After a divorce or separation, maintaining traditions can be a challenging time that holds on to painful memories. Instead, you may need a change and an opportunity to create a new tradition for you and your children. Whether you decide to break Christmas up into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with your ex-spouse, celebrate earlier, or alternate each year, these new traditions can still be centred around family bonding and creating joyful memories.  

How can I make sure my child’s Christmas isn’t compromised?

Planning ahead

Planning and setting clear expectations for how the holidays will be spent and divided between you and your ex-spouse will help to ensure whatever you have planned runs smoothly and avoids conflict on the day.

If you have a parenting agreement, it is advised to consult this during the planning process, as it will outline what you have already agreed in terms of time and contact arrangements.

Keep the children informed

Keeping the children informed of the plan and where they will be going or who they are spending it with helps them understand and process what to expect. Letting them know as soon as possible if plans change is also key to avoid confusion.

Coordinate gift giving

Being transparent with your ex-spouse about the gifts you have bought can help level the playing field with gift giving and avoid “one-upping” the other parent. Distributing presents between both parents ensures no Christmas experience outdoes the other and takes any negativity or stress out of the equation.

How can I create a new Christmas experience?

Life changes after a divorce or separation, and it is natural for the big events and holidays to change moving forward.

The key is to avoid putting too much pressure on recreating a new Christmas and overcompensating, and instead focus on the things you enjoy and how that can be worked into your new Christmas. Here are some ideas for creating a new tradition this year:

  • You may wish to have your favourite meal rather than cooking a typical Christmas roast dinner, particularly if there will be less of you this year. A small change can be the breath of fresh air you need.
  • Take a staycation, there are plenty of cosy stays across the UK at this time of year. Exploring and staying somewhere new may be just what you need this year. Look at some of the top Christmas staycations in the UK. Christmas Getaways in the UK: Best Christmas Hotels (countryliving.com)
  • If you wish to create an entirely new tradition this year, why not experience something different and escape somewhere warm? Locations such as the Canary Islands are a popular destination for UK residents, with a host child-friendly resorts for you to relax, have fun and make new memories. Look at what to do in the Canaries this Christmas. Guide to a Dreamy, Warm Christmas in the Canaries | Ferryhopper
  • Take a trip to the beach. Making a new tradition does not necessarily have to be something big or extravagant. Finding joy in the simple things we don’t do often enough can be the perfect addition to your new Christmas. Look at some of the top coastal walks in the UK. Best UK coast and sea walks | National Trust

 
However, you choose to recreate your Christmas, planning, being transparent, and maintaining communication will help you reach a conclusion as to how you will spend it. Remembering to take care of yourself and your children in the process will ensure you can still enjoy quality family time, even if that may look different this year.

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Helen works with clients to ensure that they are sensitively guided through the complex area of family and relationship breakdown.

Helen has over twenty years’ experience in advising clients in relation to family law issues. Helen has particular expertise in representing clients with substantial wealth and has many cases involving family businesses, trusts and farms. Helen also advises parents in complex children cases including international relocation.

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Published: 5th December 2023
Area: Family

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