Each year of marriage weaves a web around the couple. Children, pets, lives intertwine and the net is securely tied. But if you are divorced, the untangling is brutal and holidays are the worst!

It seems like the whole world is celebrating and you are the only one who is left out. Not true. Forty percent of couples divorce and most alternate holidays. So, you are in good company during the holidays even when you don’t have your children.

But, I spent too many Christmases taking long walks by myself and lamenting about what I could have done to keep the marriage. I knew all I had to do was be a fabulous cook, a meticulous cleaner, have the patience of Mother Teresa with the children and be a sex goddess at night—easy? I chastised myself: I should have been more loving, more sexy, more wifely. And the chatter was more poignant during holiday time.

When I first got a divorce, we’d just moved from New York to California and I had no extended family nearby. I was so ashamed of telling the people I’d only recently met that I didn’t have my children during the holiday, so I lied. I told everyone who asked about this fabulous family dinner that I had invented to make myself appear “okay.” That was my mistake!

That is the key to coping: Reward yourself for what you have and for being you. Don’t punish yourself for what you lost. If you find people to do things with, then great. If not, do what you love and celebrate yourself. And remember, the holiday is only fixed on the calendar—You can make any day a holiday. That’s what I finally did. I would have a celebration of …on the day before or the day after. And it worked! So, go ahead and enjoy your holiday—I dare you!