This blog is the last in our series of top tips to manage Christmas as a separated parent. The other tips in our series can be found here.
Buying Christmas presents as a separated parent can be a minefield. What if the other parent buys the same present? What if you both assume the other will buy a particular present so the child doesn’t get something he or she wants? Well these are our top tips to help you navigate this tricky situation:
Consider what gifts the children have said they want and try to communicate with your ex (in person, or by text/email etc if necessary) to agree who will buy what. This will help you avoid duplication, and also help towards ensuring that the children get as many of the presents they want as possible.
Depending on the age of your children, consider which gifts will be from you and your ex as parents and which gifts will be from Santa. Consider whether Santa will be leaving presents at both parents’ homes or whether he will just agree to leave them at one home. This might depend on your individual family dynamics, but thinking about it now might avoid confusion and heartache on Christmas morning.
Remember that gift-giving at Christmas shouldn’t be a competition. Try to resist the urge to compete with your ex to buy the children more expensive presents, or bigger presents, or the most presents. It helps if you can agree who is buying what in advance, as mentioned above.
Once gifts have been given, try to resist the urge to tell the children that they can’t take the new, expensive toy or gadget or outfit you bought to their mum’s or to their dad’s. Remember, it is their gift and they will probably want to take it with them – so if you can, try not to make things more difficult for the children by refusing to let them.
The children might also want to buy a present for their other parent and might need your help to do so. This will probably go against your instinct – you probably won’t want to buy your ex anything! But don’t think of it as a gift for your ex, it’s a gift for your children really. They’ll get the pleasure of being able to give a gift to their other parent and you’ll be setting the tone for their Christmas – one of cooperation rather than animosity.
And finally …
Christmas can be a tricky time for separated parents and will probably mean you have to get a bit creative in coming up with new family traditions. But new can be good, and the tips from this series of blogs should help you come up with new traditions that could work for you and your family.
If you need help with managing arrangements for your children over Christmas, get in touch with the family team at Tiger Law as soon as possible – remember, Christmas will be here before you know it.
And above all – enjoy your Christmas!