The Holidays are a crazy, rushed, and stressful time of year no matter the year. Gift giving and expenses play a huge role in the creation of this stress. Needless to say, divorce also adds to the limiting of expenses and in the creation of stress. throw COVID on top of that and the tides of stress rise even further. This year, it is extra important that divorcing couples include in their mediation/co-parenting plans a Holiday gift-giving plan of action, which takes into consideration and honors both parents’ financial situations.
For divorcing parents, the co-parenting plan can be your best friend. By communicating before the holiday season begins, parents can come together to agree on how they wish to handle the holidays. Covid may have altered the amount available for present buying, and the budgets may be adjusted for that. It may also impact the amount of time allocated to extended family and friends which also needs to be adjusted for equally among the parties. Compromising is the fun part right?
An example may be a joint present, where one parent may contribute more but it comes from the parents equally. Another may be creating a budget for each child from each parent or a collective budget from both parties based on current circumstances. Flexibility and communication are the key here. It is all-to-common for gifts to become a competition amongst divorcing parents—remember to think long-term and with your child’s best interests in mind.
This year may also be the perfect time to introduce new traditions, which do not center around physical gift-giving. Instead, each parent can suggest an activity or experience with the children focused on time spent together. Complimentary activities also ensure the child has unique but similar experiences with both parents. Skiing, ice-skating, and snowshoeing, all around outdoor winter favorites of mine! But, the focus should always remain on ensuring the child has as stress-free or as low-stress as possible holiday and gift-receiving experience.
For couples with no children, there are always the parents, neighbors, friends, coworkers, bosses, etc. that need to be thought of. An easy option is solo gifts and solo budgets. A more global budget split in half allocated how each divorcing spouse wishes is a common compromise for couples with different priorities. Although don’t be afraid to give gifts to those you have close relationships with. Divorce doesn’t always mean the ending of all ties with each other’s families.
- Create a gift-giving plan
- Set a clear-defined budget
- Communicate on gift choices
- Start new traditions not focused on gift-giving
- Gift those you care for
- The holiday season is all about warm memories, so be sure to keep the season enjoyable!
I wish you all the best and hope for a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season!