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When Parents Live In Different Homes, Holiday Harmony Should Be the Goal

By Alisse C. Camazine

Each year around this time I get calls from clients fighting with their ex (or soon-to-be ex) about the holidays, and each year I am shocked at the parents who say, “This is my holiday, so s/he can’t have the kids.”  While I reassure them that this IS their holiday, I always remind them it is also their children’s holiday.  I suggest to them that, although the official schedule shows that the children are in their care for the holiday, the children may want their dad to come and see them in their Halloween costume and take a picture, or they may want to buy their mom a birthday present. 

So, consider approaching the holidays in a new way:  Can you spare just a few minutes of YOUR holiday so that your children can share it with both parents? If you really can’t stand the thought of being around the other parent, how about sending a picture to the other parent of your child in their costume or visiting Santa? Or consider coordinating gift-giving. Perhaps you could open gifts together at Christmas. If not, then think about coming up with a gift together, and then each parent can open gifts with the children. Mark them “from Mom and Dad.”

These small gestures can allow your children to connect with the other parent at important and fun times. And if these ideas don’t work (or even if they do), consider having the kids enjoy a video call with their other parent over the holidays. 

I am not naïve. I know that achieving “holiday harmony” may be impossible. Your former partner may be such a jerk that they would never think about doing this for you. But their unreasonable attitude shouldn’t prevent you from doing the right thing. 

Holidays create lasting memories. Your choices can spell the difference between leaving your children with a bitter taste associated with the holidays or giving them the kinds of memories they will cherish for a lifetime.

The family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal can give you other tips on how you can best help your children after a difficult breakup.


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