17 answers

How to Handle Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

Hello! With holidays approaching me and my child's father are trying to figure out what to do with the holidays, really just Christmas, it's my year for Thanksgiving as he had her last year & we are doing every other year for that holiday. We do not have a formal custody agreement, we have our own set schedule that we've been following for the last 2 years, however because of how things have played out the past 2 years this is the first year we had to worry about Christmas. The first year we had just split so we spent it together & last year her father & his fiance were on vacation the whole Christmas holiday so I had her.

This year, I have her the weekend before Christmas, so right now what he wants to do is I will have her the 23rd & 24th, he would pick her up at 7 pm, and I would do Christmas sometime that weekend. He would have her the night of the 24th until that Saturday the 28th since it's his weekend. My fiance suggested splitting the day of Christmas so that way she gets to see us both on Christmas. The more & more I think about it, the more I agree with splitting the day of since we live so close (we are in the same metro area about a 15 minute drive to each others house). Also, I have to work on the 23rd & my fiance works both the 23rd & 24th this year (he works retail & he is guaranteed the 25th off & either the 24th or 26th but we don't know which day from year to year). If we did split Christmas I'd propose one of us having her Christmas Eve until 2 pm(?) Christmas Day, then Christmas Day until 2 pm on the 26th to resume normal schedule. Then switching that every other year. I don't think he will agree with this one because he wants to go to his family's for the day/weekend and they live 3 hours away. I just have no idea what to do. My daughter is 4 so she knows what's going on kind of. I wasn't sure if splitting the day of would be hard or not, we did it for Easter & she thought it was cool to get Easter baskets & Easter egg hunts at both houses. What are your schedules like or opinions on what I should do?

Sorry this is so long but thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for everyone's answers! We're going to leave it as is and have Santa bring presents on Christmas Eve. I'm worried that splitting Christmas day will be too much of a hassle/stress on everyone involved.

Featured Answers

I am just thinking of the child, and I can't imagine having to split the holiday like that. I think one of you needs to celebrate on the 24th and one on the 25th, but don't make the child bounce back and forth like that.

6 moms found this helpful

I am exhausted just reading the combinations that are laced with the unknown. Choose, don't split, and then have that parent go over to the other parent's house on Christmas if need be.

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I am just thinking of the child, and I can't imagine having to split the holiday like that. I think one of you needs to celebrate on the 24th and one on the 25th, but don't make the child bounce back and forth like that.

6 moms found this helpful

I am exhausted just reading the combinations that are laced with the unknown. Choose, don't split, and then have that parent go over to the other parent's house on Christmas if need be.

5 moms found this helpful

I've read several responses about the need to celebrate on Christmas Day and how kids need to spend Christmas Day at home. Ridiculous. Christmas is what you make of it!

Growing up I was never at my own house on Christmas Day. We were always at Grandma's house. Always! And it was great! It was our tradition.

My parents asked Santa if he could please bring our presents a few days early. The presents would arrive while the evening before we left. We would all open our presents together. My brother and sister and I got to stay up as late as we wanted, while my mom went to bed super early and my dad packed up the car for our 7 hour drive to my grandmother's house. Then he would wake up my mom to drive and place 3 sleeping kids in the car. We slept for a few hours, stopped for breakfast and continued our drive to Grandma's. We were at Grandma's for 3 or 4 days, including Christmas. My aunt and uncle and cousins did this, as well. Our family is Catholic, so that means we go to Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With 11 people staying in one house and another aunt and uncle and cousins living nearby, we had lots of choices for Mass times and went in groups of 3 or 4 or 7 of whatever. But it was part of our Christmas tradition.

Don't get too focused on the need to see her on Christmas Day. Rather, focus on having a special Christmas with her. It might be too soon to really know what your family's Christmas tradition will be. Our kids are 7 and 5 and our traditions are still forming. But we make sure we have some special time, just us, at our house. It might not be on Christmas Day, but why should that make it any less special for our kids?

