Waking Up Alone This Christmas :: Divorce, Joint Custody, and The Holidays

This Christmas will be the first Christmas I will be waking up alone. Even when we were separated, I stayed the night on the couch at my children’s father’s home during the holidays. It was our original home and even though we planned to divorce, we still celebrated Christmas morning together. I may even have decorated the tree that year. That first Christmas morning was a bit of a blur and painful for the both of us as we tried to navigate Christmas with a two and a four year old, four months into our separation.

Waking up Alone This Christmas, Divorce, Joint Custody, and The HolidaysLast year, my girls stayed with me for Christmas Eve, and this year, it’s their dad’s turn. How I would spend those often early morning hours goes from consciously staying off social media to waking up early and doing something grand and philanthropic. But I have a different idea.

I originally planned that I would avoid the fact that I don’t have my children with me. I imagined myself pulling the blankets over my head in denial of the fact that it is Christmas morning. My mind had visions of the empty sad space, void of giggles and excitement at the crack of dawn. But divorce is a lifetime, so I’ve got my plan.

I’m going to set up Santa on Christmas morning.

Instead of staying up into the wee hours on Christmas Eve, I’m going to wake up and eagerly prepare for their arrival! Christmas music will be playing and pancakes made from scratch as I know my children will soon be over. I’ll have a wonderful brunch started ready, with an early morning mimosa for myself!

This Christmas morning, I’ll be full of cheer as I set up the dollhouse furniture, carefully arranging the tiny baby carriage. I will take in the moment of setting up my 7 year old’s first American girl doll, front and center by the multi-colored lit tree.

My house will smell of Christmas, and my heart will be full of joy.

Julie Couret
Nola Native, Julie Couret is Mom of Emma Mae (12) & Helen (10) and partner to her long term boyfriend Tom. She co-parents with her ex-husband & is known for candid posts on her life behind the scenes. Julie is self-employed an Executive Coach who works with business owners leading strategic planning sessions, management training, leadership development, and change management. She loves road trips with her kids, playing tourist in her own city, and riding in her parade Krewe Cleopatra!


  1. This definitely hits home to me. I have been divorced for years and on their dad’s year, I have wallowed in sef pity, cut the grass, drank a bottle of wine, cried etc. There are so many emotions that I have gone through and it doesn’t get easier, it’s just the way you handle it. It seems as if you have a great way to deal with it and before you know it, they will be back home with you! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!


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