For anyone recently separated or divorced, managing that first Christmas when you have children can be challenging. But what about when you don’t have the children? How can you make it the best it can be when they’re spending the festive season elsewhere?

We’ve talked in a previous blog about how your children might be feeling as you navigate new traditions and routines at Christmas, now, it’s time to think about you. Here we’re exploring a few ideas around how you can make the most of some time to yourself during the festivities, and how to make it count. 

Take a trip 

If this is your first Christmas post-separation without your children in tow, it’s understandable that you might want to take the opportunity to enjoy a change of scene. Whether you head off for some winter sunshine or stay closer to home, a different location and taking some time for yourself can help you focus less on what used to be, and more on embracing new traditions and experiences. 


You might decide you want to do something a little different with your free time when the children are with your ex-partner at Christmas. Volunteering is not only a fantastic way to get out there and help the community, it’s also a brilliant way to meet new people. 

Sometimes after a separation or divorce, your social circle can feel a little divided. People may take sides, and you may find that you don’t see as much of some people as you used to do. Volunteering, can open up a whole new group of people and friends outside of your old relationship. 

Locally in Harrogate, there are lots of opportunities to support charities and causes in the area. Take a look at Harrogate and District Community Action for more details. 

Spend it with friends

Your friends will most likely be aware of your current situation, and this is your time to lean on them for support. If you’d prefer not to spend Christmas day by yourself, get in touch with friends and family members and make plans to spend some time with them. 

Whether you go to them or they come to you, whether you spend the whole day together or just a few hours – it’s entirely up to you. It’s also the perfect excuse to enjoy some child-free adult conversation! 

Make a plan to touch base 

It’s likely that your children will be keen to see you, or at least speak to you, on Christmas Day. This might especially be the case if you have younger children. Plan ahead. A quick phone call or Facetime to have a chat, see one another and let them show you their presents can make all the difference, reassuring both you and your children that everything’s OK.

Try and keep the conversation light and positive. Your children will likely be worried about you if this is their first Christmas away from you. This is your opportunity to show them that you’re alright as you both get used to the new routine. 

Plan your own Christmas with your children 

Just because you don’t have your children on Christmas day itself doesn’t mean you can’t still have your own Christmas day once they’re back with you. Throw the festive rule book out of the window and plan your own special day together whenever that is, and whatever that looks like to you and your children.

However, be mindful that if your children are splitting their Christmas between you and your ex-partner, it’s not about ‘outdoing’ one another when it comes to the celebrations. Co-parenting at Christmas can be a challenge, but simple things like agreeing on who’ll be buying what presents in advance can avoid any unnecessary tension and confrontation.

If you’re concerned about what the arrangements for the children will look like following your divorce or separation, we’re here to help. All you need to do is get in touch with our team to book a no-obligation chat.