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Co-parenting - Christmas Day plans, need help!(58 Posts)
I have been separated from my ex husband for over 3 years, and divorced for 1 year. We’ve been trying to make plans for our DD for Christmas Day. Ex husband wants to drop presents off and watch DD open them Christmas morning which is what we normally do, but I really want to do things separately this year and going forwards want to keep things separate too. I’ve got a partner now and really want to move on. What should I do? Do you think l am over thinking this or being selfish to DD or ex husband? I am just wondering what everyone else does Christmas Day with their DC or ex husband.
Would you be fine with him having her for Xmas day and then alternating each year?
I think if you want to fo things separately you need to be ready not to have your daughter with you every other Xmas eve and Xmas day morning. If you are OK with that then suggest alternating....
The first two years we were separated we did as you describe with exDH coming over and staying for a few hours, opening presents, having breakfast. I thought it was nice for DD. However as you say things then moved on- we both got new partners etc. So now we split it, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to 12noon on Christmas Day, then Christmas afternoon (including dinner) and Boxing Day. We alternate year on year which takes which part of the split. The first year I cried and cried (after dropping her off, she didn’t see) and that was after having her Christmas Eve and morning! But I’m used to it now, and she enjoys both. Imo the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning is the best one! It’s his turn for that one this year but that means it’ll be my turn next year, and in due a baby with my new partner in March so next year will be baby’s first Christmas and will be lovely having DD for Christmas Eve and morning for that!
You can't take Christmas away from him just because you have a partner.
Various options that work in my family:
My brother goes round to see his dd open presents. He's single, his ex has a partner. They get on fine. He goes back to pick up his dd on the evening, puts her to bed and has her for a few days
My bil and ex alternate. One year he has his kids Xmas eve for 4 or 5 days, they go to his ex for New Year. Mum facetimes Xmas morning. They alternate the next year. All fine.
Cousin's ds spends xmas eve and xmas morning with her mum, my cousin picks him up mid afternoon and does xmas again at his house boxing day.
We have talked about that, but DD isn’t keen on the idea.
If your DD isn't keen on going to her Dad's for part of Christmas then IMO you really need to keep making a little room for him in your plans with her until she comes to the decision that she'd visit with him, which she might do when she's older.
It's not fair to deny him time with her at Christmas because you have a new partner, nor is it fair to force her to go somewhere she doesn't want to be.
How old is DD? Is there a bit of wanting mum and dad together?
If that’s not really an option you need to offer her an alternative - either splitting Christmas Day or one doing Christmas Eve the other doing Christmas Day, or one soo g Christmas, the other doing New Year. Whatever works.
I understand you wanting her to be happy with the arrangements but IME they tend to choose what they know, and you might have to take the upper hand. Obviously this depends whether she is six or 16!
Thank you so much for all your replies, it really is so helpful. It is such a difficult situation. My DD is 8 and she naturally wants to spend Christmas Day with both of us - she would love for us to be back together. I’ve suggested to ex husband splitting the day in half and alternating each year, but he says he wants us to spend time together as a family and feels that would be best for DD. I’m really not sure what to do, my DD’s happiness is my priority.
You need to take it in turns. It’s only fair. Not a matter of what she wants. Totally unfair on the dad. You have moved on and may one day be married or living with your new partner. It’s totally fine not wanting him there moving forward. Maybe this year you have Xmas eve and he can collect at 11am and do presents and bring back about 4/5 and the following year dd can stay at his Xmas eve. Obviously you haven’t mentioned how far away your ex lives and this is only possible if local. If not it will have to be Xmas eve day with you and then switch the following year.
It gets easier
Ex husband only lives 5 minute drive away.
How do all the adults get on? I’m (now) good friends with my children’s dad and get on well with his wife. If they came at Christmas we’d all have a good laugh and enjoy it.
However... I was married for a while and XH was very uncomfortable around him. I had to consider his feelings too, so it was out of the question.
Of course your daughter’s happiness is the top priority. But an awkward atmosphere would not be good for anyone.
We actually have ExW and whomever she dating over for dinner. I would rather not but her children and my dd love it. I suppose over the years it’s made it more interesting
You need to split Christmas the same as the rest of The year. If he has her for one third of the time, he gets her for one third of Christmas and other holidays.
I think you need to do two years of something separate. You all need to move on, sadly DD has to accept that you aren't getting back together.
Let Ex have his choice of when he has her this year swap next year then reassess.
Thank you again for the replies, really really helpful. I get on well with my ex, but usually after a few hours we start bickering which wouldn’t be a great atmosphere. I think alternating is the best option, and that’s a great suggestion to give him the choice of when he’d like to have her this year. Perhaps once the plans are set and DD sees we’re happy with it then she will be too.
Exh always comes to my house on Xmas day, presents then dinner. He leaves around 3pm. Works for us and means DD8 gets us both in one place. We've done this every Xmas for 6 years. He has a new DP this year but our plans are unchanged.
Tbh at 8yo I think you should be encouraging her to spend a reasonable amount of time with her dad (assuming no abuse). If she has only ever known christmas with you then that's what she will opt for, but she's too young for the weight of decision to rest on her shoulders, really.
I think you are perfectly reasonable to want seperate Christmases, but then you have to alternate.
Why not have a Christmas Eve picnic tea together? She can open his gift. He can put her to bed.
Or you could both have a Christmas morning just one Christmas Day and one on Boxing Day. Then she gets two christmases.
I agree stompythedinosaur, lots of things I’ve read have said not to ask the child to make the decision. She asks me what the plan is and then gets upset by it. I think it doesn’t help that her dad wants us to spend it together.
A Christmas Eve picnic tea is a great idea.
We actually split the day, it's evolved over the years. Kids have tried Christmas dinner with Dad and weren't impressed, so always opt for Christmas morning here and going to his 😓2-6pmish. There have been years when they've stayed at his from the afternoon onwards, if it's a usual night they'd be there. That's been hard for me, but we've done it.
Tbh you may not have the option of him coming into your house if we're not allowed household mixing by Christmas. I know children will still be able to travel between parents' households but that doesn't mean adults would be able to come in.
Surely it wouldn't hurt just to be civil to each other for a few hours for your daughter's sake?
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