Christmas is less than a month away and I’m anxious. It’s supposed to be such a great time for children but now things are different. How do I handle this? How do I make Christmas merry for my children?
Make a Personal Commitment
- Set aside your divorce-related issues or squabbles with your ex even if that person is contrary.
- Kids feel tensions between their parents.
- Focus on ways to work with the kids’ other parent to make Christmas as smooth and happy as possible for your children. You may have to grit your teeth to do it if the other person is not cooperative, but remember…this is for the good of your children.
- If your children’s other parent is totally absent or doesn’t cooperate, you can still focus on the positive with your children.
- Don’t drive a wedge between your kids and their other parent, even if your ex makes planning hard or challenges you. Kids do well to have a healthy relationship with each of their parents in as much as that is possible.
- Talk with the kids’ other parent out of ear shot of the kids. Before you talk consider several Christmas plan scenarios that would work for you and ask the other parent if any of the options would work for him/her.
- Once you agree on a general plan, outline the details such as times and transportation. Make the plan something that is workable for the kids. For example don’t overload them with two huge turkey dinners in one day.
- Write out the agreed upon plan and send it to your ex so that you are sure you both have the same understanding of the agreement.
- Once the plan is set, tell your kids so they know what to expect. Keep your side of the family informed as well.
Coordinate Gift Giving
- Do your best to coordinate your kids’ wish list with all involved to eliminate duplication of gifts. Remember, Christmas isn’t about competitive gift giving. Trying to out give the other side of the family misses the point of Christmas.
- Be practical and stay in your budget. Expensive gifts that over tax your budget can never replace spending quality time with your children
- Trying to have Christmas together with your ex may be what your kids want but may in fact not be a good idea for the kids. Yes, they may be happy about it but kids generally want their parents to reunite. Christmas together may give them false hope unless you are in fact reuniting.
- Celebrating Christmas with your ex may also be rattling for you. If you are rattled, your kids feel it.
Get to the Heart of the Matter
- In the busyness of the season, give your heart time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
- Make sure your kids know that Christmas is about baby Jesus being born. Let them know that joy comes from knowing God loves us which is why he sent Jesus.
- Teach them the hymns and praise songs of Christmas so that they may hold the blessing in their hearts.
The more you can work together to create a great Christmas for your children the better. Even if the other parent is uncooperative, you can still make parenting choices that create a Merry Christmas for your children. Focus on the reason for the season and you will enhance your ability to find peace and joy this Christmas and holiday season.
You’ll be blessed and so will your kids.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
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