The start of November heralds in the beginning of the holiday season, and with it, holiday parenting time. Will your child be giving thanks for how seamlessly her parents share her time off from school, or will she want to give you both a lump of coal in your stockings? It’s up to you and your co-parent!

Thanksgiving holiday parenting time begins Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving and goes until Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. But what if your ex-spouse’s Grandma Marie *always* has the family Christmas celebration the day after Thanksgiving? You know your child would love to see her cousins again this year. What do you do?

Be flexible. New traditions will arise when a family changes structure after a divorce, but old traditions are still important. If it’s feasible to work in both traditions, feel free to do it! If it does not work out, perhaps a phone call to relatives or a quick Skype session will make your child feel a part of both celebrations.

Winter / Christmas break begins the last day of school and ends the evening before school starts again after the New Year’s holiday. This is divided in half, with the non-custodial parent having the first half in odd numbered years. If Christmas doesn’t fall during a parent’s week, that parent will have parenting time with the child from noon to 9pm on Christmas Day. Remember to keep your children at the center of the holiday and maintain your cooperative and flexible attitude. The goal is a peaceful holiday season, so be sure to maintain peace at all parenting time exchanges.

What about if your co-parent will have parenting time with your child for the entire Christmas holiday, especially if they must travel to visit out of town relatives? Some parents feel particularly “Scroogy” during this time of year if their child will not be with them and don’t even bother to put up a tree. They feel that if they don’t have their child on the actual *day* of the holiday, then they might as well not bother. However, depending on how old your child is, she may not even know what day Christmas is. And if she does know? So what! Children are thrilled that Santa came to both houses and they can enjoy their stockings and presents the following weekend, and you will still get to enjoy seeing their beaming faces as they excitedly tear open their gifts . . . whatever day that occurs.

Start planning your holiday parenting time now to avoid any last minute surprises or expensive cancellations. Contact the attorneys at Wanzer Edwards if you need help getting into the holiday spirit with your co-parent this year.