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SnowmanPerhaps one of the most important aspects of a parenting agreement is how to split holidays with the kids.  Winter holidays are a particularly significant part of this.  They often involve the largest family gatherings, the biggest gifts, and the best memories.  Most times, a divorce results in parents getting their children for major holidays on alternating years.  For example, the mother will have the children for Christmas during all even-numbered years, and Christmas Eve during all odd-numbered years.  While this is about as fair to both parties as it can possibly be, it can still leave one parent feeling lonely or left out during the holiday season.  Here are a few tips to help you make the most of winter holidays and get it as close to perfect as possible:

Don’t be selfish.
Let’s say your ex’s family is having their gathering on a day that you were scheduled to have the children, and he asks you if he can have that day.  If you don’t have any specific plans, go ahead and give it to him.  Being generous and flexible will encourage him to do the same when you need the rules to be bent in your favour.

The date doesn’t matter.
It’s easy to feel like you don’t have a real Christmas with your kids if it isn’t celebrated on December 25th.  But something that many divorced parents are learning is that the date doesn’t matter nearly as much as the time you spend together.  Ignore the calendar and celebrate the season like you always have, with all of your favourite traditions, food, and decorations.

Celebrate all month long.
While the emphasis is always put on the specific day, you can have lots of fun building up to it.  Find fun crafts you can do as a family.  Pull blankets and pillows into the living room, pop some popcorn, and watch classic holiday movies together.  Check the newspaper or various websites for fun events or displays.

Take care of yourself.
While it can be extremely difficult and lonely to spend a holiday without your children, don’t let it get to you.  Make plans with friends or other family members on the days that your kids aren’t home, and learn to celebrate in new ways.  Kid-less days are also great opportunities for buying or wrapping their gifts!

Know that the holidays will always be a little bit different post-divorce.  Remember that this is something that both you and your ex are going through, so cooperate with each other to make it a little bit easier.  It may take a while to get used to sharing time with your children in a different way than you did when you were married, but it can lead to new traditions and still manage to create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

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