If charged with deciding, the court will determine matters in accordance with what is in a child’s best interests. As such, even if not what you want to hear personally, try and listen to your children, they may well help you in taking a step back from your own bubble and decide what’s best for them.
Good forward planning and open lines of communication with the other parent are essential when working towards organise your children’s Christmas. Despite past difficulties, there are families who are able to work together to the extent that they can celebrate Christmas together, although sadly this is not the usual situation. However, regardless of whether you and your former partner are on good terms or not, taking time to plan your child’s Christmas gives each other time to come to a mutual decision about what’s best: from selecting Christmas presents together or arranging how and where the children are going to spend time with each of their parents over the festive period.
And it’s not just parents to consider; modern families come in all wonderful shapes and sizes. One-size-fits-all arrangements will not work in all circumstances no matter how hard one tries - you are likely to have to factor in each side's extended family, there may be other siblings, and more - it takes time and effort to make the arrangements as special as they can be.
We have seen arrangements agreed where the children have spent the first half of Christmas Day with one parent, opening their presents and having an early lunch, before being able to spend the afternoon and evening with the other parent. Some families even have two “Christmas Days” celebrated with either parent and alternated each year, particularly if families are separated by distance and decide to take turns to have the children with themselves over Christmas or New Year.
It isn’t easy but it needn’t be difficult either. A little bit of seasonal good will can go a long way and we would encourage you to try and give a little to reach an agreement that will suit everyone involved, particularly your children.