Do you have an extended family? How does Christmas work for you?
When I was growing up, I was ‘lucky’ and got myself two Christmas’ because my parents separated when I was young. It never really bothered me because I didn’t know any different. I would stay with my mum Christmas Eve and visit my dad on boxing day. This was tradition until I hit about 12 years old, after that I was just interested in going out with my friends, so I would usually leave it until a few days after the big day to visit him!!
How times change! Having three children of my own who also get two Christmas’ I wanted to ask them what their preference would be. Did they want to be at home every Christmas Eve with me or did they want to have the option of spending Christmas Eve with their dad? Some parents think I’m mad and have even passed quite negative judgement, but I don’t listen, Christmas for me is about my children and extended family and there’s no way I would ever want them to feel like I stopped them enjoying Christmas to the best it could be and thinking about it why should I punish their dad? How would I feel if I didn’t get the opportunity to wake up Christmas morning with my all three of my babies… gutted that’s how I’d feel so what gives me the right to make him feel like that? One day my children I sat down and came up with a plan. We would alternate, one year they wake up with me and the following year they would wake up with their dad. Don’t get me wrong the first year was hard, I felt a little lost and almost like there was no excitement there for me but as soon as they come home the excitement came back! I told their dad the plan we had come up with and he thanked me. I shouldn’t need thanking, he is their dad. He has the same rights as I do.
The way we’ve made it work is the Christmas mornings they wake up with their dad they come home in time for lunch and vice versa, and I have to say it works for us. Not everyone would be happy to do this, but for us as a family it works. My children understand that sometimes things don’t quite go to plan and parents separate but they’re cool with that. They get two Christmas’ after all.
It worked so well for us as they got a little older, I asked if they’d like to do the same for birthdays as well, they said yes and then decided they’d do it for Easter too. They are old enough to make certain decisions themselves and to a degree I’m happy to let them.
I used to worry my children would suffer because their parents had separated but it really doesn’t matter, they have two new families. They have step sisters they get to spend Christmas with and step brothers and they love it! They don’t miss out and they certainly don’t suffer. I feel like my decisions to let my children make these small decisions themselves has made their lives lot richer. I know they will have an amazing Christmas and I know I will too because of it!
Whatever your family arrangements have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!