Single Parenting at the Holidays

Me with the Kids

The next couple weeks pose a challenge for any family, but a particular challenge for those of us who are divorced parents, and particularly for our kids.  One immediately thinks of the Hallmark movie moments of passing the kids from one house to another, the two Christmas dinners, etc.

But a more difficult thing to negotiate is which side of the family gets the pre-divorce traditions.  Some are sorted out in the settlement — you get Christmas Eve, I get Christmas Day.  But others aren’t, like who gets to take the kids to the Hollidazzle Parade downtown, or to the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum to see the Christmas train.  Who gets to watch A Christmas Story with the kids?  Those little details are neither negotiated in the divorce, nor are they particularly easy to negotiate on the fly.  In fact, the nostalgia, emotion, and sentiment around the holidays make these even more difficult to negotiate than the usual mundane details of the rest of the year.

So I’ve taken to developing some new traditions.  We’re reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which I’m reading from my parents’ first edition copy and remembering what a truly wonderful story it is.  We baked about a ton of cookies with my mom last weekend.  And we’re gonna do some new things that I hope to make annual occurrences over the holiday break from school.

While I can rationalize the change in our family dynamic, it is a particular challenge for the children at the holidays, which is all the more reason to develop some patterns and rhythms that will provide them some comfort.

Have you got any tips or hints for me?

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