Savvy parents are already starting to think about their holiday budgets – especially since inflation has made everything more expensive.
Planning ahead gets a little harder, however, when you’re newly separated or divorced. How do you navigate gift-giving without ending up in an all-out war with your ex? Here are some things you and your co-parent should discuss:
Is Santa involved in this picture?
If your kids are very young and still believe in St. Nick, you and your co-parent definitely need to come up with a plan. Will Santa drop off a gift and fill the stockings at both houses or will they be left where the kids wake up that morning? Whatever your traditions involving the Jolly Old Elf, you want to try to maintain them so that the kids aren’t upset or confused.
Are you willing to share?
One of the most destructive things parents can do is try to compete for their children’s favor through presents. If your ex is amenable to the idea, create a joint budget. Then, either do the shopping together or split your child’s “wish list” between you so that you don’t end up duplicating your gifts and disappointing someone.
Are there any conditions on the gifts?
Generally speaking, your children will appreciate a gift more if they feel like it’s really theirs to take with them when they transfer from house to house. If there’s anything that you don’t want your children to transport with them, discuss the reasoning with your co-parent and see if you can come to an agreement about the issue.
Parenting plans are supposed to be designed with the best interests of the children in mind. If your parenting plan leaves something to be desired, it may be time to explore additional legal options.