Holiday traditions have created happy family memories. Stockings hung on the chimney with care, the smell of hot chocolate in the air, and children playing around the Christmas tree. While holidays revolve around time with children, many parents are left wondering how Christmas will feel after separating from their spouse or getting a divorce. And others who have been divorced for some time wish there was a better way to share time with their kids.
While some parents may follow the traditional “Children-with-Mom-in-odd-years-and-Dad-in-even-years,” our divorce mediation clients at The Aurit Center For Divorce Mediation creatively agree on personalized plans that fit more successfully into their holiday traditions.
Consider these creative ways to spend Christmas with your kids as a stocking stuffer from us. We hope these ideas may help improve your future Christmas festivities and most importantly—give your kids the best possible Christmas celebrations.
Option 1: Traditional Odds and Evens
“Christmas Eve shall be defined as December 24 at 11 a.m. overnight to December 25 at 11 a.m. Christmas Day shall be defined as from December 25 at 11 a.m., overnight until December 26 at 11 a.m. Father shall have the Children in all odd numbered years, and Mother shall have the Children in all even years.”
By rotating who is with the children on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year, each parent has time to spend with the children and create both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day memories. There is consistency and clarity to the schedule. Children know that each year they will see both parents during the Christmas holiday and switch each year with whom they spend Christmas Eve and wake up in the morning.
When reaching your agreements, Christmas and Christmas Eve can always be defined as a set timeframe, so there is no confusion as to when one parent’s time ends and the next begins. Some parents even have the Christmas Eve holiday end on Christmas Eve at night, exchanging the kids to the other parent late on Christmas Eve.
For some parents, one parent loves Christmas Eve and the other parent loves Christmas Day—so you don’t have to rotate! There is nothing wrong with one parent always having the kids the 24th and the other always having the 25th if that is what makes both of you happier based on your own traditions.
Spending each day with only one parent each year can be difficult for children, especially those who previously saw Christmas holiday as a time when their family came together for the entire holiday. Providing the opportunity for your children to speak with the other parent via Skype or phone can help alleviate some of the difficult feelings associated with spending holidays apart from the other parent.
Shared time for Christmas present opening can also be a plus to counteract totally separate parents over the holiday.
Option 2: Shared Time For Present Opening
“Mother shall have the Child on Christmas Day in odd numbered years, and Father shall have the Child in even years. However, the parent who does not have the children on Christmas morning is invited to share present opening together from 8 a.m until the 11 a.m. exchange time on Christmas Day.”
Spending some portion of the holidays with both parents together can be a wonderful experience for children, if parents ensure a healthy environment for their kids. Opening Christmas presents with both parents can be particularly special. Yes, it is possible, even for some divorced parents to come together for Christmas present opening. This can be very beneficial for children so long as parents have no conflict or tension between them when sharing that time together. Consider an hour or two of shared time together for present opening before the “Christmas Day” parent takes the kids on their way.
If opening presents together is not an option, perhaps consider another time where parents can be together with Children during the holiday. Parents could share a holiday dinner together, a Christmas tree decoration party, or even bedtime stories on Christmas Eve. Any shared moments with both parents will be cherished by children for years to come.
Although we always hope parents can remain amicable even after their divorce, many parents have a difficult time coming together after the divorce process or separation. The holidays should be a time of joy, and arguments between parents would be worse for kids than having the Grinch himself appear at the party. As long as parents can approach the shared time in the spirit children deserve and avoid conflict, this can be a special holiday tradition. But if Children sense tension between parents, this can create more harm than good, and should not be considered.
We're just getting started! Click here to read the rest on Auritmediation.com