The first holiday season after divorce can present challenges for parents, including giving their children gifts. Many are navigating economic changes resulting from a divorce; some parents want to “make up” for a difficult year by giving a child whatever he or she wants.
These circumstances can create conflicts between parents that make gift-giving incredibly stressful. However, there are ways to make this aspect of the upcoming holidays a little easier for everyone.
Set – and stick to – a budget
A divorce can have a considerable impact on your financial resources, making it especially important to review your finances and set a budget. Then, stick to that budget to make the post-holiday season less stressful.
Keep in mind: The holidays will come to an end, but people who overspend can wind up paying for it for months to come. Thus, careful spending can be critical.
If you and your ex are amicable, you can work together and coordinate gift-giving efforts. Doing so can ensure you do not double up on gifts or spend a wildly different amount than the other person.
Consider divvying up the items on your child’s wish list in a way that is fair and agreeable.
Further, try to avoid making the holidays a competition. Though it may be easier said than done, taking a non-competitive approach can reduce stress and help you focus on positive aspects of this season.
Get creative with gifts
Parents may want to take a more creative approach to gift giving during the holidays for several reasons, from keeping costs down to restrictions on spending time together.
No matter how old your children are, there are several non-toy, creative gifts that can be just as exciting. And right now, it is easy to find lists of ideas like this one.
Instead of traditional gifts, you might consider giving experiential gifts, like taking a class together. You could also make a homemade present, like a photo album or knit hat. Another idea is to give your child something to make life after divorce easier, like a phone to text parents or fun things to put in their new room.
Finally, remember that showing your child love and support is something that every parent can do, regardless of financial situation or proximity.