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Coordinating Christmas Gifts for Children After Divorce

Posted on in Children of divorce

Coordinating Christmas Gifts for Children After DivorceYour first Christmas after a divorce can be a difficult adjustment for yourself and your children. Parents’ main concern is usually how they will divide parenting time during the holidays so that they both can enjoy it with their children. Gift-giving is another topic that co-parents need to discuss leading up to Christmas. Do not assume that your co-parent has the same idea about what is appropriate regarding the types of gifts you will get your children and their value. You should share your gift-giving duties in the same way as you share other child-related responsibilities and expenses.


Newly divorced parents can make a mistake by going overboard with Christmas gifts because they feel guilty about putting their children through the divorce. Exceeding your normal budget for your children’s gifts can have harmful consequences:

  • You are setting a new expectation for the value and quantity of gifts that your children receive.
  • You are teaching your children that they should expect gifts as compensation if you do something that upsets them.
  • Your personal budget after a divorce may be unable to afford more expensive gifts.

You and your co-parent should set a budget for your combined gifts for your children that is similar to what you spent when you were married. This means that each parent will give fewer gifts on their own but their combined gifts will be consistent with what the children usually receive on Christmas.

Not a Competition

You should try to equally divide between each other the value and number of gifts you give your children. One parent giving more gifts than the other can send the wrong message to the children. Unfortunately, some divorced parents see holidays such as Christmas as a chance to show up their co-parent and win their children’s favor. It is unhealthy and unfair to compete for your children’s affection with gifts. If your co-parent is using Christmas gifts to compete with you, you should privately discuss with them why you think this practice is unhealthy for your children.

Santa’s Visits

Divorce should not change whether children receive Christmas gifts from Santa Claus. The question is: How many places should Santa visit? Obviously, the children will expect a visit from Santa at the home where they wake up on Christmas morning. If you are worried about this creating an imbalance in gifts, you can arrange for Santa to also visit the other parent’s home and leave gifts there.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

The most important Christmas gift you can give your children is the ability to spend time with both of you. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you reach an agreement on a fair division of parenting time. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


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