The holiday season can be a magical time, offering chances for families to come together, give gifts, celebrate traditions, and be thankful for everything they have.

Unfortunately, this can make the season difficult for parents who have recently experienced divorce, since they will likely be coping with loneliness, struggling with change, and remembering the good times they had with their families in the past.

While the season can be emotionally challenging, divorced parents can make the most of the holidays by following these tips:

Understand your parenting plan – Your final divorce decree will include a schedule for parenting time, not just describing which parent children will spend time with on an everyday basis, but specifying how holidays and school vacations will be divided between parents.

Knowing what your parenting plan says will help you avoid any conflicts with your ex-spouse with regard to whom children will be spending holiday time.

Make the most of your time with your children – Even if children will not be with you on Christmas Day or other holidays, you can still celebrate during the time you have with them.

Stockings can be hung, gifts can be exchanged, and other holiday activities can be enjoyed at any time. Focusing on family togetherness during your parenting time can help you avoid disappointments and manage expectations.

Build new traditions – Your new circumstances may mean that you are unable to enjoy some of the traditions that your family had previously participated in, but this gives you a chance to create new traditions that you and your children can remember for years to come.

Consider different crafts you can make, treats you can enjoy, or local activities you can attend with your family this year and in the future.

Avoid conflicts around children – Emotions can run high during the season, but even if disagreements arise between you and your ex-spouse, you should do everything you can to keep things civil in front of your children.

This will help them to continue to associate the holidays with positive emotions, laying the foundation for more good holiday seasons in the years to come.

Take care of yourself – Being alone during the holidays can stir up many negative emotions, so take some extra time for yourself during the season and work on meeting your own needs.

Buying a gift for yourself, spending time with family and friends, or participating in activities you enjoy are great ways to remind yourself of the positive things in your life and start the new year on the right foot.