It’s that time of year…you’re supposed to feel festive and joyous, but for many people, it is exactly the opposite.

For those that have dealt with a change in their family structure due to separation or divorce, the ‘holidays’ can be even more challenging. Here’s a quick tip survival guide:

Child-centered - if you have kids, spend time together doing activities that are put off during the rest of the year. When appropriate, ensure that kids have equal parenting time with both parents, and even have visits with all extended family. If one parent lives far away – plan for a telephone call, Skype or Facetime.

Gifting – kids will want to give a gift to the ‘other parent’ and your participation (driving them to the stores, and allocating money towards a gift) will surely be called upon. Only the children suffer when parents are too proud to buy gifts for the ‘ex’.

New traditions – most families have deeply rooted traditions and customs around this time of year. With new family structures, some established ways may need to be updated. If possible, include the children’s ideas about what ways the holidays could be celebrated in each household, so that next year, there are new traditions to which they can look forward.