Divorce and the Holiday Season

Q. “The holiday season is coming up and I’m recently separated. I have two school-age boys. My stomach feels like a knot thinking how different the holidays are going to be now for them. Is there some way to make it easier?”

A. Family holidays are supposed to be relaxing and stress-free, but often they aren’t. Planning family holidays is a particular challenge for the millions of divorced families out there. In fact, one out of three Americans is part of a blended family (and I suspect the statistics are similar for Canadians).

Divorced families face an even bigger challenge with holiday planning with children shuttling back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house. There are all those logistical questions. Whose turn is it to have the children for Christmas morning? What if both parents are having a turkey dinner on the same day? How do you handle summer break? What do you do if you end up solo on a major family celebration day?

The key for separated families, like yours, is to doing some advance planning and preparation. Without that, holidays can end up being a time for stress and re-opening of old wounds instead of a time to relax and unwind, both for divorced parents and their children. There are some tips I can offer to make it a bit easier. First of all, instead of planning your holidays one at a time, … Continue reading

My Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe

As we wind down the year, one of the things that says “Aaah, the holidays are here!” to me the most is the smell of yummy, fresh baked cookies. With time being short, I’m always on the lookout for a great cookie recipe that’s not only delicious, but time-effective in the kitchen too.

A friend of mine gave me this awesome recipe for Chewy Spice Cookies a few years ago — and it has quickly become a family favorite and staple. Fits the sweet tooth bill any time of year, actually! So while you might not typically find a cookie recipe here on this blog, I thought I’d use it to share with you a great find that my family and I so enjoy. And I hope you will too!

Happy Holidays and all the best for 2010!

Bonnie Stern’s Chewy Spice Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

1 1/2 tbsp. coffee

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (sounds odd, but easy to find in the grocery’s baking aisle)

2 tbsp. sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter with sugar until light. Beat in egg, molasses and coffee, mixing well between additions.

3. Mix or sift dry ingredients together. Stir into batter. Mix in fruit.

4. Knead batter into a ball and divide into 8 equal pieces.

5. Roll each piece into a log about 1 “/2.5 cm in diameter and about 12 ” long. Place on cookie sheet and press flat.

6. Bake 9-10 minutes — cookies should still be soft. Spring with granulated sugar. Cut about 1 “/2.5 cm wide slices on the diagonal. You will get about 8 cookies per strip.

Reaching Your Goals: Creating a New You for a New Year

Have you got your list of New Year’s resolutions written yet? Have you charted out the course you want to follow in 2009? If you haven’t, don’t fret too much. Research shows that over 90% of New Year’s resolutions end up on the trash heap anyway.

Despite our best intentions to achieve our goals, life can often get in the way. I had planned to take a few quiet personal days over the holidays, to thoughtfully reflect over the past year and create my plan of action for 2009. I’ll be honest and tell you it never happened. Life happened …. Continue reading

Loneliness During the Holidays

Q. I find the holidays really hard now that I’m separated. It’s tough not being with my children all the time, especially when it used to be such a special family time for us. I feel sad and lonely.

A. Special occasions, such as Christmas or Hanukah, school vacation times and birthdays, can be difficult for families who are separated or divorced. Loneliness unfortunately comes with the territory. That’s why it’s important that you …

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