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How do you plan Christmas access?

(25 Posts)
MariaTheNun Fri 11-Jul-14 14:41:47

I know it's only July, but I'm a bit of a worrier.
Last Christmas was a disaster. We had split for 2 months. My exDH is difficult and moody and we fell out several times over who would have the DDs and when. There doesn't seem to be an easy compromise.
How you you plan it?

curiousgeorgie Fri 11-Jul-14 14:46:03

I'm married but my parents are divorced and we always had Christmas with our mum, and then a second Christmas Day on Boxing Day with our dad.

My brother and SIL have split and they do it this way too..

bluebell8782 Fri 11-Jul-14 15:15:18

My DSD lives with us EOW..I believe a child should wake up Christmas morning in the bed they know best. In our case it is her mums as she lives there longer. We then have a second Christmas on Boxing Day so there's still a Christmassy feel for everyone.
What do your daughters think? Maybe ask them but in a way so they won't feel guilty about 'picking' a parent.

Kim82 Fri 11-Jul-14 15:24:56

I've always had the kids on Christmas morning, ex picks them up around 10am, takes them to see his family then brings them back around 1pm. He has them overnight either on boxing day or new years eve, he decides which one.

This has been the arrangement since we split up 8 years ago. He did used to push to have the kids overnight on christmas eve so they woke up with him on christmas morning but I've always said no. If he made more effort with them through the year and didn't constantly let them down then I'd be happy to do alternate years with him but as he can't be arsed the rest of the year why should he get the best part of Christmas with them?! Besides the kids have said they want to stay at home and when they were younger and believed in santa they'd have been gutted to wake up at his on Christmas morning to one cheap little present and nothing else ( as has happened every year, no fail!)

cookiefiend Fri 11-Jul-14 15:25:01

I like the idea of two christmas days- one of the few perks of having divorced parents. As a child I spent the morning with my mum and afternoon and evening with my dad. It was awful. Always watching the clock. The first time I had christmas dinner with my mum I was in my 20s and even now I feel I missed out. Having a repeat day would have been ace. And it doesn't really matter who gets the real Christmas Day as you both could celebrate the whole day as though it was christmas.

cashmerecardigans Fri 11-Jul-14 15:32:32

For ages we took turns - one of us would do Christmas Eve through to Christmas Day lunchtime and then the other would do lunchtime (including lunch) through to Boxing Day. We alternated every year, so it was fair. Once we moved half an hour away from my ex, we decided to do it diffrrently and he had them on Christmas day into Boxing day. We sort of moved official Christmas Day to Boxing day and in lots of ways it has worked loads better as we both have children with ex partners and it took all the pressure off trying to see everyone on the big day.
It also means we have a lovely Christmas Day with just the 2 of us - go to the pub and eat posh M and S food on the day then a big Chritmas lunch with everyone on boxing day, so it's like its Christmas twice.
It works for us, probably because the children were a bit older by the time we changed it - youngest around 12. Also, as time has gone on, they have tended to reappear on Christmas Day evening as they started to drive. I also refused to play games around Christmas. I've tried to be fair and make sure the children took turns - only time I goofed was letting him take them ski-ing over Christmas - awful for all (including him) and he's never tried to repeat it!

Walkacrossthesand Fri 11-Jul-14 16:09:37

We split when the DCs were little, but ex was always reliable about contact - one night a week and every other weekend. Christmas, right from the start, was on the 'alternating' model - Christmas Eve and day in one house, pickup at tea time and transfer to the other house for 'Christmas reprise'. We weren't big on the Father Christmas delivery myth, and the DCs never questioned how the presents came to different houses each year, and there was always a second delivery on Boxing Day! grin

hamptoncourt Fri 11-Jul-14 16:33:16

How old are the DDs?

My DC are teens so they just decide where they go, but if your are younger I would definitely go for the option cashmere describes. A good friend of mine successfully had this arrangement over many years and it worked well for him, his DD and his ex.

