Christmas and other special days

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  • #59071 Report


    My husband a I separated a year ago, we have two children, age 7 and 3.

    They have adapted well to our current arrangements, they live with me and see their dad every other weekend and ad hoc.

    They obviously do miss him being around all the time but I think they are doing very well and as a result they (and their dad) make the most of the time they have together, much more than they did before. Which is so lovely to see.

    I wondered if I could get some advice/opinions on how you all treat the special days such as Christmas and birthdays?

    Last year we spent Christmas together, as a family. Each of the girls birthdays, their dad came over first thing for a few hours. But I am very aware that children need consistency and also for their parents to be happy, for them to be happy. 

    Our relationship ended due to unfaithfulness by my husband, whilst I don’t let this affect how we interact face to face for the relatively small amount of time we see each other, I’m not sure whether I can pretend to be best buddies over a prolonged period like the whole of Christmas day. Frankly, it makes me feel incredibly overwhelmed, it’s almost a tease of the life we could have had if I’d only been enough for him. I muddled through it last year, because it was still such early days, but now he wants to do it every year.

    I have a lot of concerns, but my main concern is ensuring we prioritise their happiness, but in turn, I don’t believe we should make ourselves unhappy in the process. I love those days with my children and spending it feeling awkward would taint it so much. My oldest us extremely sensitive and picks up on the slightest feelings. And it’s only going to get more complicated, not less, if either of us were to start a new relationship.

    It feels like there are no ideal options, so I’d really appreciate perhaps understanding what others find works for them so that we can make a balanced decision that works for us all as a separated family.

    Thank you in advance, if you managed to get to the end! 🙂 

    #59078 Report

    Andrew uk

    Not yet had to deal with Christmas. That’s still to come!! We separated last year. Last Christmas I went over there for about an hour. Problem is I don’t have a car. Currently she isn’t letting me see the kids so this year I’m assuming i will be completely on my own and not seeing the kids.

    Why don’t you do one year on one year off? Christmas Day you have them then the following year he has them. The year you don’t have them you see them on Boxing Day. Or he has them at his from Christmas Eve until Christmas Day afternoon, then swap around next year.

    It’s my birthday next week. I won’t even be allowed to have a zoom call with them let alone see them.

    #59082 Report



    I do shared half days. So he could have them over for lunch, then you can have kids for dinner?


    #59132 Report


    I’ve been separated for 4 years now. The first year I went to his (with his new partner) and it was excruciating!

    We then did a year whete we did half day each….my little one was exhausted, this was just too much excitement for her.

    So now we alternate, one of us has her birthday week, the other has Xmas week.

    It works OK for her, but he stopped allowing phone calls so thats really painful over special dates.

    I hope you find an arrangement that works for you znd your kids 🙂

    #59140 Report

    Andrew uk

    Thank you. Alternate Christmas and birthdays is a good idea.

    #59143 Report


    Thanks for your perspectives, it really is helpful.

    Sorry you’re going through such a hard time trying to see your kids Andrew. Not all women are like that, I promise.

    I’m still struggling with the idea of alternating Christmas so we’ve discussed half day split at 2pm so that we each get around 6/7 hours each.

    I know from last year that trying to do a “family” Christmas just isn’t going to be enjoyable and if the children sense the tension, it’s just not fair on them.

    We’ll see how this year goes with that plan!

    #59144 Report

    Andrew uk

    I agree. I couldn’t do alternate years either. Xmas Day midday to Boxing Day midday makes sense. Then it works out to half each. And swap next year so you can see them when they wake on Xmas morning.

    #59146 Report


    My kids mum and I did agree (verbally which is now proving to be a mistake) to alternate Christmas. There’s no way we could do a shared Christmas day together, it would be horrific and my kids would certainly pick up on it so it’s not in their best interests for us to do it anyway.

    So…… the first year she had them Christmas Eve to 2pm Christmas day and i then had them through til the 28th Dec.

    Then last year we swapped, i had them Christmas Eve till 2pm Christmas day.

    That way we could take it in turns playing Santa and then the other person gets to have a Christmas dinner with the kids and any other family members.

    It does mean we have to tweak our set schedule (one week with, one week without) but not by much. If we didnt do this, my kids would always be with their mum at Christmas which isnt fair to me or the boys as they do enjoy spending it with me and my family too.

    It worked well for the first two years, my kids didnt have an issue but now unfortunately their mum is being difficult so get any agreement in writing!

    For the kids birthdays we let the other parent have time with the child on their birthday, so if the child was with me that day they would go spend a few hours with their mum and then come back to me. That works well for us and the kids are fine with it.

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