The winter holidays are on their way, and a lot of parents have already started looking at their budgets and making lists on behalf of their kids.
When you’re newly separated or divorced, however, figuring out how to keep the holiday spirit alive for your kids can get pretty complicated. It’s not too early to work through the logistics of the gift-giving process with your ex-spouse so that both of you are on the same page. These are some tips that can help.
Agree not to compete
When parents compete for their children’s affection, the kids are the ones who ultimately lose out. Have an honest, upfront conversation with your ex-spouse about the fact that you don’t want to make it a contest about who can get the best gift.
Work on a joint budget
Holiday gifts can be a strain on your finances. Work with your ex-spouse to establish a budget and decide how expenses will be divided. If you have relatively equal amounts of disposable income, a 50/50 split is fine. If one of you has a tighter budget, you can split things 60/40 or any other way that you deem fair.
Talk about Santa
How will Santa know how to find the kids if they’re moving between houses? Where will he leave the presents? If Santa is part of your family’s holiday traditions, make sure that you and your ex-spouse agree on how Santa’s visit will work this year so that you are both telling the kids the same thing.
Give your ex veto power
When you were married, you’d probably never dream of buying your kids anything your spouse said they couldn’t have. That shouldn’t change. You should each be willing to give the other “veto” power when it comes to present ideas. The goal of this approach is to minimize or eliminate conflicts over gifts since high-conflict situations between parents are never good for the kids.
Remember: Divorce is a family affair. It’s important to remember that the holidays should be focused on creating good memories and spending time with your loved ones. Gifts are fun, but the love and support you offer your children are more important.