If this is the first Christmas holiday where you will have to consider both time and finances, it could be a tough year. If it is impossible to share the holidays amicably, then we suggest that you allow your children to have two Christmas Day celebrations. Make it double the fun for them.
Spending quality time with children is, of course, important and there is undoubtedly a desire to be generous; even if you are feeling the financial strain of your separation.
We always advise clients that the focus at this time of year should be love and not money. Children will appreciate the time with you over the cost of presents.
The desire to not disappoint children, tends to be paramount for many divorcing couples. This time of year can be extremely difficult to navigate for everyone involved.
Guilt, worry and a desire to re-create past Christmas events could be quite hard to contemplate. When it comes to the finances, there can be urges to spend considerable amounts on children.
Here are a few of our tips to help navigate the festive season.
Look at your financial situation and have realistic goals regarding your plans for the Christmas period.
The financial landscape may not allow you to recreate the festive season in the same way as this has been done in the past.
We always advise clients to figure out their affordable limit so that it will not create financial crises come the new year.
List everything within your budget, from cards and paper, to festive food menus and the presents.
Plan the event with your children.
Give your children some time to discuss your plans together. This way they can be part of the planning process and will be able to get excited thinking about your Christmas schedule together.
Ask children what is important to them at Christmas – ask them about ALL the things they love (other than the presents).
Don’t try to do things better than your ex-partner.
Even the most amicable of divorces can still bring out the urge to try to show that you are the ‘better’ parent. We always advise clients to resist that urge.
This will make children extremely uncomfortable and it could cause you to spend more than your budget will allow. Both parents should be able to ensure their children feel loved by both parties. Perhaps, it is possible to share the cost of presents in a joint effort to place them first.
Whilst we understand it may not always be possible for calm discussion, we always suggest trying to co-ordinate between each other. Discuss aspects such as gifts to ensure the same things are not bought twice. Be open to working out sharing Christmas events, as well as pickup and drop-off times.
Don’t try to match previous years.
The wake of a divorce can leave nostalgic memories that are hard to shake. It can also prove very expensive. Rather than trying to replicate everything that occurred in previous years, consider creating new adventures together that will bring other happy memories.
Create new traditions such as cooking the dinner together, or visiting the cinema if you can’t get to see your children on Christmas Day.
One of the most important things we tell our clients, is that when children are all grown up, the things they will remember is the time you spent together not the cost of the gifts.
If you would like to discuss any issues associated with separation or divorce then call 0121 248 4001.