Christmas is traditionally a time for families to come together.  However, for parents who are separated, Christmas can be a difficult time and whilst we wait to find out if we can spend Christmas this year with our loved ones or not it is even more difficult for families.

For most parents Christmas is all about pleasing their children by making sure their children have a lovely time.  Christmas is a magical time of the year and parents love experiencing their children’s excitement on Christmas Eve waiting in anticipation for Santa to deliver their presents.  Then their children waking up extremely early on Christmas day all excited about opening their presents.  It is only fair that both parents get to enjoy spending time with their children over the Christmas period. Parents often forget that children have feelings too.  Christmas is laden with magical movies, most of which are based on the traditional Christmas with families spending time together.  Most children will fantasize about their parents getting back together and living happily ever after.

If a child is denied the right to see a parent over Christmas, this could be damaging and such a memory could stay with them for many years to come, including into adulthood.

A resident parent may feel that they have worked hard all year round to look after their children whilst the non-resident parent gets to spend quality and fun time with the children over weekends and school holidays.  For some parents, they feel that they should be rewarded by having their children stay with them over the Christmas period or on Christmas Day,  a child loves each parent unconditionally and for parents to be arguing and fighting over Christmas is certainly not what Christmas is all about.

It is my view that there are various things parents need to consider prior to the festive period, remember this is about the children and not the adults.

  • Plan in advance and communicate with the other parent.  Do not ask your child to make the decision as this places far too much pressure on them to choose between parents as they are often worried about upsetting their parents.
  • Do not leave making the arrangements and discussions with the other parent to the last minute, start considering Christmas arrangements now.  Co-parenting is the key to a successful and stress free Christmas.
  • Most children write a list of their desired presents show the other parent the list, it is not a competition on who can spend the most or buy the biggest gift!
  •  Christmas Day comes around each year and there will be other Christmas’s, therefore, make  sure that the arrangements are fair.  Depending on each parent’s circumstances, you may decide to alternate Christmas Day each year so the children stay with you on Christmas Day one year and Boxing Day the other year.  After all, Santa can always come again and Boxing Day can be treated like a 2nd Christmas Day.  Or you may decide to both spend time with your children on Christmas Day by one parent collecting the children later on in the day but   carefully consider what is best for your children.  Your children may want to spend their day playing with their presents and/or spending time with extended family members with whom they may not get to see so often.
  • Your children are the priority not you! Children do not want to hear arguments or fighting so make sure handovers run smoothly.
  • When you have agreed the arrangements, tell your children what they are so that they can be reassured that they will be spending time with Mum and Dad and be positive about the other parent.  Children does not want to hear negative comments about their Dad or Mum.

Having children binds you to your ex for life!  So remember any arrangements that are made are in the bests interests of your children not adults!

Contact our children and family law teams now on 03333 580393 or email

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