It can be very hard for parents to have to split up their holiday time with the children. This is stressful, not only for the children but for the adults involved as well. Believe it or not, the holidays can still be fun for divorced parents and their children. Focusing on making the holidays fun for the kids is important in reducing the stress levels and helping everything to come together easier. Playing games together as a family can help this to happen, as well as spending time with the extended family from both sides of the marriage. If the spouse no longer has anything to do with his or her inlaws, at least the children can spend time with each family during the holidays.
It helps when you put the children first. The magic of the season belongs to the kid in all of us and if the divorced parents work together to help keep the magic alive, it helps to make the season enjoyable for all involved. Make sure that all holiday plans are made early and that both parties fully agree on all arrangements. If the parents cannot come together for the holiday, choose separate days for each parent to enjoy with the children. For example, if celebrating Christmas, the kids could spend Christmas eve with one parent and Christmas day with the other, and all agreements need to be made well in advance.
Talk to each other about gifts. Don’t overdo it or try to one-up each other. If your relationship with your ex is friendly, it’s possible to go together to buy gifts for the children, or at least both parents could pay in so a purchase can be made and be given from both mom and dad. Duplicate gifting can be avoided by the parents telling each other what purchases they are making all along the way. Keeping the monetary value of the gifts to a set limit can help avoid one parent buying ‘more’ for the children than the other. This helps the children to see both parents as equals, so they won’t prefer one over the other.
Avoid stress while dealing with the ex spouse. The children need to see their parents unified at least in some regard over the holidays. Keep attitudes light and try to get along for the sake of the children so they can enjoy the season as a family. It should be agreed ahead of time that all disagreements need to be contained and held back to keep the holidays fun for the children. Resolve differences calmly and quietly without yelling to keep the atmosphere light around holiday time. It can help to continue with family traditions that the children are used to experiencing, as these help make the holidays more enjoyable as a family.