What can you do if this is your first Thanksgiving without your kids after a divorce?

rsz first thanksgiving without kids

Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday after a divorce. How can you as a parent be thankful when the thing you are most thankful for – your kids – are with your former spouse for the holiday? We know this can be emotionally difficult, but before you start talking to the turkey or crying while eating pumpkin pie, here are some suggestions on what you can do this Thanksgiving.  

Don’t be alone

We hope that you are not completely alone on Thanksgiving without your kids. However, if you are and don’t have any other family members you want to spend the day with, pick up the phone and call your friends. You might think that this would be awkward; however, your friends won’t mind you asking to join them. Your friends don’t want you to be alone on Thanksgiving as that is a feeling no one should experience.  So, instead of possibly ending up in a depressing weekend, ask to join their celebration.

Go out after the holiday meal

If you are going to be with family for turkey dinner but don’t want to go home afterward to an empty house, then ask your friends to get together. If your friends are ready for a break from their holiday festivities, suggest meeting up for a movie, ice skating, bowling, or at a local restaurant. If you don’t want to go out but simply want to be with your friends after being with family, ask to stop by their house for dessert.

Remind yourself that this is only 1 day 

This is only 1 day. It will be a difficult day when you are having a new experience for Thanksgiving with family and feeling awkward without your kids, but it is only 1 day. Remember that you will be with them next year for this holiday and you can still be thankful for them. If you and your former spouse are getting along as coparents, then you can also be thankful that your kids are enjoying the holiday with their other parent.

Make it a lazy day

If nothing we have suggested so far works for you, then make it a lazy day. Catch up on all the tv that you have missed so far this season or watch football all day. You pay for cable or Netflix or Hulu or Disney+, so grab the turkey and pumpkin pie, have a seat on the couch, and binge-watch the day away. Consider it some feel-good laziness.

Go do what relaxes you

If you do find yourself completely distraught on Thanksgiving, then do whatever relaxes you so you can enjoy the day. Maybe it’s going to the gym, running or walking outside, yoga, reading a book, playing video games, or shopping online. Use whatever relaxation tool(s) you used to get through the divorce process to get through this day.  

Ignore social media

Lastly, to avoid any potential negative feelings, don’t log on to social media and see pictures of your family and friends celebrating Thanksgiving. There is no reason to compare your Thanksgiving to other people. Also, the holiday photos you see on others’ social media pages may not be as happy as they look.  

Whatever you do this Thanksgiving, we hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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