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A New Christmas Arrangement

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
As some of you may remember Christmas was giving me some anxiety. Lately, more so. My heart was breaking so much for DSD. I can't imagine being a young child and being so bounced around on what is supposed to be a happy day... no tears. A child should never have to cry on Christmas.

The custody orders my DH had stated Christmas day be split in half at noon, chagning every year who gets Christmas morning.

I tried mentioning it to him a few times that I thought that wasn't the best arrangement and as sucky as it is not to see your child on Christmas... think of what it must be like for her to be bounced around sooo much on one day. A good portion of that day going to traveling!

I never really pushed it... then for some reason yesterday it was like some magical light bulb went off over everyone's head. My Mom and I were talking about it while my DH was working on his car and my Mom remembered the Bible story of the women who were fighting over a baby (please forgive me as I know some Bible stories, but don't have names memorized or anything )... anyway how they went to the King and the King decreed to cut the child in half so both women could have it. The real Mother spoke up right away to not cut the child in half but to let the other woman have it so it could remain whole and safe. The Kind knew instantly that this was the real Mother.

It just really hit home for me about the scrifices parents will make for their children. DSD never asked for her situation and her parents should suck up their feelings and deal with the situation instead of causing so much stress for her.

So last night at dinner I brought it up to DH again... one big thing that had not even dawned on him yet... This year we would be picking her up at noon... from her Aunt and Uncles house after she had Christmas morning with her cousins. He knew immediately what that would mean. Of course she would not want to leave her cousins after opening presents and playing with them. How miserable and awful would that be for her?? Then she would be miserable for a good portion of the rest of the day and it would just be stressful for everyone... most of all DSD.

At first he still said, "no way am I giving up seeing my daughter on Christmas..."

Then I told him the Bible story... all of a sudden his eyes filled with tears and he looked at me and asked if we had plans for Christmas Eve yet.. I said no, and he said we better think of something because he was calling his ex and saying they need to come up with a better arrangement but that DSD should not have to split up her Christmas day and he would give it up this year so she could stay and play with her cousins all day.

I just started to cry. I know how hard that was for him... but it made me fall even more in love with him. And I told him how proud I was of him and what a good Father he is and how much DSD will appreciate it when she is old enough to understand.

At first ex didn't want to go with it either, as the proposed plan was to switch Christmas Eve days and Christmas days every other year... then that magical lightbulb returned and she said... "oh! You are right! I can't imagine trying to pick DD up next year and taking her away from her little sister... no way DD is going to want to leave her little sister on Christmas! As much as I hate it... I know it's the best idea for DD."

So that is what we are doing. This year we will get her Tuesday night, do our Christmas Christmas Eve morning and DSD will be picked up after dinner that night to be with her Mom the rest of the evening and Christmas day... next year we will get Christmas Eve night and all of Christmas day.

Ex actually thanked me for thinking of DSD and what would be best for her.

It is sad knowing DSD won't be here for Christmas dinner again... but I am really happy knowing she will have a great Christmas with her family and have lots of fun playing with her cousins and not have to be put into a stressful situation trying to split her day up.

And already plans are falling into place for a really great Christmas Eve with her. My parents are going to come down early morning and we will all have breakfast together and then open presents. I am just really glad it is all working out...
post #2 of 32
I'm glad it worked out.

One thing that is helping me with it this year is to remember that it is the 12 Days of Christmas. I know a big fuss is made over the 24th as the Eve and the 25th as Christmas Day, but it goes on til King's Day on Jan 6.

post #3 of 32
What a heartwarming story. I'm very, very touched by your love and caring for your DSD.

My XH and I alternate Christmas, with the girls being allowed to spend both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the parent whose turn it is that year.

DH and his XW do the noon-on-Christmas-Day split, so this year DSD and DSS will spend Christmas Eve and morning with their mom and we'll get them at noon on Christmas Day.

DH and I had the same conversation last year that you had with your DH this year, JSMa. All the adults involved agreed that it would be best for DSD and DSS to not do the noon-switch anymore, but move to a schedule more like the one I have with my XH.

When we presented the new plan to DSS and DSD they were up in arms! They PREFER the noon-switch and were in no way interested in changing things. We were all baffled until we got to the heart of the matter. They like the noon-switch because they like having two sets of presents to open on Christmas Day! What a couple of imps!
post #4 of 32
My heart goes out to parents and their children who have to be apart on holidays (or any days).
post #5 of 32
That's great that you guys found a workable solution! It sounds like it really will be the best for your dsd.