One year he had DD from Xmas Eve until lunch time Xmas Day ( so he got to open pressies early etc) and then they went to XW to have Xmas lunch and stay Boxing Day. This way extended family also had chances to see her at some point over the holidays.

DirtySkirtings Fri 11-Jul-14 19:10:53

DS was 5 when we split and we've spent the last 5 christmases all together, at DS' request. I've done 4 out of 5 but last year I got fed up of hints not being taken and said "can you do Christmas this year". Amazingly he stepped up and cooked the whole works.

DS stays Xmas eve with parent "hosting" and the other arrives about 7.30am for stocking opening.

Admittedly this scenario only works if you are reasonably amicable, and I don't think we will do the same this year as potentially will include new partners who also have DC so it will be more complicated. I'll probably suggest a split halfway through the day.

Charley50 Fri 11-Jul-14 19:23:39

We alternate Xmas and have done since DS was quite small. It seems fairer that way. DS is happy about it.

Ludoole Fri 11-Jul-14 19:25:40

My ex comes over xmas eve and stays in ds2's room. We get up open presents and he spends thr whole day with us.
It was awkward for the first couple of years...

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Fri 11-Jul-14 19:36:11

We've had two so far. XH came here early in the morning and spent the day both times. It was fairly low key and not traditional roast as my DCs don't like them, so easy pasta bake type lunch. Gave the DCs the choice to stay here or go home with XH in the evening. We tend to see family on other random days either side anyway, so nobody else to consider in each family.

I do have a dp with his own two DCs. They do the same, ex comes to his (along with both their families) and spend the day together. I hate it, but put up with it because Christmas is about the kids being happy.

cashmerecardigans Fri 11-Jul-14 20:13:37

I'm slightly boggled at the concept of spending the day together when you've split up, I don't think either of would have wanted it and I think it would have confused the DCs - we have split up after all! They loved the 2 Christmas thing and its become a family tradition that Christmas day comes a day late. I love it as I love Christmas and it keeps it going!
More seriously, I really wouldn't want to spend the day with EXH for the children's sake - surely it must be utterly grim for both adults?

GenuinelyMaryMacguire Fri 11-Jul-14 20:26:32

It was all a long time but I was firm about Christmas.
I had daughter to myself in the morning.
We had (early) lunch with my parents.
Her father picked her up and took her to his parents in the afternoon, where she (to her disgust) had tea (not as good as afternoon tea at my mum's).
She was home about six oclock.
I always went home in the afternoon for two or three hours alone, which gave me chance to study or work, and made Christmas Day bearable for me.

GenuinelyMaryMacguire Fri 11-Jul-14 20:27:29

that would be 'a long time ago'. preview your posts Gen, and use upper case sometimes. [sighs at self]

Slightly different as DS dad and I are co-oarents rather than a separated couple (we were old drinking buddies and pals when I got PG). When DS was little he spent Xmas with me and my parents, seeing his dad and paternal GPS a day or two before or on Boxing day. When he was 4 he and I and his dad went to stay with paternal GPs from Xmas eve to Boxing day morning then had a second Xmas with my parents (and brother and SIL). Now we do alternate years, though when it's Paternal-GPs-year I go along too, when it's my family's turn DS' dad tends to stay in London and spend Xmas in bed with beer and TV (while his parents go abroad). It all works out OK - the length of stay is determined by the fact that DS' dad and I are both car-free and his parents live in Hampshire while my family are in Kent.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Fri 11-Jul-14 20:38:25

DS is small, a toddler.

Last ýear I had the whole of Christmas. ExH saw him on his usual day which was a couple of days before. He didn't complain and has to work anyway.

This year he may try to kick off and have DS for Christmas on a "swapping" Basis. He can fucking swing for it. I raised this child, we do Christmas my way. If he doesn't like it he can go to court.

No fucking way is he fannying about with a few hours access here and there all year and then getting Christmas.

