Christmas can be a fantastic time for families, but it can also be a challenging one that leads to arguments, guilt and ill-will.
It can be particularly difficult for recently divorced parents and their children. Christmas comes but once a year, and children can only be in one place at a time, so unless both parents still get on well, the child cannot spend the day with you both at the same time.
Decide how your child will split time between you
There are several ways you can handle it. The child could alternate one year with you and your family and the next with their other parent and their side of the family. You could treat Christmas as just one of several important events to divide time between, so your child could have Christmas with you and Thanksgiving with the other parent. Or you could split the day in two, so the child wakes up in one house and then spends the night in the other.
However you do it, communication is crucial, as is accepting the need to compromise. That includes extended family, too, as your child will feel bad if they overhear Gran complaining about how it’s unfair that she does not get to have the kids around for Christmas lunch this year.
Take care with gifts
Do not feel you have to blow your budget to buy a present of equal value to your child’s other parent. And certainly do not make negative comments about how poorly chosen the present they bought for your child is or how they only bought your child an expensive present because they feel guilty. Your child needs to feel free to enjoy both your presents without comparisons or guilt.
Considering occasions such as Christmas in your parenting plan can help pave the way for smoother co-parenting.