How we handle Christmas with kids, following divorce

Divorce. The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body. 

When I got married to my ex-husband back in 2005, divorce wasn’t something either of us really planned for. In both our minds this was our forever. But life being what is it, our forever plans just weren’t meant to be and following a separation back in 2010, our divorce was finalised the following year.

Following our separation and him moving out, at the end of it all, we had two children to care for, love and consider through this massive change in our lifestyle. It wasn’t easy on any of us and sadly it was my 5yr old daughter who had the most broken of hearts.
Listening to her sobbing at night, painfully inconsolable, was heartbreaking but through time, she learned to be OK with Daddy not reading her a bedroom story and tucking her in at night {that was his thing}. Thankfully at the time, my little 2yr old Jacob was none the wiser.

So came our first Christmas as a ‘broken family’. It was weird, awkward, but we made it work for the children, as they were {and continue to be} the most important things to come out of our marriage and whatever issues we had got put away when in their company. It was so important for our children to not see that side of our marriage breakdown and to see that just because Mummy & Daddy didn’t live together anymore that didn’t mean Mummy & Daddy couldn’t still be friends.Our children still having that security of a family unit, regardless of us no longer being together, was so important to us both.

This will be our fifth Christmas following divorce and I think we’ve both been really mature and amicable about the entire process.

So how do we handle Christmas?

Well, we share it. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Last year he had them on Christmas Eve night and Christmas morning and they came home to us on Christmas afternoon {this isn’t easy, by no means. In fact, it’s super weird, but it’s the right thing to do}. This year it’s my turn to have them for Christmas eve and Christmas morning and I cannot wait!!

Taking turns to have our children on Christmas morning each year is the fairest way of doing it. He loves his children dearly & I would never keep him from his children. I don’t think that is right for anyone to do. Now, I know other people’s situations are different, but if the ex-partner wants to be involved, don’t shut them out as I can tell you now, the only people getting hurt by it all is your children.

This is a personal question I know! But if you are a divorced/separated parent? I’d love to hear how you make Christmas work with the kids? 

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28 Comments

  1. 10/12/2015 / 2:48 PM

    When my mum and Dad divorced we did a similar thing though for the first couple he used to come around in the morning too. Now I’m all grown up we have Christmas dinner as one big family. My parents are best buddies and get on so well! I’m so glad because it then never caused any upsets with me and my brother xxx

    • 10/12/2015 / 3:14 PM

      This is so lovely to read. Honestly. I was brought up through quite a bad separation with my parents and sadly my Dad tried his best to keep us from it because mainly it was Mummy causing all of the upset. It was quite the rollercoaster ride. I guess that’s why I wanted our divorce to be completely the opposite because I never ever wanted my children to experience what my Brother and I did. But mega kudos to your parents, they are absolute legends! More divorced parents need to take a leaf out of their book for sure!! xx

  2. 10/12/2015 / 6:42 PM

    We have Christmas morning together at my house up to lunchtime and we all have lunch together, then he takes our son to his parents house. It’s worked for three years now and it means his Dad gets to take part in seeing him open presents from me. He misses out on the early morning wake up and I miss out on the rest of the day but we all actually do enjoy it. Christmas is about kids, whatever your personal circumstances.

  3. 11/12/2015 / 1:01 AM

    I always see your photos of special events etc and that time we were at Annabelle’s birthday, I remember he was there too. It’s so lovely how you all get on well together. Chris and I have always said that if we were to ever split (of course we’re adamant that’s not going to happen but who knows right!?) that we’d try to be as amicable as possible because it’s not the childrens faults x

    • 12/12/2015 / 9:18 PM

      Aww thank you. I think you have to, you know? It’s just one of those things. It may not be easy or something you even want to do sometimes, but for the kids…you have too regardless of everything else! x

  4. 11/12/2015 / 9:47 AM

    Thank you for sharing, it sounds like you both have everything sorted with Christmas so they children are settled and happy which is lovely. My parents divorced when i was 7 and it was horrible they didn’t solve it for years and i barely saw my dad at all which is not nice. Were still now catching up 20 years down the line.

    • 12/12/2015 / 9:17 PM

      I am so sorry that you hardly saw your Dad growing up after their marriage broke down. Those situations are never easy! I was like that with my Mummy, only started catching up a few years before she sadly passed away! xx

  5. Rebecca U
    11/12/2015 / 10:07 AM

    I don’t have much experience of this to be honest but I think you have the right attitude. You have to share it as the children are both yours. At least the other party wants to be involved. I know a few friends and their children’s dads aren’t very interested x

  6. 11/12/2015 / 10:23 AM

    I think you’ve dealt with this in the most mature and healthy way. I think your children should get to see both mum and dad on Christmas, irrelevant of how your relationship ended. x

    • 12/12/2015 / 9:14 PM

      Thank you, I really hope we have. The children are fine with the way we do things so that’s really the main thing to worry about really. x

  7. 11/12/2015 / 11:46 AM

    My parents divorced when i was 6 and i always found Christmas a hard time, i think that’s why i grew up to be a bit of a bah humbug about it all. One year we would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning with one and Christmas Day afternoon and Boxing Day with the other…and the following year it would be the opposite. I don’t think there’s ever an easy way to get around it all, you just have to make the best of a difficult situation! xx

