The Christmas holidays are all about happy memories and family time – which is precisely why divorced parents struggle so much with the season.
The traditional “alternating years with each parent” holiday custody schedule means one parent is always left feeling lonely and bereft of that precious time with the kids. The kids, too, may feel sad about leaving one parent out of the festivities and their experiences.
Is there a better way? Maybe. A lot depends on how well you and your co-parent are willing to work together, but here are some potential options:
Throw convention to the wind and figure out what’s best for your family
Good co-parenting means sometimes thinking outside the routine and looking for solutions that are tailored toward your family’s unique needs. Here are some holiday options:
- You can still have the usual holiday routine where you rotate custody of the kids every year, but why make it exclusive? By agreement, the parent who doesn’t have custody each year is invited to stop by early Christmas morning and participate in the gift exchange with the kids. That way, everyone shares in the excitement.
- Can you make use of electronic visitation? Maybe it’s impractical to share the holiday in person when it’s your co-parent’s time, but Zoom, Skype and Facetime can make it seem like you’re there. This lets the kids show you their new toys and allows you to share in their day.
- Could you split Christmas Eve and Christmas Day up? If one parent celebrates with the kids on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day, nobody has to feel left out each year. (This could be particularly good if one parent is a night owl and the other loves getting up bright and early on Christmas morning).
Sometimes custody agreements have to be renegotiated over time, especially once co-parents realize what actually works best for them and their children.