How Do You Handle Christmas After Divorce?

How Do You Handle Christmas After Divorce?

This is the second Christmas I’ve celebrated as a single mom.  But last year was before the divorce was final so it wasn’t really setting the stage for moving forward – more of a treading water Christmas.

This year Christmas is the real deal.  This is the first Christmas post divorce.  Therefore, the first Christmas setting expectations of what Christmas will be like for the next 13 years.   Which raises the question –

How do I want to handle Christmas post divorce?

Divorce and Christmas

This past week I’ve had a few thought provoking moments about how I want to handle Christmas and birthdays in this new reality.

For example, my daughter’s 12th birthday was this week.  She’s been asking for Beats Solo Headphones so I snagged a pair during Black Friday and gave them for her birthday present.  Normally – or rather pre-divorce – she’d only get those.  They are pretty expensive after all.

But this year she got the headphones from me and a Kindle Fire from her Dad. Lucky kid! Either of those would have made a great “big” present from Santa if her Dad and I were still doing holidays together.  Or if we were cooperating for holidays even though separate.

Cooperating with Your Ex for Christmas

This week on Facebook one of my friends was griping about her ex not thinking they should get an iPad for their daughter.  He was thinking the daughter was feeling too entitled, she was thinking the daughter was unselfish and had only asked for the one thing so they should get it.

I was thinking it was impressive they cooperated to buy the big presents together.  What a thought!

But not even just big presents.

On Friday my kids had a choir performance and my ex and I had a fairly civil night where we sat together and talked during the breaks.  I asked about Thanksgiving and it came around to Black Friday and what we each were getting for the kids.

It turns out his mom was planning to buy the girls winter coats for Christmas.  But I’ve already gotten them winter coats that are wrapped and under the tree waiting for Christmas day.  They certainly don’t need 2 coats.

So what do we do?  Is it a matter of who buys what present first or who opens presents with the kids first?  That doesn’t seem like the best way to go.

Post Divorce Christmas Questions

With Christmas quickly approaching (and the gift buying nearly complete), I’ve been mulling over some questions about defining Christmas post divorce.  Here they are:

  • Are my kids going to get double of everything?
  • Are they going to expect a full Christmas twice?
  • Or half the normal number of presents at each house?
  • Should the ex and I sit down and divvy out who’s buying the kids the things they only need one of – like coats and Kindles?
  • Does Santa come to both houses or just the one where they spend the night on Christmas Eve?
  • Should we agree on a budget per kid for presents so the gifts from each of us are about equal?
  • Do we have them do Christmas Eve at one house every year and Christmas Day at the other? Or alternate  years?
  • Do we do rock – paper – scissors to figure these things out?  ;)

For those of you that are divorced – what do you do?   

Any other things I haven’t thought of that I should be figuring out? 

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2 Responses to How Do You Handle Christmas After Divorce?

  1. Wow! All good questions. I am not a divorced parent, but throwing in my 2 cents worth. I think conferring well in advance is the best solution. Case in point – grandma wants to buy coats, and now might be feeling peeved since she was (in a sense) denied this opportunity. I can see how two separate Christmas’s might lead to a bidding war of who gives the best presents and that is something you probably want to avoid like the plague. I was going to say, why can’t Santa come to both houses? But then thought, what if Santa is the one bringing the “big” gifts? Same problem – twice as many gifts? I can see how kids “might” use dual households to their advantage. Oy! This IS tricky. Hopefully cooperation between both parties will prevent unhappy children and unhappy parents.

  2. Exactly Suzanne! Peeved gma, bidding war, twice as many gifts, and Santa typically does do the big present.

    It’s tricky and not always due to conflict, just things I hadn’t thought of…I just went merrily along buying as many presents as usual, but their Dad never did any of the shopping before, so if I do same old same old the amount of gifts and duplicates becomes ridiculous.

    Ack! I think I am going to suggest Santa only comes where they spend the night and am going to try to buy half the presents as normal. Maybe have a certain # of gifts or a stricter budget.

    Thanks for understanding so well!!

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