Tips for Handling the Festive Season

My ex wants to see the kids at Christmas. You might be recently separated, not have agreed what happens previously or not have agreed it in the divorce settlement. What are my tips for handling the festive season?

If your children live with you most of the time, it is understandable that you feel that they should be with you on Christmas Day. However, it is important that the children are able to spend time with both parents over the festive period, where possible.

Tips for handling the festive season

  • Talk to your ex to try to agree a plan which give you both time with the children. Do this away from the children, preferably on neutral ground if you feel there may be any animosity.
  • Suggest that you alternate the plan each year; for example, if your children are with you on Christmas Day this year and with your ex on Boxing Day, this could be swapped next year.
  • If you live nearby, perhaps your ex could have an hour with the children on Christmas Day, if they are not seeing them for the whole day.
  • Christmas can be a stressful time for many of us, try not to let the negotiations make this worse. I know that you want the best for all of you.
  • Try not to let your children feel guilty about wanting to spend time with you both.
  • Help your children to have a happy Christmas.
  • If your children are old enough, ask them what they would like to do, although they may tell you what they think you want to hear so consider this before rushing to tell your ex that they only want to be with you at Christmas.
  • Above all else, if in doubt, be the bigger person.

If you have found this useful, you might also like to read Maura's blog on family separation.

Tamsin Caine heads up Smart Divorce and is a Chartered Financial Planner. She has been through divorce herself and has come out the other side. If you need any help with arranging your finances in divorce or separation, please email

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