First Holiday as coParents
The divorce or separation just happened and the holidays are looming, now what? While coParenting, holidays have to be planned well ahead of time so that the children have the experiences that they need with both parents and with their extended family and friends. When newly separated or divorced, if at all possible, put your differences aside and try to spend the first holiday together or keep traditions as close to what they used to be.
If your children are of age, perhaps you could ask them for their opinions. During the initial separation period, children have to get used to different routines, environments, systems of engagement with their parents, and asking for their opinion will make them feel like their voices are being heard. If parents can bring the family together for holidays, even for a couple of hours, while working out a visitation schedule as part of their settlement terms, this may keep the children feeling connected and stable while getting used to the divorce and eventually transitioning into new traditions.
But what if one coParent has a hard time showing up on time, or at all? Organize the holiday so that the coParent is the secondary focus to the plans and minimize the disappointment to the children. Don’t focus on the late parent; treat the lateness casually. The whole point is to make the children’s holiday experience more important than the parent with a time issue. Give the parent with the time issue the itinerary and encourage them to show up on time. This has nothing to do with fairness. This has everything to do with focusing on the happiness of the children in any way possible.
What if parents cannot be together without hostility? If that is the case, then alternating each year or splitting up the holiday where the kids spend one day with one coParent and the other with the other coParent is an option. As much as you dislike your ex, remember how much more you love your children and don’t speak negatively about the other parent in front of them, for their sake.
Enjoy the holidays and create new traditions that your children will get excited for each and every year.