Christmas is a time for giving, but ask many separated parents and the worst thing you can do is ask them to share their time with the kids, especially on Christmas Day.
Many families have their own traditions on Christmas Day; perhaps it’s opening presents first thing in the morning, feasting on the Christmas ham, turkey or seafood for lunch, and then enjoying a game of backyard cricket in the afternoon. But whilst this may be sentimental to the parents, do the kids really mind whether these traditions are followed each year?
Separation is a hard time for anyone but throw in Christmas and it becomes even harder! Parents usually want to maintain their traditions with the kids after separation. The only problem is, most of the time parents have created these together and therefore this usually means those traditions can’t continue for both parents after separation.
One of the hardest things to deal with as a family lawyer is Christmas Day because usually both parents want to spend time with the kids on Christmas Day. But what does this mean for the kids? Usually a lot of time spent travelling on Christmas Day. The kids might wake up with dad, travel to see dad’s family, travel again to changeover to see mum and then more than likely travel again to see mum’s family. The end result is usually the children travelling double the amount of time on Christmas Day than either mum or dad. This can make it a very exhausting day for the kids and not as fun and enjoyable as it could have been.
Whilst Christmas Day is the 25th of December, it can really be celebrated on any date. The bottom line is, kids aren’t usually tied up on tradition or the date; they will just want to spend more time with dad, mum and their respective families and less time travelling. Traditions have to start somewhere and post-separation may be the perfect time to start a new tradition of celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day! What kid won’t love having two Christmas Days in a row!
It’s always best to start planning and negotiating Christmas arrangements for the kids sooner rather than later and, if you are a separated parent, just remember, Christmas is what you make it and your kids will appreciate being able to enjoy the day, regardless of the date!