As a divorced family entering the holiday season, there are many pitfalls you have to avoid. Your primary focus should be on ensuring your children have a Merry Christmas and don't grow up with unhappy memories of family discord.
Christmas is intended to be a season of peace, love, and sharing.
Be mindful that your children will be celebrating in two households, not just yours. It’s the little things that count. Communicate with your ex about schedules, letters written to Santa, and religious rituals. Can you imagine trying to explain to your child why Santa brought identical gifts to two houses? And when it’s time to have “the talk” about Santa, give your ex-spouse a head’s up.
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines specify that you alternate holiday parenting time annually so you are going to experience disappointment whenever your child is not with you sharing the joy of the season. That first Christmas morning without your child running down the stairs to see Santa’s bounty is a sad day indeed. Don’t pass your misery to your kid.
Try creating new rituals for your new, smaller family. If the Elf on a Shelf was a big thing before your divorce, try implementing an advent calendar to generate excitement about Santa’s impending arrival. Find a worthy charity, adopt a needy family and involve your children. If you only get to see your child for a few hours on Christmas Day, schedule something great and memorable. Think outside the box. Enlist your extended family to help.
Most importantly, be respectful of the time your children are with your ex-spouse. The children might not be spending Christmas Eve with you, but it is Christmas Eve, nonetheless. Know your kids are experiencing a joyful time in a different home, with different practices. You can hate your ex the other 364 days a year. On Christmas, give it a rest.
Take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of wine or eggnog (yuck) and download It’s a Wonderful Life on Netflix. Don’t be a Grinch.