For families, Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year. Everyone gets together around a dinner table heaped with roast turkey and all the trimmings, happy to put their smartphones away and enjoy a meal that has been a cherished tradition for generations. For some of us, this is one of the few times per year that we connect with extended family.

However, if you have recently been through a divorce, then Thanksgiving can be one of the most difficult holidays to prepare for. Depending on the parenting plan, you may not even have the kids with you at this time. Even if you’re relieved that the marriage is over, it’s always hard when a special tradition changes.

How to get a new tradition started

The good news is that you have an opportunity to establish a new one. It doesn’t have to be a 360-degree turn from how you used to celebrate: if you always hosted a big get-together at your home, then you can do it again this year. The timing may be different if you don’t have the kids on Thanksgiving Day, but once you’re all assembled around the dining room table, it’s time to let new memories and traditions begin.

Are you alone on Thanksgiving Day?

If the kids are with your spouse on the big day, then you might be tempted to spend it alone and work through your grief or loneliness. You deserve better. Knowing that you are divorced, friends and family will probably invite you to join their celebrations- make sure you accept one of these invitations. Alternatively, you could:

  • Host a dinner at your place and invite people who are alone at Thanksgiving for one reason or another.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or other outlet that makes holiday means available to homeless and low-income people.
  • Spend the day getting ready for the huge celebration you’ll host when the kids get back from their other parent’s place.
  • Participate in any Thanksgiving celebrations being hosted by your church or local community center.

You may also decide to join your former spouse and the kids for Thanksgiving. While this can work if your divorce was amicable and even make it easier for the children to adjust to the change in their lives, don’t do it if you and your ex are on hostile terms. The tension will be present throughout the meal, which probably won’t end well, and everyone deserves better.

The first Thanksgiving after divorce is always an emotional challenge, but planning new traditions and taking care of your own needs can prevent it from being sad or depressing, and, afterward, you may find yourself looking forward eagerly to next year.

If you questions about divorce or child custody, then contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky. Mr. Lutzky offers free initial in-person consultations. His office is located in the Morris Park area of the Bronx, New York. Visit to learn about Mr. Lutzky’s 36+ years of experience fighting for the rights of his clients.