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Fri 11-Jul-14 21:32:53

Cashmere, funnily enough I don't mind too much spending a bit of time with my ex on special occasions. He was pretty cold and distant, EA but not severely so, and I've forgiven him for how he was when we were married as I know he was pretty miserable too.

He was never very involved when he lived here, so it's actually nice to see him interact with the DCs. They're all old enough to understand that we're very much separated and that I have someone new, so it's not confusing for them at all and I think they appreciate that we can be friendly to each other when we're in the same room.

I find it harder feeling jealous about dp spending time with his ex, which he does on a more regular basis than I do. (Mother's Day, meeting up with her family from abroad, DCs' birthdays, Xmas, get together at mutual friends' house. Grr, annoyed just thinking about it!)

I know it's not for everyone and I can certainly understand why it wouldn't be good for the DCs if the parents don't like each other, but I just mentioned it as another alternative.

drspouse Fri 11-Jul-14 21:38:28

My parents split after I left home but my mum in particular has insisted on having several joint Christmas dinners, especially now they have DGC. It's not too awkward now but I spent a few years avoiding them (went to friends one year, and Africa another -OK I was actually there for a whole year!).

Charley50 Fri 11-Jul-14 21:41:30

Penelope-
I think your jealousy is justified. If they aren't together why does he go to hers for mother's day and why aren't you invited to friends parties?

MavisGrind Fri 11-Jul-14 21:42:37

Xh and I split when the dcs were tiny. We spent the first couple of Christmases all together but tbh there was a lot of tension. For the last few years we have alternated it so that one of us has the dcs for Christmas, one for new year. Whoever doesn't have the dcs for Christmas day has a different 'Christmas day' a day or so after.

The dcs seem happy with this arrangement - I find it terribly hard not to be with them on Christmas day, but it's preferable to spending it with Xh!

Cabrinha Fri 11-Jul-14 23:07:32

Xmas Eve is my favourite part. It's got all the scope for traditions without being a consumerist avalanche!
Not criticising that, god knows I partake! But Xmas Eve is best.

Last year was our first split Xmas. I had my 5yo til 11:00 Xmas Day, and picked her up about 10:00 Boxing Day.
So he had Xmas dinner - but she's 5, and doesn't care!

It was only 4 months post split, and she wrote (with encouragement) in her Santa letter to please split presents between houses. So we both had the Santa delivery excitement.

He had his parents over - his mum is quite old, so I think it's nice for her to see granddaughter while she can.

I'd be happy with that again.

Lovingfreedom Fri 11-Jul-14 23:51:03

First two years we took turns over Xmas eve/Xmas day. Then last year my ex decided to take the kids abroad with his parents etc and it stretched right over the Xmas period. The kids weren't very pleased, neither was I, but it was already booked and tbh it ended up working fine. They were back with me just after Xmas and we had a big meal on New Year's Day plus a party on 2nd Jan and it was all good fun.

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Sat 12-Jul-14 00:18:52

Yeah, I think it's nice to stretch it out a bit tbh. Dp and I celebrate the weekend before with all our kids and then spend the actual day apart, but hopefully in the future we might get to spend it together. I've always enjoyed the build up more than the actual day, so if my ex ever wants to host Christmas I won't mind taking a step back. I'd still want to see them at seem point on the day, especially as ex only lives 5 minutes away.

Charley, Mother's Day is a weird one. I think he went to drop them off with her but as it was technically 'his day' he went along for lunch with her and her mum. The friends thing is awkward as one of his best friends is married to one of her best friends. It's probably nice that nobody has been asked to take sides or cut anyone off, but it's not easy coming into their situation!

I do get invited too, but I'd rather gouge out my eyeballs with a spoon than hang out at the weekend with him, his ex and her best mate, listening to them all reminisce about the good old days, so have so far politely declined!

tiredandsadmum Sat 12-Jul-14 00:34:27

we alternate, it just seems easier rather than trying to split an already busy complicated day

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