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Our First Lone Parent Christmas - what new traditions?

(23 Posts)
Goodbetterbest Sat 03-Oct-15 22:06:48

Dec 28 2014 we told the kids we were splitting up. It's a joy, just the children and I. I imagine there will be lots of sitting around in PJs as no ILs for brekkie. I want to make it memorable for all the right reasons and not because it's the first one without their dad. Any ideas?!

MsWazowski Sat 03-Oct-15 22:08:26

How old are your children? Have you any other family around?

Goodbetterbest Sat 03-Oct-15 22:23:11

Hi MrsW, 4 DCs 8 - 14 and a dog.
Not sure how XH thinks he is fitting in - I don't want him here. I want to make it all about the children. We do Xmas eve boxes, stockings.
XHs family fairly close by but we don't go there - dinner is always at home. My family are too far.

notenoughbottle Sat 03-Oct-15 22:24:14

It's my first too with my three children, although have had Xmas previously with my two boys on my own. Children are 9, 6 and my daughter is just 2. I'll be inviting my daughters dad up along with his parents for a few hours first thing. Don't really want to buy try to keep everyone happy. Would love a new tradition to carry on though also.

starlight2007 Sat 03-Oct-15 22:30:12

I have a an 8 year old and have done all Christmas's alone except his first ( which kinda was anyway)

We have quite a few traditions..We always do something special Xmas eve often theatre..We always make a gingerbread house which we always eat for breakfast Christmas day.

We do have a roast dinner but not turkey and we have our fave pudding which has nothing to do with xmas..

I used to have a no lap top rule but now he wants to go on electronic stuff I am not as rigid. We make sure we play lots of games.

We often don't get dressed xmas day as it is a nice day not an enforced by other people day

MsWazowski Sat 03-Oct-15 22:41:45

Agree with starlight about Xmas eve, we've always gone to the local panto, then had a nice tea. PJs and Santa tracker with a Christmas film before bed.

Christmas Day is up to you and the children, eat what you want to, doesn't have to be a roast, but if that's what you all want, then go for it. It can be a lovely relaxing time for you all.

I've been a lone parent for a long time, Christmas is my favourite time, we always do exactly what we want. (Unlike when I was married)

momb Sat 03-Oct-15 22:44:10

Our first Christmas with just me and the Dcs was awful. I tried to keep everything the way it was before and it didn't work at all: exH here fr half the morning for gift opening and a lovely dinner eaten at 1.30 by only me as the girls weren't at all hungry (full of stocking treats) and the whole day a bit of an upset.
Don't make the same mistake. The next year the Dcs chose dinner (crab and roast pork) and we had a special Christmas breakfast, then they ate their sweets and we had dinner much later, just in time for Dr Who. It was great, much happier, much more about who we are and not what my expectation of the day would be.
Don't make my mistake. That awful Christmas still sticks in my memory. Ask them what they want and be prepared to completely shake everything up. Make it about you all and just slot exH in for a brief period at the beginning gif he wants to see them/they want to see him on Christmas morning. Next year they can go to him if that's what they want. Make it all about them and you will enjoy it a lot more.

Glassofwineneeded Sun 04-Oct-15 09:10:47

This will be my second Christmas as a lone parent of 2 ds's 9&14
Last year I let my exh come round in the morning for present opening and breakfast. He then set up kids stuff like tablets and put batteries in toys etc while I leisurely got ready. He left by midday and the rest if the day was mine to do with as I pleased with the boys.
I felt that the boys would wNt their dad their so I put my feelings aside and invited him for the morning. It worked well and this year we will do the same.
I think it does depend on why you split up tho, we are fairly amicable so this arrangement works for us.

Goodbetterbest Sun 04-Oct-15 15:04:43

Thank you everyone. XH has invited himself around. I need to be able to contain it. I don't want him here, I hate being around him. He seems to forget life has changed. I can't see why he can't be with his new gf and her 2yo. But it's about him not feeling lonely, not about his children wanting or needing to see him. It happens to suit him.

He cheated many, many times, in a sordid fashion some of them. New gf pre-dates our split. She had a partner, and a toddler with him. So that's two families they fucked up. And still he thinks he is welcome? I accept he is in my life forever, I don't have to like it.

I'm thinking mid-morning to after lunch. He can then take the car and go to his parents.

He doesn't need to be here for stocking opening. He won't contribute time, effort or money to the lunch. I wouldn't at all be surprised if he turned up without presents, thinking he still had his name on my gifts to them.

Next year will be different again I expect. Hopefully.

megletthesecond Sun 04-Oct-15 15:11:35

Buy some pre-prepared xmas food. And don't buy too much. I made the mistake of buying a whole chicken for 3 of us so I had to spend xmas evening fiddling around picking off the meat and freezing it. I'd rather have been on the sofa.

