Two Christmases Aren’t that Cool: Seven Tips for Enjoying Holidays for Parents and Kids of Divorce

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About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer ( is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.


  1. Tom Matlack says:

    All great advice. From a guy who has been there and done that the one other thing I would recommend is to try to remember that Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is just another day. Take the pressure off and focus on having great time with your kids whenever that happens. Don’t buy into the Hollywood image of the family on Christmas morning. That is hype and not true for most people. Every day love is what really counts.

    • Good advice for anyone, anyday, Tom. So easy to overlook in the quest for Skylander’s Giants, or whatever fading fad.

  2. I know it’s easier said then done, but when possible, include the ex and their family- even if you are picking your kids up from the ex’s family holiday party, call well before and say that “__________ really has a difficult time transitioning, would it be OK if I come in for coffee before the kids say their goodbyes?”

    Also, I think it’s helpful when the parents encourage other family members to be inclusive. Now, I am married, but I was a teacher for many years, and all I really learned was that parents have great big egos! Maybe it’s uncles, cousins, or other sets of grandparents, but it’s a time of joy and peace. Suck it up, both parents, and be there for your kids- they will learn more from your good behavior then the naughty…

    • Difficult indeed, Maia, but exceedingly beneficial for the kids if it can be done without conflict. For many where old wounds are easily picked, visiting with the ex and the ex’s family without conflict can be a Christmas miracle. Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

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