5 moms found this helpful

I'm sorry if I missed any details. First, I totally get not having your kid on Christmas is a bummer. But I also know that not being able to travel or include your kid in your side's events is also a bummer. With my stepkids, they have been to Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family once, and that makes me really sad. If we had them Christmas morning, their mom picked them up before we left for my side's events.

Christmas is an oddball for us because it is also my stepson's birthday. Many days we were watching the clock instead of relaxing. And if the other parent is early/late, that throws off the whole day. I would much rather have had a standard on/off like we do for Thanksgiving. Even as adults, they are here one year and there another. We never got Easter, as Spring Break was her custodial time. (Not doing anything with them on Easter was DH's choice as it is not as important a holiday to him.)

If you trade off years, then consider things like one parent gets Christmas Eve (maybe baking cookies to leave for Santa even if Santa knows to go to Mom's house this year) and one gets Christmas morning and swap at bedtime. Or have your own celebration later in the week. I love my in-laws for going "Okay, so...what day between December 22 and NYE works for everybody?" That way I get to actually ENJOY my in-laws vs rushing and I never have to miss my own family dinner.

My family events are 2-3 hours from here and my in-laws are fairly local. If you know that he will want to travel, then splitting the day will be harder in the long term. See above about my stepkids ultimately missing out on my family's traditions. You mentioned that he has a fiancee, so there may be more kids in the future and on/off will be easier as a family (same would apply if you remarry).

It sounds like you would like to split this year and then go to an on/off schedule. I would ask him to consider this as a transitional year. I would also look at the holidays and try to do back and forth. If you you miss Christmas, you get Easter. That way you aren't missing ALL the holidays one year. Just some of them. For things like Easter, there are often community events around the day, but not on it. On years you do not have her with you, do something in advance. My DD did 2 egg hunts this year, and then on Easter Sunday we were focused on church and Nana's house.

I give you a lot of credit for wanting to do the right thing by your kid and working with her father. It won't ever be entirely "fair" but you can get a close approximation. And down the road, if there is a standard in place, the kids will not fret who is going where. They will just know, and you can all have a better time.

3 moms found this helpful

I think dad should go ahead and have her. He should get to do Santa with her too. It's not just about you getting to do Santa for her by keeping her that one more night.

You have her every night and will get your Christmas before on the weekend. Let him have Santa this year. When she comes home you can tell her Santa left her something under the tree.

3 moms found this helpful

I would ask if he can pick her up on Christmas morning at your house . You can all have a quick brunch and she can open her Santa gifts in front of you both . This way you all get to be in on the magic of the day . If you are all not on speaking terms to do this , just ask if he can pick her up that morning so she can have her Santa gifts from you before she goes . I don't think leaving the night of the 24th is really fair to you or your daughter . Maybe you could offer to let him see her part of the day on Thanksgiving . Try to figure out what will be fun and fair for everyone , especially your daughter :0)

3 moms found this helpful

Splitting holidays is very stressful for everyone involved. I'd say you should alternate holidays between you and your daughter's father so that the parent in custody will be able to enjoy the day without worrying about wrapping things up in time to trade off your daughter. Let her father had Christmas since you had it last year. Santa can leave things at your house which she'll find when she comes home or you can make sure she knows that Santa is going to her father's house because that's where she is.

Not having a formal agreement is hard because you are basically making it up as you go. If you aren't going to have a formal agreement then please sit down and discuss this kind of stuff so that every situation isn't a major 'oh my god we need to figure this out' thing.

3 moms found this helpful

He had Thanksgiving lasts year and you had Christmas, it seems only fair to do a trade and you have Thanksgiving this year, and he gets Christmas. Splitting the day just makes it stressful for the child. You will be off on Christmas Eve, and there is still time for your husband to see if he can get the day off, or go in late or come home early. It is the fathers turn this year to have the actual day. He is fully right to want to be able to share the day with both his daughter and his family, you can have her again next year.

2 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.