Christmas is filled with magic and joy, often inspired by our little ones as they keep us connected to the enchantment of the festive season.
But while it may seem to be all about Santa and his elves for our kids, in truth, Christmas is about family and celebrating together. This can make the balance of the festive period somewhat difficult for parents who have separated or divorced. It is an emotional time for parents who are raising children together but separately, but there are ways to have a happy co-parenting Christmas.
Planning Around The Christmas Tree
Christmas is never a surprise. We know exactly when it's going to happen and what our children expect of us, which means there is plenty of time to plan how you will celebrate Christmas. Plan well advance so that you are not tied into the emotions that often spike at this time of year. Having a plan gives you time to pencil in the finer details of times, days, events, and avoid disappointment for either of you or the kids.
Consider The Kids’ Expectations
We have our own ideas as to how we want to celebrate Christmas but remember our children will also have their own ideas so consider what they want also. Younger kids may worry that Santa won’t be able to find them. Older children may have an idea of what they want to do or where they want to celebrate Christmas. Give your kids a voice and possibly include them in making the decisions. Regardless, make sure to reassure them that Christmas will still be special and Santa will know exactly where they are.
The kids may not understand the long and difficult conversations you will both have had about so many different aspects of family life during and after the separation, Christmas being just one such discussion. When you make a decision, stand together and show a united front with your kids so that they know you are both on the same page when it comes to how Christmas will be celebrated this year. Talk positively and be excited for the fun and adventure you will all have.
Be Realistic About The Change
If this is the first year working out a workable Christmas plan between two homes, remember that this is brand new territory and that the festivities will likely look a little different this year. That does not mean it won't be as special. Traditions will change, but they will also grow and develop into new wonderful memories.
Plans may change. If this happens, keep emotions in check and alter the plans to suit the whole extended family. Try not to place blame on one another, out each other in the gifts and experiences stakes, and remember there is one-upmanship in co-parenting.