Christmas is considered one of the most joyful times of the year, but there is no shame in admitting it can be one of the most stressful too! Relationships can be the support network for many people, and festive stress can be a significant burden for separated families. January 3rd is considered “Divorce Day” strictly due to the increase in relationship breakdowns over the holiday season. Here are some tips for you to avoid some of these stresses and have a truly happy Christmas!

Be honest about finances

Let’s be honest, we all want to buy extravagant gifts for our friends and family. You can’t beat the facial expression of a loved one unwrapping the gift they have always wanted. However, you must be realistic and remember that Christmas isn’t all about materialistic items and big gestures. Remember, you can also make personalised gifts to cut costs, get creative and have fun! You don’t have to break the bank.

You and your ex-partner may wish to discuss the items you are going to buy jointly or separately to reduce cost and possible duplicate or similar gifts. You will also need to discuss what toys/items can go to which house. Some parents agree that the toys/items can follow the children to whichever house they are staying in, and some parents agree that certain items remain at a certain house. Agreeing this decision in advance can reduce stress on the parents and ensure the children are not confused or disappointed.

Red Piggy Bank

Keep a mutual list of Christmas activities

Most commonly, this would be a calendar or schedule. Admittedly, putting this much thought and planning into the Christmas period may potentially take away some of the magic, but if you have a shared calendar with your ex-partner, you will be able to make notes of each other’s plans and avoid any disappointments or miss out on any other activities. Find out from your ex-partner what is important to them and how they want to spend the Christmas season, as you might be able to come to a happy medium. As we all know, relationships are all about compromise, and Christmas is no exception.

Quality time with your nearest & dearest

Christmas is a hectic time of year, and you want to fit in as many visits to friends and family gatherings as you can to get the most out of the holidays, not to mention the office work parties and the fun nights out! But you need to prioritise the ones closest to you, those with very busy schedules or an intense work life.

Ensuring the children can be a part of all family traditions

Family is a massive part of the Christmas season, so it’s essential to embrace this. You may not always get on with your ex-partner’s family or enjoy some family traditions and cultural beliefs, but ensuring that the children have a fair amount of time with each family and are a part of both family’s traditions will make them feel happy, secure and included. This is sometimes difficult if previously things were done in a particular way but now you’re not living with your ex-partner, the routine will no doubt be different. Retaining a child focus on all arrangements is important and sometimes means accepting change and compromise and allowing plans to be different.

Children making Christmas cards

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to admit when you need help. This can be applied to several different circumstances, but whatever the case is, remember you can rely on people. If you aren’t feeling the festive spirit and are finding the inevitable stress of Christmas is getting too much, don’t hide it.

We want your Christmas to be perfect, along with everyone else’s. But it doesn’t hurt to approach the busiest time of the year with some forward planning and a realistic expectation of what you and your ex-partner can do with your time. If you are currently struggling to resolve a relationship break down amicably or just want support from specialists to help form holiday arrangements, take a look at our mediation services.

Child Arrangements for the Christmas period

For most separated parents when there is no agreed child arrangements for Christmas, it can cause upset and stress and make what to most is a happy time of year the complete opposite. It may be worth you sitting down with your ex-partner and having an open dialogue about what you both think should be the arrangements for the children over Christmas and New Year.

How family mediation can help

If you need to discuss your finances in relation to separation to try and free up some cash for Christmas or you would like to agree with your ex-partner the schedule of arrangements for the children in and around the festive season, family mediation is the way forward.

Family mediators are the facilitator in a joint discussion with your ex-partner. They will enable all potential arrangements to be discussed, including making sure both parties are heard during the mediation. They will also test your arrangements to make sure they will stay strong when a disagreement may arise in the future.

To find out more about family mediation please click here.

Christmas Presents Father Christmas PNG

Funding for Christmas Mediation

As explored in this resource we understand that the festive season can be extremely expensive for some families and you may be thinking I need mediation but cannot afford it. Well, to help families with child arrangements in mediation, the Ministry of Justice created a voucher scheme enabling parties with up to £500 towards their mediation. To find out more about the family mediation voucher please click here or schedule a free consultation to see if you qualify for free mediation.

We hope you have enjoyed this resource and that it has been beneficial to you. Just a gentle reminder that all of the content on this website including resources, blogs, articles and content on web pages, is prohibited from being used or copied in any public domain unless stated otherwise. Access Mediation Services is also not responsible for the accuracy of these resources nor responsible for how people use the information we provide in this information.

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