best circumstances, newly divorced parents manage to still spend a holiday or two together for the sake of the kids. If you think this is something you and your ex can handle, it's important to establish ground rules and leave the issues you have with each other at the door while you are celebrating. Other times kids are able to spend time with each parent individually on a single holiday. Most often, though parents and kids need to be flexible about how they look at a holiday after a divorce. Holidays become holiday seasons, which is different, but not the end of the world.
Another important thing parents should do for themselves is dig into their support systems. Many Chicago parents retain close relationships with siblings well into adulthood. Lean on family and friends who understand how redefining the holidays affect you, and take time to vent if necessary-- although not with the kids in hearing distance.
Lastly try to avoid competing with your ex when it comes to gift giving. Divorce is expensive, and chances are you really can't afford the elaborate gifts you may be tempted to give your kids. Yes, the look on a kid's face may be priceless when they get their own TV or the latest game system, but at the end of the day they know you love them, even without the bells and whistles.
Source: Huffington Post, "O, Come All ye Newly Single Parents: How to Get Through the Holidays Without Singing The Blues," Christina Pesoli, Oct. 19, 2012