MsWazowski Sun 04-Oct-15 17:01:22

You don't have to have him round for lunch, can you tell him he's got an hour, around mid morning. I'm all for putting up with exh for the kids, until it starts making things uncomfortable, surely he can have lunch elsewhere.

starlight2007 Sun 04-Oct-15 21:37:46

One thing I would bear in mind is the first year can set precedence for following year...

MakStout Sun 04-Oct-15 21:40:50

This is actually my third Christmas since I left the dcs dad. But the first two I didn't have my own place, we were staying with my mum or my friend. This time we are in our own home, but dc are going to their dad's for Christmas. I think we will celebrate the solstice instead, before the go to his on Christmas day.

MARGUERITE18 Mon 05-Oct-15 08:30:55

present hunt around the house and garden!

momb Mon 05-Oct-15 09:34:10

Do not feed him. In, hugs kids, gift exchange (I'm afraid you will need to bite the bullet and enable them to make or buy a small gift for him) then off with him. A coffee and mince pie mid-morning is quite sufficient.

it's your day too. If you are uncomfortable with him around then there is no way you should be buying him lunch. Do not buy him a present from yourself, even if you are the kind of person who greets everyone with a small gift at Christmas.

GobbolinoCat Mon 05-Oct-15 12:54:21

Op can you not lay some rules about his visit. Rather than wait for him to come and let you down and stuff...

He won't contribute time, effort or money to the lunch. I wouldn't at all be surprised if he turned up without presents, thinking he still had his name on my gifts to them.

If you want to come for lunch you need to contribute to it in some way.

You cant come empty handed, remember the gifts are now soley coming from me under our tree.

TELL him of new expectations and you wont be accepting anything less.

However I wouldn't have him there for lunch anyway...

Goodbetterbest Tue 06-Oct-15 21:37:16

I think that's very sound advice, thanks everyone.

I've started to distance myself. I'm not picking up the phone (kids have own phones) and ignoring his hovering round at dinner time last night.

I predict a face like a slapped arse and a pouty lip as he isn't seeing much of his kids. (They aren't arsed, and he doesn't think for himself - I need to suggest that he sees them for something to happen).

He's a glorified babysitter. He hasn't earnt the right to sit with is and share our Christmas.

inchoccyheaven Wed 07-Oct-15 01:25:30

My exh and I split up xmas day 2013 although dc ( now 13 & 15) didn't know that at the time, just that we had difficulties which meant the day wasn't great. So last year was first year with dc on my own and I wanted it to be so much better to make up for the previous year, but my poor ds2 found it incredibly hard and was very upset on and off during the day. I tried to stick to the same traditions in the morning and then I dropped them off to exh for lunch and the next few days.
I am hoping this year that ds2 will enjoy Christmas much more but have realised that I can't make the bad memories just disappear I just have to give him time and space when he needs it.

amazonqueen Wed 07-Oct-15 17:53:33

Having Christmas dinner later in the day is one way to make sure he doesnt get to share even by accident.

A special breakfast of whatever the Dc want and then they can have the rest of the day to eat chocs etc. Hopefully ExH will then appear and can spend time with the kids. No cooking in evidence so he can't hang around hopefully. He should piddle off mid afternoon .

You get time to spend with the DC and the meal can be timed to coincide with movie/DVD watching before a later bedtime.

Our favourite family meals always ended up just being buffets of all sorts laid out in the kitchen and the DC help themselves. No stress of any type . They dont rate roasts as something special anyway and prefer 'party food' and casual dining over waiting for hours for a lump of meat .All the supermarkets do their own party buffet platters etc so its easy to pick up stuff to warm through.

Goodbetterbest Wed 07-Oct-15 18:56:22

That's a great idea to eat later. Then he can indeed bugger off to his mothers and eat with them. That would work and I hadn't thought of that. Thank you.

Inchoccyheaven - can I ask, what, with hindsight would you have done differently last year to get through it, and what are you going to do this year to make it special?

BrandNewAndImproved Wed 07-Oct-15 19:07:50

Is there anywhere you can go in the evening?

This will be my 9th sp Christmas and whilst it's a lovely day just me and the dc with nice food and presents once they're in bed it sucks.

ladygracie Wed 07-Oct-15 19:12:36

We did the first few years either together or shared but I realised that the kids actually love having 2 separate Christmas days otherwise it's all over very quickly. So that's what we do. We FaceTime on Christmas Day but otherwise are on our own or with my family. Not sure if that's an option for you this year but maybe next year.

inchoccyheaven Tue 03-Nov-15 00:45:58

Goodbetterbest, i think i tried too hard to make it a happy day and over did the presents which although I thought were good ones turned out to be mistakes and costly. Poor ds2 just went and sobbed on the bed which broke my heart, he was eventually diagnosed as depressed and missed nearly a whole year of school but is coming out the other side.
This year i wont try and minimise feelings and will try and be guided more by what they want rather than what i think should happen.
I have no communication with exh so the dc will discuss arrangements with him.

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