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Christmas split??

Mumofsix22's picture

Is it too soon to ask what blended families do to tackle this day? First 3 were hell and last one was first all together in morning. So we have 6 kids, his hers and one ours toddler. Court resolved Christmas share which means we now alternative Christmas mornings by the year. Communication is none existent with Co parents and never had opportunity to share birthdays or Christmas special occasions etc easily. 

so this year we have Christmas dinner to Boxing Day.... my thoughts is we have a few stocking fillers and cash/vouchers in a card modestly. Step teen is furious.... last year we woke with them all and done the whole she ang, everyone having way too much when we can't particularly afford and set us back about £5000. Still complained.

So my question is... is it unfair allow the other homes to do the big morning and then focus on dinner and fun and small gift swap as token this year? We'll be back to waking with them next....

Survivingstephell's picture

You know what's great about being an adult?  You get to choose how you do things.  You do things that make sense for you situation,  you spend what you can afford and don't give into the need to complete with the other household.  You don't have to reward bad behavior or selfishness.   You get to set the tone of your home.  

We have 8 between us , his, mine and one ours.  We settled into Xmas Eve for us, Xmas day for them.  I was not about to give up my traditions for my bios in the name of a crazy.  BM wanted everything.  Did we have everyone together? In the beginning but on a day that worked for US.   Our bio always got  Xmas morning , she is 14 now so it's not such a big deal.  All the others are adults now.  

ndc's picture

You can do whatever you want - there are no hard and fast rules. 

BM here wants all the holidays, and DH doesn't care whether he celebrates with SDs on the actual holiday or another time. So we generally see the skids after Christmas.  We give them their gifts then, and they get the same gifts they would otherwise have gotten, the stockings that were filled at the same time as DD's, etc. They don't get fewer gifts because they weren't with us Christmas morning,  nor do we change our Christmas morning routine to wait for them.

JRI's picture

Our late BM was the holiday queen, big Thanksgiving dinners, big Christmas Eves.  Whatever.  When all 5 kids lived here full time, I loved Thanksgiving, the one day of the year I'd be sure all were gone, my bios with their deadbeat dad and the steps with deadbeat BM.  So, DH and I would stay in bed all morning then go out to eat.

BM made a big deal out of her Christmas Eve.  We did Christmas Day.   When the kids became adults, we changed ours to the weekend before  or after Christmas so they could accommodate their own families.  She was still holding to her old expectations, ie, everyone there at a certain time, sit-down meal, etc.  We gave them a time range and had buffet-style, it was more like an open house.  That seemed easier for parents of young kids.

I'm sure BM wanted things to be nice but her expectations, overwork and complex logistics meant there were many meltdowns.  Our flexible program was still a lot of work for me but easier on everybody.

In short, do what works for you.

strugglingSM's picture

I think the key from this advice is to be okay being flexible. For the first five years DH and I were married, he and BM split Christmas, with skids spending every Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with her and him getting skids from 10am on Christmas Day to 6pm on Boxing Day. This combined with a MIL and BIL who insisted upon still celebrating Christmas Eve meant that our Christmas Day was filled with us driving skids around to see DH's relatives, who still insisted upon seeing them, but refused to celebrate on that day. It made me hate Christmas. Then at a mediation four years ago, DH demanded a change to the Christmas holiday. He offered up extra CS for this and BM's lawyer told her to take it. Since then, it's been a year long fight where BM insists she won't follow the schedule on DH's Christmases and MIL working with BM so she can have kids on Christmas Day when it's BM's year (which BM uses on DH's years to argue she should have skids on Christmas Day). All in all, it's made me hate Christmas. We've had our last Christmas with skids before they turn 18 (at which point, DH told them they can choose where they want to spend Christmas) and honestly, I'm ready to stop celebrating it entirely. We now have kids of our own, though, so I feel like we need to do something. DH has started cooking prime rib for Christmas Eve dinner (which used to be his family tradition), even if it's just us. So, I think we'll stick with that. 

Oh and skids have never been satisfied with whatever we give them. One year, we spent close to $1000 on each kid buying skis and ski passes (discussed in advance with skids who said that's what they wanted) and on Christmas Day one of them cried and said, "you never get me what I want!" and said we should have gotten something off his list (in addition to the skis and ski passes, of course). The "list" that is sent by BM every year to DH and his family, only includes items that are over $200 or are things like socks and underwear. 

ESMOD's picture

I think what you are really asking is it ok to not spend much on your skids for Christmas.  It's absolutely fine to celebrate the day on a different time line.. but your gift giving should not be dependent on what you think they will get at another home.  You should be spending fairly equitably for all the kids.. you shouldn't have some kids opening significantly more than the others are tbh. it sets up resentment... 

BUT.. you also shouldn't be putting yourselves in the poor house because you have a bunch of kids.. buy what you can afford.. what the kids need.. and some wants.. and do it when you have the kids with you.

JRI's picture

Parity is/was my step-parent mantra.  We spent the same on bios and steps and each one received the same number of gifts at our house.  

The outcome was that the overall haul for each child was different due to unequal number of relatives on the bio and step sides.  So, my bios got a greater number of gifts since they had more grandparents and aunts whereas the steps got fewer but more expensive gifts from BM. 

That's life, things aren't always fair.  But it was important that at our house, no favoritism was shown in the gifts.  This worked with our kids who were all near in age.  It might need tweaking if the kids are far apart in age.

Thumper's picture

You are not wrong.

Sounds perfect !!!

Just tell them "THIS is how we are doing things this year". 

Rags's picture

It still isn't.

The visitation schedule was long distance.  Dec 25 was always my DW's.  Winter visitation alternated even and odd years.   Even years visitation started on the day school was out until Dec 24.  Odd years it was Dec 26 until the day before school started.  The SpermClan would not infrequently refuse visitation.

Once SS-31 aged out from under the CO, he has never been to SpermLand on any holiday.

Christmas is a huge deal in my family.  Whether we are all at my parent's home, or at our own with just our own family.  We have never considered what goes on at the other side's home.  

My brother's kids tend to spend holidays with their partner's families as much if not more than spending them with my brother's home.  If it is a year where we are at mom and dad's, all of the kids and their mates are there. Except for my nephew's wife. She has much younger half sibs and spends the holiday's with her mother, SF, and their kids.  My nephew tends to spend the holidays with his mom and dad or at my parents.

My families situation is in large part driven by all of us living as Expats. My parents raised their family internationally, my brother and his wife did the same thing.  We moved internationally after SS turned 18.  SS lived internationally for more than 5yrs.

I stand on the... we do our thing. Period. Dot.   What the other side does... is on the other side.

Do what you enjoy. Follow your traditions.  Do not give more meaning to the other side than they earn. Which in most cases, is no meaning at all.