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Family | How Do You Manage the Holidays After Hardship?

The Times wants to hear from you.

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Nov. 16, 2021

The winter holidays can be difficult for people who find themselves struggling in their personal lives. The forced cheer, the default joviality, the assumption that families will gather — all of these markers of the coming month can be especially challenging if you’ve experienced loss or tragedy.

One writer’s advice? “Don’t take the holidays sitting down,” suggested Hanna Ingber, in an essay about preparing for the season after divorce. Many readers commented, sharing their own strategies for getting through the holidays:

Newly divorced, I celebrate holidays (starting with each birthday after 60) by doing something physically challenging and then toasting my accomplishments with a friend or two. This year I’ll hike 12 miles up and down a mountain on Christmas day. — A reader in North Carolina

As a widow with an adult child who currently doesn’t speak to me, I always plan ahead for this difficult time, knowing the sadness is unavoidable but doing what I can to care for myself. My plans include: avoiding social media as much as I can, spending lots of time outdoors with my dogs and maybe another widow friend, and leaving town, if only for a day, to look at another horizon. — A reader in Atlanta

Now, we want to hear your best advice: Whether you have experienced a familial disruption or a personal tragedy, how have you made the holidays easier on yourself? Fill out the form below, and a reporter may be in touch.

Tell us your story. What makes the holidays difficult for you and how have you made them easier to handle?*

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Is there anything else you'd like to share about what has been going on in your life that makes the holiday season difficult?

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Do you have other advice for people who might going through a tough time?

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Where do you live?* If we publish your submission, we may include your approximate location.

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