Celebrating Christmas With the Kids, Divorce-Style

Being a Mom 9

When my husband and I decided to throw in the ole white towel and separate, I moved out to an apartment a stone's throw away from my former home.

We'd made all the right choices for our kids, making sure that we'd each be seeing them as much as possible and that we'd do our best by our kids.

That included celebrating the holidays.

I know a lot of people who separate and decide to do everything separately. Two Christmases. Two Thanksgivings. Two Bastille Days. Okay, maybe not EVERYONE celebrates Bastille Day, but it's the day before my birthday, so I like to pretend to be French once a year. Either way, you get my point. Most people keep the separation thing pretty, well, separate.

While I dig it and understand why, it's not really my style and we're going to move ahead like we always have. It's new traditions all around.

Since we're fairly new at this separation thing, I wasn't sure how Christmas would play out. My family is pretty big on traditions -- in fact, if we tried to serve anything but ham (which I loathe) for Christmas dinner, there would be a revolution. It's what we DO, you see. That's what we eat! Like it or not!


I'm a... bit more flexible than the rest of my family when it comes to this sort of stuff, but even I wear a YOU'RE NUMBER ONE finger for traditions. So I was a bit worried about this whole "holiday" thing.

Until we decided to do what we'd done for Thanksgiving: celebrate it alllllll together. And while this would normally elicit a random Partridge Family song from me, I'm pretty excitable about it.

We'll start on Christmas Eve -- the holiday we NEVER knew what to do with -- at my husband's house to celebrate with his family so that I can be there to watch the kids squee and yell and not have to worry about the mess they're making because it's not my house!

The kids will all sleep there and come over here on Christmas morning to eat delicious... something (cooking is something I don't do, but I can make a mean batch of pancakes) and open the gifts I'd managed to buy AHEAD of time, rather than running out to Walgreen's on Christmas Eve and buying the kids all soap and ibuprofen.

Then it's off to my parents to open MORE presents (for the kids) and eat the festive Christmas ham that like one member of my family actually enjoys. But... TRADITIONS! WE MUST HAVE OUR TRADITIONS!

I don't know how it will all unfold. I don't know if there will be weirdness or not. I can't predict how, on a scale of one to a pap smear, comfortable I'll be, but I'm more than happy that this Christmas won't be a divided one. That we've managed to work through our differences and form a new normal.

And while some days, it feels as though I'm barely surviving this new normal, most days, I know that we're all going to be just fine.

child custody, activities, christmas


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Karma Grant

Enjoy it while it lasts. Once he moves on and you move on with other people this awesome experience will change. Not that it's a bad thing, it's just part of life. Right now you guys are still just you guys. New people change stuff. I hope you guys have a fabulous holiday this year and every year. 

PonyC... PonyChaser

I think it's good that you are able to set your differences aside and keep the holidays for the kids. Good for you for being the adults that you are and forming new traditions to weave in with the old.

Divorce doesn't have to be the evil ordeal of old, where the couple that once loved now hates, and lets everyone know it. You can form a new relationship, with your kids at the center. You don't have to love, but maybe you'll end up better friends than you ever were spouses... and what's wrong with spending Christmas with one of your best friends?

Good luck with your new traditions. I hope you all find joy, happiness, and new beginnings. And that your kids leave with happy memories and warm fuzzies.

Nellie Athome

The best gift divorced parents can give their kids is to get along when they are in the same place. Celebrating meaningful occasions together with both parents will go a long way towards helping the kids cope.

nonmember avatar K

Proud of you, Aunt Becky. Your children are very blessed to have you as their mom. Best wishes for all.... And haha, my mom is a stickler for the ham too! Even though she went vegetarian for a year, she still made us get one.

Hilary MacNeal

Even though both of my parents remarried, they still spent Christmas together with me well into my teens (I was 2 when they split). Moving on with someone else doesn't have to mean you can't have celebrations with your kids & your ex. I think showing them that their parents can come together with them at important times is fantastic. There'll be a lot of new ground to break, & it'll all take some figuring out, but you're definitely getting off on the right foot!

Zamaria Zamaria

I think it's awesome that you can set aside your differences and have Christmas together. And I think that if you can get through this first Christmas like that, the next ones will be easy. When you both move on, you can continue to celebrate together with the kids if you want to! Lots of people include friends in their Christmas celebrations. I think you'll be just fine. And I like your attitude about this!

Todd Vrancic

Just keep in mind what is best for the kids and be guided by that (even if it means changing some traditions) and things will work out.  I don't promise easy, but everything will work out.

Heath... Heathp721

My ex husband and I split when our daughter was 1. We did every holiday together up until last year (shes 6 now). We even had him sleep over on christmas eve and Easter so he could see the look of suprise and neither of us missed a second. We no longer do any holidays except birthdays anymore. As long as you both are definitely over and are both at peace with the split it should be fine. Good luck

Heath... Heathp721

The reason we did this is because we decided that we might have sucked at marriage but we would try our best to put our daughter first and never suck at divorce. We even settled the whole divorce with only one attorney (representing me on paper) and only paid $800 total out pocket. As long as you can both be logical and civil it works. A good attorney can sit you both down and tell u unbiased how a judge would decide in a given divorce. No fight needed... Most times...

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