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Co-Parents, Build Your Holiday a Different Way

December 06, 2022
Advice, Co-Parenting
Co-Parents, Build Your Holiday a Different Way

The holidays are supposed to be a time for thankfulness, family, friends, festivities, and fun. However, big holidays can be maddening with all the preparations and lack of time to get everything done.

Holiday stress can really start to build up for the single parent trying to prep for all the events and navigate everyone’s schedules. Not to mention, it’s likely you and your ex have to split time with your kids.

We want to help you reduce the stress of holiday planning with your co-parent. Here’s our step-by-step guide to building your holiday in a different way.

Step 1: Set Aside Expectations

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men, am I right?

You may have hoped and dreamed of something similar to the following holiday scene:

Little Jill and Johnny are sweetly playing with their new toys on Christmas morning while you and your partner, locked in a half-embrace, sip your steaming mugs of coffee and watch them with satisfied smiles on your faces.

But let’s get real: Jill and Johnny are already complaining about being bored, you burned your mouth on your hot coffee, and you and parent #2 are no longer together!

Nobody has a perfect, cookie-cutter Hallmark holiday except for Hallmark.

Forget what you expected holidays to look like around your house, and accept them as they are. So, your family doesn’t look like it did this time last year? So, you have to share custody with your ex?

Your attitude is what the children will remember. Put a smile on your face and find something in the moment to appreciate. A grin and an attitude of gratitude are proven to lift your spirits.

Step 2: Download an App for Divorced Parents

Technology has made communicating and coordinating amicably easier for you and your co-parent. Planning holiday schedules calls for cool heads, effective communication, and proper organization.

Luckily, we live in a day and age where we can achieve so much with the touch of a button. Download an expense-sharing app like DComply to help you track your spending and request and pay costs related to your children. You and your co-parent can even share the expenses on big-ticket items for the holidays.

Other divorced family apps can help you create, share, and track custody schedules for more harmonious coordination. Practical co-parenting apps for use on androids and iPhones can conveniently go anywhere you go.

Step 3: Plan out the Year

Your work schedule or children’s school calendar are great places to start when planning the holidays. Utilizing texts, emails, or your divorced family apps, you and your co-parent can prepare for big celebrations, like Thanksgiving or Winter and Spring Break holidays. Don’t forget to plan for the shorter holidays that give them an extended weekend out of school. Consider how to celebrate the following:

  • Their birthdays
  • Your and your co-parent’s birthdays
  • MLK Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Halloween
  • Summer Break/tracked-out times

Step 4: Select Your Arrangement

Next, use one or a combination of the ideas below to create a holiday plan you can all be happy with. The right one for you and your family is the one that you can all get behind.

  • Split the holiday evenly — Spending half the holiday with your child and then having them spend half of the holiday with their other parent is indisputably fair. It takes coordination and planning through your custody apps to make the most of every moment with your child (allowing the same for your co-parent) without wasting precious time traveling. This setup works well when both parents live within relatively close proximity of each other.
  • Celebrate close to the date — Throw the calendar out the window and use your scheduled custody time closest to the holiday to celebrate. For example, if you have custody of your children the weekend before Christmas, go ahead and celebrate with family, gifts, and merriment as if it were Christmas. What a wonderful memory for your kiddos and, perhaps, a new family tradition!
  • Alternate holiday custody every other year — One parent can have even years with the children on holidays while the other gets them on odd-numbered years. This setup guarantees that you and your children won’t miss celebrations together more than one year in a row.
  • Designate fixed holidays — Your children can always count on spending the same holiday with you. This arrangement works exceptionally well if tradition, religious, or cultural differences make a particular holiday more important to one parent than the other.
  • Alternate holidays within the same year — If you have Christmas with the kids this year, let your co-parent have the next big holiday, like New Year’s Eve or Easter. It would also foster a good co-parent relationship to swap holidays every other year, letting them have the opposite holidays the following year. For example, your ex gets Christmas Eve, and you have Christmas Day with the children. The next year, you get Christmas Eve with the children while your ex has them on Christmas Day.

Learn More

Want more tips and motivation to help you and your children cope with and thrive after a divorce? Our blog has lots of helpful shared parenting tips dealing with everything from co-parenting with a difficult ex to spending the holidays together to some popular divorced family apps. Check back monthly for new advice on issues concerning shared parenting.

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