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Family Mediators Association - Tips for Christmas

These tips are mainly aimed at Christmas, but could apply equally to any holiday period.

1. Remember the holidays are not all about you.
Your children deserve their holidays/celebration even if you feel cheated out of yours. Even though you will miss them and may feel sad, encourage them to have a really good time with their other parent.

2. Get into the true spirit of the holidays.
Christmas is a time of giving and forgiving. Look forward to letting go of anger-and treasuring all you have.

3. Love means more than money.
Your attention, time and emotional presence are more important than lavish gifts. Your time spent in helping your children make cards for their family and friends can be more comforting to them than the latest 'must-have' toy.

4. Planning.
Plan your holiday timetable well in advance with your ex. Be prepared to be flexible for the sake of your children. Consider the needs of grand-parents also, and discuss the needs of the children with them.

5. The holidays are not a competition with your ex partner.
Resist the temptation to compete, and show your children by your example the true meaning of the holiday. However hard, do not compete with your ex's new partner!

6. Communicate.
An email, phone-call, or conversation can help you avoid duplication of presents or unrealistic time-schedules. Ten minutes now could save weeks of fuming later.

7. Consider some joint time with your children's other parent.
Do not push your children out of the door to the collecting parent with barely a word said. Consider some time together, especially if your separation is recent. You may even wish to spend part of the holiday together. Don't worry if others are shocked- there is no compulsion to do what others expect!

8. Plan next Christmas.
Immediately after Christmas, reflect on what worked well and what did not. Discuss this with your ex. Work out what you will do next year- everyone will be happier knowing what to expect.

9. Plan with your extended family.
Work things out in advance with your own family also and ask for their understanding if family traditions have to adapt to new circumstances.

10. Establish traditions with your children.

Think creatively about new traditions which could be established with your children especially ones that could take place not on Christmas Day itself. Establish different rituals than from the past. Your children may not remember the details of any particular Christmas, but will remember the atmosphere and pleasures you will share. 

Source:  Family Mediators Association

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