Holidays Bring Challenges for Non-Traditional Families


Graphic by Aayushi Chaudhary

Holidays are usually a time for families to come together and celebrate as well as practice traditions. Having a non-traditional family, specifically with divorced parents, can make holidays slightly more challenging.

Senior Dee Conner has divorced parents and reflected on how it affects her life during the Christmas season.

“[Having divorced parents] does make it a bit hard when trying to balance out going from house to house,” Conner said. “And also it can be sad because [my parents] are not together, so you’re not really together as a family.”

Conner said that having a routine in place helps make things easier during the holidays.

“When [my parents] first got divorced, it was a little hard to adjust to, but now we got into the routine of it and everything works pretty good,” Conner said.

Junior Yasmine Elrefaie celebrates Eid, a traditional Muslim holiday, and said having divorced parents can make it stressful when getting together with family for the holiday.

“Usually for Eid, we have two of them, one in the beginning and one in the end of summer,” Elrefaie said. “And so one of them will be mom’s and one of them will be dad’s. Same for all of our school breaks, it’s like this is mom’s break and this is dad’s break. It’s just a lot to deal with.”

Social Studies instructor Derek Fey is divorced and said he has grown accustomed to his and his ex-wife’s routine during the Christmas season.

“My son goes with his mother, it’s just written into our plan, she lives a few hours away, so he will always go there for Christmas to keep the traditions that they have with her family together,” Fey said. “And then I celebrate with him when he comes back, it’s just kind of routine. He doesn’t know any better and it doesn’t really affect us.”

Even with busy schedules, Fey and his family find time to get together during the holidays.

“I celebrate Christmas Eve with my two brothers and their families; sometime it’s Christmas Eve, sometimes it’s Christmas day, it depends on the year,” Fey said. “My younger brother is divorced as well, so we’re all kind of juggling schedules but we make it happen.”

Despite the stereotypical sense of joy and peace that are associated with the holidays, many non-traditional families face challenges during these times.