Christmas and separated families – cooperation not competition!
Director Rita Gupta shares her ideas for stress-free Christmas present buying for separated families.
Christmas is always an emotive time for separated families, especially when it comes to buying Christmas presents for the children. As a separated parent, it’s all too easy to try and outdo the other parent, or over-compensate for the family no longer living together. However, this can lead to unnecessary tensions and feelings of resentment, not to mention the temptation to overspend when you or your ex-partner may not have the financial resources.
Joint Christmas presents
A simple but effective way to avoid this kind of conflict is to collaborate on a joint Christmas present list between you. Children can write their wish lists as usual, and it’s made clear that both parents will buy the main presents jointly. You can them divide the cost of the presents between the two of you, saving money for both in the process.
This joint effort sends a clear message to the children that regardless of how you as parents may feel towards each other, they (the children) are always your top priority. It also shows the kids that their parents can and will work together on the fun stuff as well as the day to day routine, which can be very reassuring.
In the long term, Christmas gift sharing between parents can also help promotes equality in an increasingly materialistic world. If presents, gifts and ‘treats’ become ways to try to gain favour with your children, that is a slippery slope. Far better to show that, as parents, you can work together to buy something really special just for them.
As a parent myself, I firmly believe this promotes genuine gratitude and good values in your children, rather than an expectation of a mass of presents with precious little meaning. It also takes into account that generally, after a separation, some financial cutbacks will have to be made, and this can save parents money.
“This one is from me”
There is still plenty of scope for individual presents in a Christmas Eve box or stocking from each parent. This can contain the small presents that reflect what each parent enjoys doing with that child, or something they’ve seen when out and about together. Again, perhaps parents should cooperate on a spending limit for stockings, to avoid the temptation to slip just a few more things into the box…
Written agreement letters from LGFL
If you’re struggling to agree with your ex on this or any other agreements, we can help. We can write a letter laying out a simple agreement that the other parent can agree to and sign up to. Having an impartial third party suggesting an arrangement is often sufficient to cement an agreement rather than a string of email negotiations, phone calls or texts. Call us now if we can help – 01189 735521.
We can also do the same for child arrangements over the Christmas and New Year period, so that you both can plan which days you have the kids, which days they might go to grandparents or relatives for a big family get-together, and which days you can spend at your leisure. After all, we all need a little break during Christmas!
Again, just give us a call to discuss your situation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get Christmas sorted, and start to enjoy the holiday season.