Preparing for the Christmas holidays

Preparing For The Christmas Holidays 

November 25, 2022
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain

The holidays are officially here! (You saw Santa Claus close out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, complete with the reindeer and Mrs. Clause, right?!) It’s time to trim the tree, write a letter to Santa, and maybe fix yourself a mug of cocoa or even a slightly spiked eggnog.

It’s also time to figure out, if you share custody of your children, how it’s all going to work out this holiday season. Here a few tips from our seasoned New Jersey family law attorney to help you do so while minimizing conflict this holiday season:

  • When are the children off from school? Many schools are closed the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so, depending upon the children’s schedules, there may be ample time for everyone to celebrate. Other questions to address with the children’s school calendars are, is everyone off at the same time? And does anyone have Christmas Eve day off? The first step is to determine the perimeters of the schedule. 
  • Consult last year’s parenting schedule, as well as your agreed-upon schedule. Which parent had the children for last year’s Christmas Eve dinner? Who had the children for Christmas morning? What about the Thanksgiving holiday we just enjoyed? The schedule should be as fair and equitable as possible and be in accordance with the schedule as laid out and previously agreed upon. Remember, if you’re co-parenting, you want your children to create holiday memories with your co-parent as well. 
  • Speaking of magical memories, just because you may not have custody of your children for every moment of the holiday season— for instance, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day— doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in your own unique way. If your children are with you for Christmas Eve but not the next morning, why not create a moment when they hear Santa’s reindeer on the rooftop, and let them open a gift or two that Santa dropped off early? If the reverse is the case— and they’re not with you on Christmas Eve— perhaps you can send them off with a Christmas Eve card to read from you before bedtime? Be sure to check in with your co-parent to see what they might be comfortable with you doing, of course. 
  • And speaking of your co-parent, the same is true: how can you help them be a part of the Christmas holiday? Are there events at the children’s school that you both might be comfortable attending at the same time? If there’s a holiday time event (say, a special visit with Santa, a train ride or the selecting of the tree) that your family members (a grandparent or a favorite aunt or uncle) might want them to be a part of, can you adjust the schedule to accommodate this special request? Think of what it might mean to you if, say, on Christmas Eve you could FaceTime in with one verse of the annual reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. It is Christmastime, after all, and a little kindness in a moment towards your co—parents will go a long way. 
  • Finally, try creating a new holiday memory! What have you not done with your children before? Sledding on a hill downtown; popping popcorn and watching a favorite Christmas movie from your childhood; or a Christmas craft project— say, cutting images from last year’s cards, magazines, and photos to make new decorations? Whatever it is you might discover a new holiday tradition that will help you if you’re missing your children if holiday seasons come.

Everyone at our firm hopes you and your family— and your co-parent— have a wonderful and magical holiday season! 

If you’re separated, divorced, or considering divorce during the holiday season, Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC can help.