If you are in the midst of divorce or already divorced, you have children, and you celebrate Christmas, then this piece is for you. For most parents who celebrate Christmas, they find great joy in creating magic and traditions with their children during that time of year. And children grow up with their happy memories of holiday decorations, a certain elf moving around the house each night to report to Santa, making cookies, having dinner with cousins, and of course, waking up Christmas morning to open presents. Don’t let your divorce destroy this part of their childhood. Give these ideas some thought:
Gifts for Parents
While you were married, you likely took your children shopping to buy a Christmas gift for the other parent. Don’t stop doing that. We teach children all the time that it’s better to give than to receive. But unless your child is 16 years old with a job and a car, they simply don’t have the means to go purchase a gift for one of the two people they love more than anyone in the world. Imagine the gift you are giving to your child to help them with that.
If you have the children Christmas morning, invite the other parent over early to open presents when the children wake up. Some find this hard to imagine, especially in the middle of a divorce when negative emotions between the parents run high. But imagine missing out on the smiles and screams and giggles when the wrapping paper comes off. If the thought of missing out on that makes you beyond sad, I guarantee you that the other parent feels the same. It’s really an easy fix to overcome any bitterness you may feel to bring an hour or two of joy to your children. And as odd as this may sound – spending time together as parents on Christmas morning during or after divorce – parents who divorce using the Collaborative Divorce process do this all the time.
Time on Christmas Day
Many divorced parents have a schedule that allows one parent time with the children from the day school is released through December 28 and the other parent from December 28 until they return to school. Parents find it very difficult to imagine how they will get through Christmas Day without seeing their children. Now think about how your child feels. On a day that we teach them is an important family day, what message are you sending when you don’t create a way for them to see both of their parents? If you are traveling with your children, make it a point to build in time so that your children can video chat with their other parent. Today’s technology makes this a no-brainer.
Create New Traditions
If you find that one or both of you just can’t share time on Christmas Day together with your children, or the other parent will not create time for you to see your children on Christmas Day, then get creative. Recreate Christmas eve and Christmas Day at your house on different dates. What child is not going to want to celebrate Christmas twice? Find something unique you can do that is not done at the other house. Maybe it’s a lights tour with hot chocolate or a holiday pajama party with the cousins on your side of the family. The possibilities are endless.
Rhonda Cleaves is a Credentialed Collaborative Divorce Attorney in Plano, Texas. She represents clients throughout the DFW metroplex, including those who live in Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. To schedule a consultation, call (972) 403-0333.