Peaceful Co-Parenting During the Holiday Season

November 15, 2018

November heralds in the holiday season, with visions of sugar plum fairies, trips to Grandma’s house for apple cider and warm apple pie, Christmas Carols around the tree, the lighting of the menorah, playing dreidel and extended holiday cheer. You don’t have to give up your holiday traditions, just because you are divorced and sharing the parenting with your ex.


Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holidays while you peacefully share parenting responsibilities with your ex.


  1. Re-read your parenting plan. Not sure whose year it is for Thanksgiving? Can’t remember which parent has the overnight for Christmas Eve, or who has the children for the vacation?  Your separation agreement will have a specific plan that must be followed.


  1. Be Flexible. When your separation agreement was signed, and it was agreed the children would spend Thanksgiving with you and your parents this year and your ex’s parents the next, it did not anticipate that your parents would be unable to travel this year due to unplanned circumstances. Things happen and be prepared to be flexible with your ex and allow some modifications to keep the peace and avoid conflict.


  1. Declare a Truce.  No matter how angry you are with your ex, you owe it to your children to not bring them into your disagreement. Your children love you both and want to make each of you happy. Consider meeting with a family or divorce coach, mediator, or family therapist, to assist with coping and decision making, during these challenging times.


  1. Don’t compete with gifts.  Parents sometimes try to curry favor with their children by one-upping the other parent with gifts. Don’t do it. Talk with your ex, and set boundaries and limits. Review your kids “wish list” together, and decide which parent is going to be responsible for each item.


  1. Create new traditions.  Divorce can be a way for you to create new holiday traditions, cherished between just you and your children. The ideas are limitless and do not have to involve money or undue planning. If during your marriage Thanksgiving involved a large combined family dinner, this year, have a small dinner with just you and your children and take in a movie.  Create new ornaments for your tree, attend a Christmas play or just have a quiet day and invite friends.  Your only limitation is your imagination.



No one said it was going to be easy, but with planning, persevering and keeping a positive attitude, you will be able to enjoy the holidays and look forward to them next year.