The holiday season is here, and with it comes the familiar stress for separated and divorced families. As a season of family togetherness, it can be a tough time for children of divorce to cope with. They may think of their friends’ families enjoying festivities, songs, and movies as a complete and happy unit, while theirs seems fractured and sad.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to remember that no family is perfect. As long as you’re together, you and your kids can make changes together and create holiday magic in new ways. Any holiday will be celebratory if your family has love.
Don’t get sucked into resentment and sadness. Instead, think of how you can do what’s best for your kids. No matter how frustrating, you must work with the other parent to create a memorable holiday season. Compromise is crucial. We know that’s not an easy feat, so we’ve come up with some suggestions on how to make the holidays a success.
- Create a holiday calendar – While your kids are out of school, you’ll probably still be working, so it’s important to get together with your ex, at least over the phone, to create a holiday schedule. Look at the weeks ahead and decide who will have the kids and when. Christmas is always a hot-button topic because both parents often want to be with the children. You can opt to split the day in half or try a two-day approach where one parent gets the kids on Christmas eve and the other gets them on Christmas day.
- Make a gift guide – Always collaborate with the other parent when it comes to gifts, so your children don’t get the same gift twice. It also gives each parent the chance to give one cool present so neither one hogs the excitement. An easy way is to make a gift guide using a shared Google document that lists who will buy each toy.
- Create new traditions – One of the best things you can do for your children during the holidays after a divorce or separation is to start new traditions. Give your children something to look forward to, so they focus less on the past and more on the excitement of something new. By learning to adjust and transition, your holidays with the children can have just as many pleasant memories as those in the past.
- Treat yourself – As parents, we often get caught up in doing what’s best for our children, to the detriment of ourselves. There needs to be a balance. Take some “me time” this holiday season. Find something that you will enjoy, whether it’s a fancy dinner or a spa day. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you have fun with it. You can even spend a day volunteering. Not only will you help someone else, but you’ll also feel good about yourself too.
Ignore what other people say the holidays should be like. Life brings change. While your holiday plans will certainly be different, with some reinvention and improvisation, they can still be magical. Dealing with separation and divorce is difficult this time of year, especially on children, but having a positive outlook and a co-parenting plan can help you create a happy family holiday.
When you need to come up with a custody agreement or parenting plan, McConnell Family Law Group can help. Call us today or contact us online. We’ll help you find peace through strength.