If you are divorced or divorcing, getting through the Christmas and holiday season can be one of the hardest parts of the year. If it’s this stressful for you, think of how hard it is for your children. Here are some tips for helping your kids face Christmas time and the holidays now that you and your spouse have called it quits.
1. Don’t get hung up on the date: You are used to spending the entirety of each holiday with your kids but now you probably need to split the time or alternate with your ex. If you are missing out on the actual holiday, like Christmas day, with your kids, that does not mean you still cannot celebrate. Plan something special for when you are together, even if that is days before or after. Show them that it is time together, not the date on the calendar, that matters.
2. Make gifting easy: If gift-giving is part of your family’s holiday tradition, make sure your kids know you will help them shop for your ex and their family if needed. Young children especially need assistance with this. Odds are that your kids will feel awkward or uncomfortable showing up to Christmas or a holiday with your ex without a gift. You may not be in the mood to buy gifts for them but set any negative feelings aside in order to put the children first. Doing so will model good behavior and generosity, which is something we all want our children to learn.
3. Be flexible and considerate: Your Agreement or Court Order may have a specific holiday schedule, down to the hours and places of pick-up and drop-off. Most years that probably works out fine, but we all know that during the holiday season, especially around Christmas, sometimes events arise that don’t follow your set schedule. For example, one of you might have an office holiday gathering that conflicts with the schedule. Be open to making accommodations so that the children can attend those types of events. But if you are the one asking for the change, don’t go overboard. Remember that your ex also wants to have special time with your children. There needs to be a give and take so be prepared for them to ask you for other time in exchange and be gracious about it.
4. Save the one-upsmanship for another time: It feels good to make our children happy and around the holidays that can be pretty easy. It can be tempting to overspend and outdo your ex in the gift-giving arena but you cannot buy your way into a better holiday with your kids. Going overboard also can make your children feel awkward with the other parent. If you and your ex are on amicable terms, consider having a discussion about what you each plan to buy the kids and try to achieve some sort of parity, if possible.
If you and your ex are having trouble navigating the holidays, Greenblatt Law can help. We have experience handling high conflict custody situations and can offer assistance through the holidays and beyond. Contact us today to get started.