Christmas is a magical time of year often associated with family, a time where parent’s plans often revolve around making it as special and memorable for the children as possible as they eagerly wait for Santa to deliver their presents. However, for parents who are going through a separation or divorce, it can be a tough time of year where the key is compromise.

The full time parent may feel that they have worked hard all year round to look after their child through the early morning school runs and tantrums, and therefore deserve to have the children over the Christmas period. But it’s important to remember that a child loves each parent unconditionally and arguments are certain to ruin an otherwise exciting time of year.

Coming up with a parenting plan for the seasonal period will make you, your ex and your children’s lives a lot easier by outlining a simple agreement of who is going where and when, and is guaranteed to make it a much more enjoyable time of year for everyone involved.

Here are our 4 simple steps for a sharing those special moments this Christmas –

1. Make early arrangements

Sharing children over Christmas can put an unforeseen amount of pressure on parents as well as the children, with mothers and fathers often left feeling disappointed and hurt. Planning in advance will make the period smooth sailing, allowing for time to reach a compromise that will ensure that everyone is happy, including the children.

Remember to withhold from asking the children to make the decision as this will put an unfair strain on the youngster to choose between parents, if coming to a fair decision seems hard to reach you can always speak to a family lawyer or attend family mediation. They will encourage the discussion and suggest alternative solutions which will be in the child’s best interests.

2. Be prepared to compromise

It is understandable that both parents will want to be involved in the magic and excitement of their child’s Christmas but always be prepared to compromise. This might involve sharing the day or treating Boxing Day like a second Christmas, after all, no child is going to object to Santa coming twice.

If you opt to share the day, be careful to consider your children whose interests may lie with spending time with extended family or playing with new toys rather than travelling between houses. Often alternating Christmas Days each year can be a fair compromise that brings extra value to Christmas for the whole family.

3. Keep things as normal as possible

It’s only fair to keep a sense of normality for the sake of the children, especially if it is their first Christmas with separated parents. Try to incorporate some new traditions that you can enjoy over the coming years to make new memories.

Parents shouldn’t feel guilty and must do their best to remain civil despite any underlying issues, it’s only fair that the child feels loved and appreciated, experiencing as little conflict and upset as possible.

4. Work together to make it a Christmas to remember

Communication is not only key in making arrangements, but also in filling the Christmas stocking. Planning together will prevent the duplication of presents and take away the competition between parents which can often do more harm than good, ruining the joy of present buying.

Share your children’s list between you, and if there is one big present, split the cost rather than trying to outdo one another. A ‘joint’ present between mum and dad will give a sense of normality for the child and make them happier in the long run.

Having a child binds you to your ex-spouse for life, be creative in handling birthdays and Christmases to make new memories and remember to plan in advance.
If you need any advice regarding children issues, our family team at Beecham Peacock are here to help. Call us on 0191 232 3048 or email

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