Create New Holiday Traditions

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There are many ways to Split Custody Over the Holidays, and doing it in advance as a part of your parenting plan can help you avoid last-minute stress and negotiations. Regardless of the schedule or the day, you can use the opportunity to create new and special holidays with your kids.

Of course, negotiations between where to spend Christmas Eve or how to celebrate birthdays have been going on for as long as you can remember. Extended families and friends alike all have different ideas and ways that they believe holidays should be celebrated. The pressure to celebrate in the ‘right’ way can feel stressful. But with so many different options, why not create your own new traditions?

A Date is Just a Date

On July 1st, Canadians get together to celebrate Canada Day. This holiday includes backyard BBQs, ceremonies, and even fireworks. For some Canadians, this is an important day.

What did you do on July 1st? Well, if you’re not Canadian, chances are you went to work and didn’t even realize the day mattered to other people.

Now consider December 25th. On the calendar, it is just another day. To those who don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s a day that restaurants are a little less busy or that roads are quiet.

The point is that a holiday is made special because of the meaning and love that go into them. If your custody schedule says that your co-parent gets the kids this year on Christmas, but you get to spend Christmas Eve together, build a day of fun on December 24th.

So, if your Thanksgiving meal is enjoyed on a day other than the fourth Thursday of November, not to worry, it's a sure bet that the kids won't complain about eating more pie!


Embrace Your Roots

In previous years, you may have had arguments about what kind of mashed potatoes are better or if you could serve your grandma’s traditional recipe for stuffing. Instead of arguing, get your children involved in making a family recipe. Talk to them about members of the family they may not have had the chance to meet. FaceTime or call family members in other places and have them tell stories from when they were little.


Get Creative

You are making the traditions here, so anything goes. Think about the most memorable holidays you had growing up and consider pulling any elements from those years. If you enjoyed holiday movie marathons with pizza, make a list with your kids of the films they want to watch and make special hot cocoa as you go through them.


Create Your Framily

Call on your friends, family members, and neighbors and offer to host a meal. Bringing people together and spending quality time is the essence of most holidays. Reaching out to others who may be feeling lonely or isolated will allow you to bring joy into other people’s holiday season as well.



Shelters, soup kitchens, non-profit organizations, and hospitals in your area are likely looking for volunteers to help deliver their holiday programs. In areas where in-person activities are limited, there are still ways to reach out to your community, such as joining a reach-out program and speaking to elderly citizens over Zoom.

Acts of kindness and investing your time into helping others will allow you to spread even more joy, and it might turn into a tradition you do year after year.


Other Tradition Ideas

A few other ideas for your new family traditions include

  • Hosting a Bake-Off

  • Go on a scenic tour of your area to see lights and decorations

  • Decorate your home

  • Journal about your year or make a family scrapbook

  • Write holiday cards to friends and family or drop off hand-made gifts and treats


Quality Time

No matter the day, your children want to spend quality time with you. Create activities and opportunities to connect and make memories. Your holiday season will be special and memorable, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.

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