Planning For the Holiday Season: 4 Things for Divorced Parents to Consider

The holiday period can be a busy and chaotic time for families across the world. Parents have to organize getting Christmas gifts for their kids, go shopping and decide what festive food they are going to prepare for everyone, organize their work schedule around spending valuable quality time with their kids, and create precious memories for your family around the Christmas holiday season that will all cherish forever. Sadly, getting you and your family ready for the holiday season does often involve a great deal of planning. We have come up with a guide to 4 things divorced parents should consider when planning the holiday season with their family. 

Childcare Arrangements 

Many families across the USA have parents who are divorced or separated. Co-parenting can be tricky at the best of times, and it can make childcare arrangements during the holiday season a little bit more complicated. 

Where are your children spending their time during the holiday season? Are your children going to be opening their presents at Mom’s or Dad’s house on Christmas day? Where are they going to eat Christmas dinner? These are some questions that may seem trivial to you but will be important to your children and are things that they will want to be informed of a long way in advance. Younger children in particular like stability and to know what is happening in regards to the Christmas holiday co-parenting arrangements and where they will be spending the holiday season. For more ideas on how you can design a custody holiday schedule, take a look at this blog by Onward, an app helping divorced parents to manage their shared expenses for their children.

You need to inform your children if there will be any changes or disruptions to their regular parenting schedule that provides their lives with a degree of routine and stability. For example, if Christmas day falls on a Saturday and they are accustomed to usually spending weekends at their Dad’s, but they will be spending Christmas day at their Mom’s, they need to be informed of this beforehand. You certainly don’t want to upset your children by making the parenting arrangements during the holiday season confusing and unclear.

Plan Your Christmas Holiday Childcare Arrangements Early 

The mantra for co-parenting for divorced parents during the holiday season is – failing to prepare is preparing to fail. In other words, get all your Christmas arrangements and holiday plans completed early so that you can look forward to spending time with your kids.

December will come around fast and before you even realize it. It’s a good idea to get all your plans and arrangements for your kids in the holiday season all sorted in October or November time, well before the franticness of December arrives and you find yourself having very little extra time on your hands to plan anything. 

Good Communication with Your Co-parent is Key 

Good communication is one of the cornerstones of co-parenting efficiently and ensuring you keep things between you and your ex-civil, whilst also putting your kids’ needs first. 

Co-parents have to communicate properly with one another to plan the holiday arrangements for the family and to make sure that they run smoothly. If you have only very recently got divorced or separated from your spouse, it may all be a bit fresh, and you feel like it’s overwhelming and too much to see your co-parent in person. Thanks to modern gadgets and the digital technologies of today, it’s now very easy to communicate with your co-parent by telephone calls, FaceTime, Zoom meeting video chats, SMS messages, and messages over social media and so on. You need to arrange things with your co-parent such as car trips for picking up and dropping off the children at each other’s homes, meal timings, you may even also decide to co-operate on gift buying decisions for the kids and making sure you don’t make the classic mistake of both getting the same gift for your kids.

Organizing Christmas Dinner and Festive Food Arrangements 

If you have a large family who you will be cooking a Christmas dinner for, you must make sure you manage to get all of your shopping in time. It may even take a few trips to your local hypermarket or Walmart store. And if you realize close to Christmas day or even on the day itself that you are short of a few ingredients, you may even want to jump in the car to get some last-minute food and drinks in.

If you have you are providing Christmas food and drinks to lots of guests, organization and planning are key. You need to get everything ready and make sure your Christmas day cooking regime is to a military standard so that the turkey comes out of the oven at exactly the right time, and you are able to feed your hungry guests.


Planning the holiday period properly and well in advance with your co-parent will importantly mean that you are both able to enjoy some fantastic vital quality time with your kids at a special time of the year. Enjoy the holiday season with your kids before they grow up, are much taller than you, and no longer believe in Santa Claus.

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