    • 12/12/2015 / 9:06 PM

      Aww Vikki, 6 is such a young age to be going through all of that. Mine separated when I was 9. Are you really a Christmas hater because of that do you think? How you spend Christmas with your parents is exactly how we’re doing it now. Its hard but it’s just one of those things that needs to be done really, and if the kids are happy…well…we can’t complain really. xx

  8. 11/12/2015 / 3:44 PM

    My parents divorced when I was in my early twenties so I didn’t go through the Christmas sharing. By this stage I was having Christmas with my boyfriend and his family too, so it didn’t effect me as much. I know the pain of separation as a child though as my parents very nearly separated when I was 10. The pain was unbearable however if the parents aren’t happy, experiencing this as a child is much worse. Happy parents results in happy children whether they are together or not xx

    • 12/12/2015 / 8:58 PM

      Separation of parents as a child is hard to understand isn’t it. Almost or not. The atmosphere of the house shifts and no one wants to answer the questions you have. I remember my Daddy walking out when I was 9. He didn’t walk out like you think, he came back for us and we lived with him, but still seeing him pack up his car and drive off is something that will stay with me. You are right though, there is no reason good enough to stay together if you’re both unhappy. xx

  9. 11/12/2015 / 4:37 PM

    I’m not a divorced parent, but I am stepmum to two kids one of whom lives with me so I kind of understand. We do Christmas the same way as you. In fact it was my idea to split it that way, it’s a pain in the bum logistically but at least that way the kids get to see both parents over Christmas x

    • 12/12/2015 / 8:54 PM

      I cannot even imagine being a step-parent. But having a Step-Mother of my own I can put myself into her shoes when I was a teenager, and we didn’t make it easy for her. Just like my kids will test my partner, their {almost} step-dad. Step parents deserve medals! x

  10. 12/12/2015 / 2:14 AM

    With two exes (it’s complicated!) Christmas is tricky but we manage. I’m a firm believer in the children’s right to see both parents. It’s hard at times though isn’t it?

    • 12/12/2015 / 8:53 PM

      I can relate as my two teenage boys are from a previous relationship that went down the road of domestic violence and him breaking me, manipulating social services to get custody of our boys. A very dark time, but they’re all grown up now and they come down whenever they please. Being teenagers on Christmas they pop down for a bit before going home to veg out and play games online with their mates, haha. Then my Ellie & Jacob are with my ex-husband. All a complicated mass but we handle it well I think. But yes it is VERY hard having to share. x

  11. 12/12/2015 / 1:22 PM

    I remember our Christmases being really tough when my parents first got divorced (I was in my early teens and my brother slightly younger). My dad was with another woman who had a son and that made things complicated as we felt a bit like we’d be ditched. It got easier as it got older. Unfortunately, now that I’m an adult, I don’t see either of my parents anymore so Christmas is very much focused around our own little family or my husband’s family. I’m glad you’ve found the solution that works for your own family. xxx

    • 12/12/2015 / 8:50 PM

      I can imagine your Dad going off with another woman made things more complicated than they needed to be! Whatever way your family panned out it’s good that you’re focus of Christmas around your own family. xx

  12. Kat | Beau Twins
    12/12/2015 / 8:07 PM

    We’ve got to do the same. This is my first Christmas alone with the girls since he left in march this year. Next year they will stay with him. It breaks my heart entirely but that’s life. We had to do the same when my mum and dad divorced. The girls were only 16 months. He was hardly ever around to begin with, so at the moment it’s not a major issue. Although I still have to deal with some repercussions of the separation. To be expected. I’m pleased you have found a way through this. As much as he hurt me, I won’t be nasty towards him or in front of the girls. I only want them seeing amicable parents. Xx

    • 12/12/2015 / 8:41 PM

      Oh Kat, thinking back I can remember that first Christmas as a newly separated parent. It’s a tough one especially when it comes to sharing the children and even more so on special occasions!! I am so pleased to hear that you guys are finding your way in among the heartache because I know from experience that it is far from easy xx

  13. 12/12/2015 / 11:24 PM

    What a great setup, things like this are so important. My parents divorced when I was very young and they just didn’t get on for years. It was a horrible situation as a child and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It sounds like you’ve got the balance just right.x

  14. Jodie
    13/12/2015 / 7:42 AM

    You’re doing it the best way. I don’t think I could handle having to share my children at the most magical time of the year. Im too selfish.

  15. 13/12/2015 / 8:20 PM

    I think if that is what works for you and your family then it is perfect. I am not in this situation so cannot comment on that but you are putting your kids first and admire you for that.

  16. Becky
    13/12/2015 / 10:39 PM

    My parents separated when I was 6, they always made sure me and my brother felt loved around Christmas and we did something very similar. My dad now lives abroad so we still spend it with my mum. I think you are doing a fab job, and your children WILL appreciate how hard it must be when they are older. My mum is my rock, and she had to put aside ALOT to allow us as children to have the Christmas we wanted.

  17. 14/12/2015 / 8:45 PM

    Really great post. I think everyones Christmas is completely different but sounds like your doing it right. The only way to do it is with sharing to make sure the children get the most out of it! Plus it could mean two Christmas days right!?

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