Christmas is rapidly approaching once again, and as the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be like. For separated parents I often wonder which of Santa’s lists their behavior would land them on. Would you be naughty or nice?
Let’s be honest, Christmas is lovely but challenging for all of us. Whether you are trying to work out how to get to all of the different family events on Christmas day, or preparing to feed dozens of visitors who are coming to Christmas lunch, it all requires a lot of patience, empathy and communication.
When you also throw in having to work out with your former spouse what will happen with your children over Christmas, all of the stress can easily cause a big argument.
But it doesn’t have to end up that way. Here are my top five tips for avoiding a battle and having a happier Christmas.
Sort it Out Now
Christmas is less than a month away, and you definiltey shouldn’t wait until the last minute to have the conversation and make the arrangements. Remember, it’s not just you and your former spouse who want to see your children at Christmas, it’s the rest of your family as well. So the sooner you have a plan in place, the sooner other people in your family can make sure that their own plans line up with yours.
Don’t allow any room for misunderstanding. Exactly what time are you meeting? Exactly where are you meeting? Where will you be coming from, and going to, on the day? What do you need to make sure gets packed in the kids’ luggage? As long as everyone involved has a clear understanding of the plan, it makes the day go a lot smoother.
Be on Time
There is nothing more annoying than being late except being late on Christmas Day. Everyone knows that the day is crazy busy for everyone so be sensible and leave 10 minutes earlier than you normally would to allow for traffic. And have some empathy for your former spouse and their family. They need to be somewhere too, and if you make them late it effects everyone else that is waiting to see your children as well.
Bring Your Christmas Cheer
For one day of the year, even if you are not as friendly as you could be on the other 364 days, remember it’s Christmas. Be polite and friendly to each other, if not for yourself, then at least do it for your kids so they don’t look at Christmas as a time when mum and dad were fighting.
Keep Calm and Enjoy the Day
No matter what is thrown your way it’s Christmas, and if you are able to spend time with family and friends then there is a good reason to stop and smile.