Christmas after a separation does not have to be a difficult time. While the traditions will invariably change if you have been with your spouse every Christmas before this one, you have the opportunity to create new and wonderful traditions that your child will appreciate. In some cases, this may help you to form an even stronger bond than you may have had with your child otherwise.
Decide on Scheduling in Advance
Christmas should be a relaxing day for your child, so try to plan so that your son or daughter is only with one parent on Christmas. Trying to go to more than one celebration in one day can be very taxing, so avoid doing things this way if possible. Instead of playing tug-of-war over your child for the actual holiday, work with your spouse so that you each get a day or a few days in which to celebrate. Even if it’s a week or two before or after the holiday, make it feel like Christmas by pulling out all of the stops. Discuss work schedules with your former spouse so that the holiday is as relaxed as possible for everyone.
Don’t Be Petty with Gifts
In many cases, spouses try to “one up” each other by getting the best or most expensive gift. Don’t fall into this trap, as it is a costly and bitter road. Try to get a gift from the heart. If you and your spouse are on amicable terms, it may help to discuss what everyone is getting so that double gifts will not accidentally be given. Make the gifts about your child, not your insecurities or jealousies.
Don’t Worry About Appearances
If you and your ex-spouse are getting along, it may sometimes make sense to celebrate together. Be careful not to give your child false hopes that you will get back together, but enjoy the time with your child without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Some families can comfortably spend Christmas with a very blended family, including ex-spouses and new step-siblings if they are all compassionate and harbor no inhibitions.