From experience, divorce and having to face Christmas alone can be a daunting experience. Worrying about the cost of buying presents, or even spending Christmas day on your own whilst the children are with your partner, can all have a significant impact on your own wellbeing and that of your children.
Although it is hard there are simple steps you can take to enable a happy Christmas for your children.
- Put your differences on one side with your partner - Yes this is difficult, but for the sake of children try and keep things as amicable as possible.
- Ask the children what they want to do at Christmas - It is really important to take in to account what the children would like to do and involve them in decision making if they are old enough to understand. Yes we may not agree with what they want and it may hurt our feelings if it isn't what we want to hear, but children have a voice too and they should be listened to.
- Try to arrange Christmas visits and sleepovers relatively early on - I know the heartache this can cause, but children need to know plans and it will reassure them that the absent parent is still part of their life. This will also allow you time to make plans for yourself, visit extended family or go out with friends.
- Presents - Do not let this become a competition in which both parents compete for best presents. Children are just as happy to receive small gifts as they are large ones. Monetary value should not come in to the picture. If you can communicate with your ex partner and find out what they are buying to avoid duplication, or even join together and buy one gift if it is expensive.
- Absent Parents - If it is not possible to be with your children over Christmas make them a video to watch on Christmas morning, imagine the joy they will get from watching it.
Remember there is no wrong or right way to spend Christmas and although Christmas will be different from now on, it doesn't mean to say you cannot enjoy it. Children matter all year round and although relationship breakdowns are hard for everyone involved, family life continues. Family is not just about parents though, extended family should be taken in to consideration too, they feel the loss of relationship break downs also.
In collaboration with Slater Gordon.