Dividing Christmas Day with ExH - how do you it?

(27 Posts)
sparklejawsy Mon 26-Nov-12 12:44:49

ExH and I have been apart/divorced for 3 1/2 years and he has now declared he wants to have DS on Xmas Eve through to Christmas Day afternoon (around 4pm) on alternating years from now on. I was shocked at first (and said no and dug me heels in) but have come around to the idea as I just can't be selfish enough to expect DS stays spends every Christmas Day with me and DP. Although it is breaking my heart that ExH broke up the marriage and now as a consequence I can't spend my favourite day of the year with my DS :-(

Anyway, DS did spend Xmas eve/Day with ExP two years ago but as DS was only 4 we managed to do our christmas the day earlier and everyone was happy but I'm aware that next year when he goes to his Dad's he'll be 7 and I don't want to confuse him.

So what I wanted to ask was to any Mum's in the same situation what do you do when your DC return home on Christmas Day to make it feel really special?

I will still put a carrot/mince pie out with DS on xmas eve afternoon before he goes to ExH and will tell him Santa will bring his pressies as normal and he can open them when he comes home but I was thinking of doing a little treasure hunt with clues etc just in our cul-de-sac that Santa has left for him to do, just something extra for DS to get excited about.

Luckily ExH is happy for DS to be with us this year as they want to synchronise their christmas days so DS and his 'step' brother are there together, but I'm already dreading next Christmas!
At least if I've got a few ideas on what to do it will keep me sane!

ChristmasFairyLights Mon 26-Nov-12 13:32:32

DS wakes up one Christmas morning here, and the following at ExH. He is then collected at 2.30pm be the other parent. This is court ordered. It's been this way since he was 3 (now 10)and it's ok. We just told him that Santa knows Mummy and Daddy live in different houses and he'll deliver to both.

On the Christmases he is away we have Christmas Day on Boxing Day, again following the Santa knows and makes an extra trip (for all children in the same boat). I found that when he comes home he's had a pile of presents and a couple of selection boxes and any more the same day would just be too much and unappreciated. DD (6) has never realised we sometimes have Christmas on the "wrong" day, it's just as normal.

DS is at home this year and as he's now old enough to say when he wants to go I'm hoping (yes, selfishly) he'll choose to stay home in future. It isn't ideal but I don't think DS or DD (from 2nd marriage) have ever felt Christmas wasn't special and exciting.

twinkle1010 Mon 26-Nov-12 19:50:51

DD wakes up with me on Xmas eve. ExH collects her about 11 and I pick her back up at 3pm, that way she spends time with both of us on Xmas day. She is then will ExH on boxing day/night.

My DS spends xmas morning and day with me, his dad picks him up at about 4pm and brings him back whenever (flexible) on Boxing day, usually after lunchtime. We came to this arrangement purely because Ex's older 2 boys have this arrangement so it made sense for all 3 boys to be there at the same time.

If we did alternating Christmases I would just do 2 Xmas days I think. I wouldn't do it on the same day, as they will have already opened a pile of presents, and will be past it, I'd save them for the next morning. That's if you were doing it the day after. I'd probably do it the day before (selfish).

timeforachangebaby Mon 26-Nov-12 21:00:49

We have Christmas dinner together with exh - last year he stayed at exh - was brought home for 8 am and then we opened pressies.

Usually exh comes up we open all presents, then exh takes him off to see his family and then we meet up wherever we are having dinner (I have young DCs)

Sticking point is DC is getting older and soon won't want to get up at 8 to open presents.

sparklejawsy Tue 27-Nov-12 09:24:07

Thanks everyone, it looks like doing Christmas the day after or before is the way to go.
YourHandInMyHand I'm also tempted to do it the day before so the novelty hasn't worn off!
However it's one of our family traditions that we take DS with his cousins and some of DP's family to an afternoon church service on xmas eve and the vicar keeps going on about santa on his way, excited about opening presents tomorrow etc so DS would be well confused as he'd have already opened his!
I suppose our children should think themselves lucky that they get two Christmas Day's!

exactly the way your ex wants to do it. one year i have them until 4pm christmas day, next year ex has them until 4pm (this year) and then i fetch them. gives me chance to chill for 10 mins on the walk over there.

