I’m divorced or separated and am dreading the holiday season. How do I survive the holidays?

For some people, the holidays mean gatherings with friends and family, family traditions, festive lights, parties, and holiday cheer. It may mean hearing a family story once again and laughing as if you have just heard it for the first time or looking forward to a traditional holiday dinner.

However, others might dread the holidays as they are dealing with heartache, painful memories, and the change in family dynamics due to separation or divorce. The emotional roller coaster and trauma of divorce make it difficult to get through a normal day. And the holiday season can be especially difficult because everything in life has changed and past holiday memories along with what or who is missing can weigh heavily on one’s heart and spirit.

They are simply trying to survive the holidays and make it through the season.

Tips on How to Survive the Holidays

For those who are experiencing sadness and loss, there are healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms to navigate and survive the holidays.

Some may try to numb the pain through a new relationship, the use of alcohol or drugs, retail therapy, or other means. Others may strategically plan their holiday calendar with numerous social and family events so that they are not alone.

Spending time with family and friends is important. But it is also best not to overburden our schedule to the point that we become physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted while going through one of life’s difficult seasons.

Here are a few tips to help someone cope and survive a difficult holiday season:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Develop a flexible plan to get through the holidays.
  • Set realistic expectations because things are different.
  • Seek counsel from your church, pastors, and licensed professionals.
  • Allow family, friends, and others to help you.
  • Communicate with your children about the changes in your holiday routine and create a new “normal” for family traditions and celebrations.
  • Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
  • Join a support group.
  • Volunteer at your church or in your community.
  • Prepare yourself for social events and possible awkward emotional moments.
  • Spend time with God. Pray and know that you are never alone because God is ever-present.

Opportunities at Chase Oaks to Survive the Holidays


Joining a support group, such as DivorceCare, can help someone traverse the difficult journey of divorce. DivorceCare is a divorce recovery support group for anyone in any stage of a divorce.

This group is a great place for participants to share their story with others who are also experiencing the upheaval of divorce; to discover help and hope; and to experience God’s healing.

DivorceCare is led by people who truly understand the emotional, physical, and mental impact of a divorce on the entire family. Our DivorceCare leaders are volunteers who have been through divorce themselves. They have a heart for individuals who experience separation and divorce.

For more information about DivorceCare at Chase Oaks, contact Lori Thompson in Pastoral Care at our church office or email her at [email protected].

Surviving the Holidays Seminar

Chase Oaks is offering a special DivorceCare seminar called Surviving the Holidays.It will be held on November 14, from 7-9 PM, at our Legacy Campus.

The seminar is specially designed for people who are separated and divorced and will provide practical holiday coping strategies by covering the following topics:

  • How to deal with the many emotions you’ll face during the holidays.
  • Helpful tips for surviving social events.
  • Ways to give your kids a good holiday experience.
  • How to discover hope for your future.

What to expect at the Surviving the Holidays seminar:

  • Watch a 40-minute video filled with practical holiday survival tips and the real-life stories of people who have navigated the season after separation and divorce.
  • Hear other seminar attendees explain how they are dealing with the holidays.
  • Have the opportunity to share how separation or divorce is affecting you. (No pressure—this is optional. We want you to feel comfortable.)
  • Receive a personal copy of the DivorceCare Holiday Survival Guide.

For more details about what to expect at the seminar, you can visit the DivorceCare website.

This holiday season, do not navigate the difficult path of separation and divorce alone. Join us as we find help and hope as we navigate the holiday season. Register today at Surviving the Holidays at Chase Oaks. We hope to see you there!