Sharing Custody of the Kids During the Holidays with Your Ex


Christmas will look different for me this year. Prospectively, I will not have three of my children with me, starting in the afternoon on Christmas Eve until the afternoon on Christmas Day.

It can be hard for separated or divorced couples to share kids during the holidays and Christmas.I’ve had to start thinking about my holidays this way. While I still have my baby to wake up with on Christmas, I want to make this transition for the others as normal as possible. 

1. Shop Early. Shopping early really helps me as a single mom because I can keep track of presents better. I really like to start shopping early and then finish around Black Friday and beginning of December. This is a really good idea in theory, if I can execute it correctly. I already made a list in my hall closet of names and gifts. This ensures I am not over or under purchasing. My children are all at the age where they really love to unwrap, so sometimes I tend to err on the side of multiple little things and one big gift. 

2. Stick to Your Traditions. I also like to plan out the activities we will do during Christmas time, especially once everyone is out of school. My children do not like to slow down, so I try to keep them busy when I can.

Christmas cookies

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Leading up to Christmas Eve, I still plan to make cookies with my kids for Santa. We have done that every year, since my oldest were in highchairs throwing sprinkles around. It is a great activity for everyone because every one can decorate their own and do it how they want. 

Every year we also go look at Christmas lights. Our neighborhood alone starts putting up lights super early and has them up for quite a while, so we plan to drive around there and our surrounding areas in the week leading up to Christmas. 

Typically in DFW there is some kind of big light event where you can walk through and look at all the designs. I was able to take the three older children last year and I know it will be something we will do again, it is a good evening activity and burns up some energy walking and running through the light exhibits. 

Last year because of COVID, we were not able to have our Christmas tree lighting in our neighborhood. I believe they will be able to do it this year, and I know that is something we will attend. Thankfully our sweet neighborhood plans so many events like this for the holidays, that even though I will miss waking up with their sweet faces, I get to do everything leading up to Christmas. 

Mom at Christmas3. Make Space for Grief. I already know I’m going to be emotional when they leave that day, and if I have learned anything in this process that it is okay to grieve during the holidays and even other times that they are not with us. I am grateful I have my youngest because he keeps me distracted and plenty busy not to think about it.

I know this year is especially going to be tough, though. I hope to be able to slow down and enjoy all the time I get with them beforehand and then count down the hours I get to see them on Christmas Day.

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