4lovelychildren Tue 27-Nov-12 09:43:26

Here my DC either go on Christmas eve and stay with my exh until Boxing day morning then we travel to my parents and do presents and have a family dinner or they are here for Christmas eve and day and we stay home they go to my exh on Boxing day morning. This works best for the children as they don't need to 'leave' Christmas halfway through. I'm used to it now and we have a quieter Christmas with my smallest 2. Has worked this way for 9 years now......

queenrollo Tue 27-Nov-12 09:47:46

our routine is basically the same as ChristmasFairyLights. It works well for us.

sparklejawsy Wed 28-Nov-12 12:45:49

Thanks for sharing, helps to know there are other families in the same situation, no matter what I will make Christmas special for my DS and I never want him to think he missed out on sharing Christmas with his Dad and his 'other family'. As much as this is hard for me and DP x

skyebluesapphire Wed 28-Nov-12 12:52:50

I told XH that seeing as he walked out on us, I would not be without my DD on Christmas Day. I offered him to have her Christmas Night and Boxing Day, he refused, saying that as I have family down that day she should stay with me. I said no, we have always spent BD with your family, he refused again. (Im thinking that he wants to go to football match or away with his friends.....) but it looked good in mediation didnt it hmm

anyway, thats the plan, she is with me CE, CD, BD and then with him for 2 nights afterwards.

His family don't really do Christmas. His mum doesnt cook. Him and XBIL are both single. XSIL has a mental family, so many of them. So XH agreed that I can give her a family Christmas that he can't...

But if circumstances change in the future, if he meets somebody, then possibly she may alternate, but not for several years......

my ex has alternate xmas day, but i normally have them back about 1pm xmas day so in time for dinner grin

WakeyCakey Wed 28-Nov-12 16:08:58

I'm on the other side.
I have dsd xmas eve day for a girly day just the two of us (her mums idea).
she wakes up at her mums but comes to us about 11am for presents then back to her mums for lunch and time with all the family.
She pops back in about 6/7 to see dp 's parents for their presents and then sleeps at her mums.
we then have her boxing day-new years.

It sounds complicated but we live a 2min walk from her mums and we all feel she should be with her mum and huge family (gran, grandad, step gran, step grandad, aunties, uncles and cousins) for xmas day as tbh its much more fun than being the only child here :-)

I think if we asked her mum would say yes to us having her alternate years but for us I don't think that's what dsd wants.

You sound lovely about it all by the way.

pecans Wed 28-Nov-12 16:55:45

The first year we had dss, he woke up here and then dh drove him to his mum's (which is an hour away). It was horrid as our Xmas basically revolved around the drive, and dss doesn't like the transition from one house to another so it felt wrong for him I think. Thereafter we did alternate xmases - the days vary but we tend to get him on 23rd dec for a week, or on 27th for New Year. He has a very different xmas when he's with his mum or with us but think we're all used to it.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:40

Sounds quite raw skyblue and understandable if dh recently walked out, but I do think proceed with caution as that attitude long term will become selfish and only damage your dd.

I think alternative is fine OP , my exp has never wanted that, dad will not sleep at his house but I would go with that, it only seems fair if everyone is happy.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:54

Dd not dad

imtheonlyone Wed 28-Nov-12 17:25:37

We have two Christmas days - have two DSs of my own (7 and 4) and DP has two DSs too (7 and 3). We too explain that Fc makes another trip specially for all children whose parents don't live together. They are absolutely fine with it - and really feel very excited as they are so lucky to have two Christmas days!!!
We alternate each year and the kids are with the exs for the whole of Christmas Day - we don't feel it's very fair for them to have received gifts to then have to leave them straight away! But I know everyone does it different.
Although it breaks my heart not to see my boys on Christmas Day I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year because on the day itself it will be just me and DP - no one else at all!!! We are having smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast and beef Wellington for dinner with Chablis and pouilly fume! And I don't have to make any beds or host any grumpy parents in law!!!! gringringrin ten my boy come back Boxing Day and will have a magical time with them then.

balia Wed 28-Nov-12 18:10:51

Whatever the practical arrangements, I think the main thing is to do everything in your power to take all the heat out of it so the kids have emotional permission to enjoy whatever. DD used to go to her Dad's on 23rd to 24th; his choice as his new wife had all her family round then. It meant picking her up on Christmas Eve but I considered myself lucky to have her every Xmas morning and sometimes we would pop in for a quick drink so she would see us all together.
DSS always has Christmas with his mother, she is very anti-contact so it is court-ordered, and DH felt that insisting on alternate Christmases would just put DSS in the middle of a big emotional-blackmail type situation, so agreed to having 27th-28th. So we have a very relaxed all-day buffet pyjama day with DD and DS on the 25th, and a 'play-day' with wider family on the 27th, with lots of christmas games and an evening meal.

muchostinky Wed 28-Nov-12 18:22:01

My ExP lives abroad, so we do alternative Christmases. DS goes to his Dad's around the 23rd until the 28th or so and we have another Christmas Day when he gets back. This year he is going over for New Year, so off on the 30th until just before he goes back to school.

