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Navigating the holidays through separation, divorce

With Thanksgiving just days away it's officially that time of year again: the holidays. And while the holidays can be stressful enough for anyone -- with all the planning, spending and celebrating -- it can be even harder for parents who are recently separated.

Whether separated or recently divorced, the holidays can be a constant reminder of the ways things used to be. However, this does not mean the holidays need to be ruined from here on out. Rather, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a peaceful and happy holiday season for you and your children:

Moderation: It's easy to overindulge around the holidays. However, keep everything in moderation. This will especially help small children who can be easily over-stimulated. When making plans, also factor in that the children are now celebrating and partaking in holiday festivities in two households.

Traditions: Sprinkle in some new traditions while building off of old ones. This will especially help the children transition during the separation or divorce.

Volunteer: Help those who are less fortunate. This can mean having the children pick out gifts for needy children or volunteering together at a soup kitchen.

Gift buying: Be careful to not try and out-spend the other parent when it comes to gifts. It is easy for parents to get carried away and spend out of guilt. Rather, focus on the fact that what kids really want is their parents' time and attention. This can be shown through baking cookies, going ice-skating or playing a game together.

Of course these are just a few tips to keep in mind when planning the holidays. But what's important for parents to keep in mind is that there are plenty of Missouri parents and children who have survived not only a divorce, but also the holidays.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Holiday Survival," Claire N. barnes, Nov. 19, 2012

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