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Can families celebrate holidays together after divorce?

As we welcome November, we also welcome the busy holiday season. This time causes many newly-divorced parents to wonder how they should approach the holidays after their divorce.

In recent years, collaborative co-parenting has appeared in the spotlight as many divorced celebrities put their children first and spend the holidays together. This has led many parents to wonder whether they should celebrate together with their ex-spouse as well.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. Most families will have a custody agreement that determines how parents divide custody over the holidays.

However, in terms of celebrating together, there are two opposing perspectives. So, here is a look at these two points of view. 

Parents can spend holidays together, but only in specific circumstances

First, it is critical to note that spending the holidays together usually only works if parents have a healthy co-parenting relationship

If parents want to try and celebrate the holidays together, they should:

  • Speak with their children: Parents should ask their kids how they want to spend the holidays and get their thoughts on the family spending the holiday together. Children might also feel the extra stress of the holidays after a divorce, so parents should be aware of how their children are feeling.
  • Plan a specific event: Many families who celebrate together after divorce arrange to share a meal together. Sticking to a simple event is often easier - and less stressful - than arranging a whole day together.
  • Prevent competition: Parents should take extra measures to avoid competing with the other parent with material gifts.

Spending the holidays together can be more detrimental than beneficial

It can take a long time for divorced parents to be able to work together after a divorce, even if it was amicable. That is why one of the primary worries parents have about celebrating together is the increased chance of disagreements and disputes.

Additionally, it is common for younger children to hold onto hope that their parents will get back together. Celebrating holidays together after divorce might only fuel that hope and confuse the children about the family's situation. 

Regardless, parents should stick to their parenting agreement

Whether or not North Carolina families celebrate holidays together post-divorce often depends on a few factors, including:

  • Their individual situation; and
  • Their custody agreement.

Usually, parents already have a plan and schedule for the holidays laid out in their parenting and custody agreement. This agreement usually divides holiday time parents have with their children in a variety of ways to best meet the family's needs. No matter the situation, parents can rely on their parenting agreement to guide them through the holidays.

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