This works okay just now, but I think once XP meets someone else his priorities may change a bit - we shall see. smile

BertieBotts Wed 28-Nov-12 18:26:39

As a child I alternated Christmases with mum and dad - it was fine, brilliant in fact smile Try not to let your disappointment get in the way - I know it must be really hard but it's about the DCs really and I have such lovely memories of Christmas at my mum's AND Christmas at my dad's. I also agree that a whole day is better if you can do this - better for the DCs.

He won't see it as confusing to have two Christmas days at 7, he'll just be excited to get two lots of presents (and two dinners!)

It's just a date really when you think about it - you can still make all the magic etc happen on another day.

skyebluesapphire Wed 28-Nov-12 23:49:24

My XH will either spend Christmas with his mum having lunch in a hotel or in Wales with OW, her H and her family... (Can't be sure of that though). But either way she would be surrounded by strangers mainly apart from her dad. That's not what I want for a four year old sad

His only contribution to Christmas was to get the stuff out of the loft...

RockingAroundTheBloodyXmasTree Thu 29-Nov-12 09:40:14

We alternate every year. This year my DD1 who is 4.8 (with exp) is going to his xmas day around 1030am, and he will bring her back around 730pm.
We have asked her if she wanted to go for the night xmas eve, but as she wont see her little sister in the morning (DD2 18months) she has said she only wants to go for the day and come back home to sleep

RockingAroundTheBloodyXmasTree Thu 29-Nov-12 09:42:53

I should add that we are having a xmas day on boxing day, mine and dp's family are all going out for lunch then we do presents from grandparents/step grandparents,aunties etc then

WaitingForMe Thu 29-Nov-12 09:57:12

We split it. This year DSSs mum has them Christmas Eve until 11am then we have them for the rest of the day and Boxing Day. Last year we had them Christmas Eve until 11am. We proposed this as I feel the Santa routine and the lunch were the two key elements and this way we get one each.

It helps that we bought a house 10-15 minutes from the ex.

bbbum Sun 02-Dec-12 09:22:19

As a child with divorced parents the Christmas arrangements were a complete faff to be honest...

When we were little we used to spend Christmas eve and morning with one parent then leave about 1ish to go and have lunch with the other. I hated it, always felt guilty and anxious about leaving one set of parents to have lunch on their own after they'd just spoilt us with presents. As we got older and used to lie-in or be hungover after going out on Christmas eve it became more about Christmas day, making it harder as there was less 'quality' time to split. I don't think either would've alternated Christmas entirely but I think that would've been the cleanest way.

It's even harder now we have DH's family to fit in and all the patents say "we'll fit in around you.. Just as long as we have one day ALL together". Which is a bloody nightmare as we've all got partners to factor in now (ie step-sisters have to consider their mum and their partner's families plans too, DH has nieces and nephews do his patents want us and them all together but that sometimes clashes with what my family are doing)....... Ugh. Most years we begrudgingly end up having 3 turkey dinners and whilst that might sound fun to some, it's really not sad

Anyways, I digress...... I think alternating is the best way and the advice about emotional permission is spot on too. My mum still gets in a flap about Christmas arrangements now and lays the guilt on.

sparklejawsy Fri 07-Dec-12 09:39:51

Thanks everyone, I'll definitely take on board the advice about not making DS feel guilty or pressured about enjoying his christmas at his Dad's. I've always said 'have fun at daddy's', 'enjoy your holiday with daddy' etc and I hope his Dad does the same.

It's just hard when DS spends hours going on about Daddy bought me this, we went here with Daddy and Step Mum/Brother etc. I let him go on for a little bit with my responses such as 'that's nice', 'lovely' and then I have to change the subject before I go insane!
If DP and I go on to have any children together (undecided atm) then things may change but we'll deal with that when it happens.

It's really interesting to hear experiences from those of you who have divorced parents, puts a different spin on it and I will try my hardest to be as selfless as possible, which isn't easy!

MarshmallowCupcake Sat 08-Dec-12 00:54:46

You all sound so civilised unlike my hubbies ex - she's a total bi*ch who will do anything to make hassle. They used to share time with the kids when they first split, one would have for Xmas eve and Xmas morn, the other one got for Xmas afternoon/evening and Boxing Day. New Years were also alternated. This stopped 7 years ago. DH got the kids for Xmas afternoon/boxing day with each year being a later pick up and no New Year at all! 3 years ago we were told by the kids they weren't coming over Xmas day cos she was their mother and she deserved them - DH didn't even get to chat to kids on Xmas day that year - they didn't hear the phone (likely story!) anyway, over time and with each game the ex plays, I lose interest so we had an early Xmas with kids and my inlaws last year and me and hubby went to Mexico for Xmas. This year, the kids will be in Egypt so yet another year DH won't see his kids :-( they're older now but the games are unnecessary so it's refreshing to see the great mums on here thinking about their kids first and not their own selfish thoughts!

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