- It is not a competition. Remember that the holidays are about being with family. Do not try to give the biggest most expensive gifts or to make the most impressive dinner.
- If there is a court-ordered schedule, that is only if you do not agree. Do not rigidly insist on those days and times. Be flexible. Consider your child. Is it really better to force your child to leave the after-glow of Dad’s special pancakes or Mom’s incredible cinnamon rolls because the court papers say that the transfer should be at 10 AM? Perhaps noon, when things have calmed down will allow the child to fully enjoy the presents and the special food at each house.
- Make sure that your child has a card and a gift for the other parent. Even if the other parent has never taken the child to get you a gift, be the bigger person. Take your child to the dollar store, get on the computer and design a card together. Just do it.
- Speak highly of what the child will do with the other parent. It may not be your tradition to watch GameShow Network for eight hours on Christmas Day, but that is not important. Do your thing and let the other parent do his or hers. Vent about that stupid hoosier idiot to your best friend, your brother, your mother, on a LISTSERV. Not to or in front of your child.
- Be the bigger person. Greet the other parent with a smile and good wishes for the holiday. If the other parent has family in from out of town, offer to do the driving. Encourage your child to have a good time and ask about how it was afterwards. Be genuinely enthusiastic. Always, always remember that the greatest gift that you can give to your child every day is the right to love the other parent unconditionally, without condemnation from you.
If you do not have children, please pass this on to someone who does.