When DH did his parenting agreement, he purposely proposed a holiday schedule that didn't involve DSD splitting any holidays because it has been so difficult (for everyone involved). This Thanksgiving was the first where we didn't go and get DSD in the middle of the day (we celebrated the following weekend) and it was so much less stressful and enjoyable.
post #6 of 32
I'm so happy for you that it worked out and that everybody could come to an agreement together! I know that must feel like a real triumph

We do the noon switch just for Christmas-Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, etc. we just switch by year. So far, dsd enjoys seeing everybody on Christmas-if there came a point where it was too much, we would definitely consider doing the EO year thing for Christmas too. I think she likes opening lots of presents too

Just out of curiousity- for those of you who only get your dsc on Christmas Eve/Day every other year and have other kids who live with you full time, do you just celebrate Christmas a different day? Or do you celebrate Christmas twice? Just curious!
post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
Just out of curiousity- for those of you who only get your dsc on Christmas Eve/Day every other year and have other kids who live with you full time, do you just celebrate Christmas a different day? Or do you celebrate Christmas twice? Just curious!

DD isn't quite here yet... (though I'm hoping any day now!! lol)

But I think we will just make Christmas a different day every other year and when she is old enough to know dates, if she still beleives in Santa then I'll just say, well Santa knows that sissy can't be with us this day so he is bringing your presents early! Or something like that.

And then we will still likely do a dinner with my parents or something on Christmas... but presents will always be the day we get DSD.
post #8 of 32
Good job on making it about what's best for the kiddo.

Our schedule has us alternating the holiday so that one gets from when school lets out (usually the 23rd) until the 26th, and the other gets from the 26th until the first of Jan.

For the past few years, their Dad has opted out of taking his 12/23-26 and taken them from 12/26 until 1/1. I certainly don't mind, but I do feel for the kids involved. For whatever reason, my ex and his wife also have her kids spend that period with their Dad (they used to alternate as we did). New Years Eve, my ex and his wife go to a party, her kids go to their Dad's, and our two stay home at Dad's. On their own. Makes no sense to me.
post #9 of 32
We switch Christmas Eve/Christmas Day every year...and while it sucks for us not to have DSD on Christmas Day every year, it's the most "fair" I think...

I hope the arrangement works well for you...

post #10 of 32
We have an ad hoc arrangement here, as nobody's terribly religious or has a strong family Christmas tradition. I think, unless she was traveling, my SD would be more interested in seeing both parents on Christmas (or any other day) rather than being at one place or the other. (Keep in mind that nobody's family of origin is near here, which means there aren't cousins to play with. By 11 am, it's cabin fever city. This may change if she gets a sibling, though I'm nominally Jewish, my partner's sort-of Unitarian, and we won't be raising a child with a strong Christmas tradition either.)

That said, due to work schedules and really nothing else, this year my SD will be with us through mid-day Christmas eve, then coming back the Sunday after. I have no idea what we'll be doing for Christmas. I'll have to work Christmas eve and the day after (because one of our attorneys is leaving, and I will be taking over for her after graduation!!!!!!).

Glad you found something that worked for your family!
post #11 of 32
My siblings and I did switch at noon on Christmas thing. It was fine.
post #12 of 32
We're a Chanukah AND Christmas type of family, so I feel that there's enough holiday spirit to go around that we don't have to celebrate a separate Christmas Day on the years the kids are with their other parent. Also, they're all old enough to know that it wouldn't really be Christmas.
post #13 of 32
Sounds like a major breakthrough that all 3 parents were able to come together on a solution that they think is best for your sd - congrats! Hopefully it's the start of a new way of doing things between you all.
post #14 of 32
That sounds great! I actually got tears in my eyes reading what you wrote.

It's amazing how "inspiration" comes to us sometimes when we are quiet enough to listen.

Kudos for your mom for thinking of that story. Have a wonderful celebration!
post #15 of 32
So happy for you. *hugs*
post #16 of 32
Wow - I am so impressed at how that worked out and that all parties seemed to put your DSD's first! My brother and I did the split every Christmas (and Easter) at noon thing, and hated it. Opening presents at one house and then leaving behind the people celebrating at that house was always really hard. Of course, the other parent tried to make the second half of the day special, but there is just something about leaving one family gathering to go onto another with a different set of people felt really disconnected to us. Switching on Christmas Eve night sounds soooo much better - you get to have a full days celebration with each family and the transition isn't artificial.
post #17 of 32
Just for the fun of it, here's a link to the actual story in the Bible ( NIV Translation )


I'm happy it's worked out !
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the link! I remembered the basis of the story, but not the whole thing... it's been a long time since Sunday school... lol
post #19 of 32
Thats a great story. I am glad you were all able to work something out
post #20 of 32
Originally Posted by plunky View Post
My siblings and I did switch at noon on Christmas thing. It was fine.
We did too, although as we got older and slept in later it evolved into a 2pm switchover. It was nice to see all of our family on Christmas - we would do breakfast/brunch with one extended family and dinner with the other.

It is GREAT that the OP was able to work out an arrangement that will really work for their family, though. I think flexibility is so important.
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