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Who Gets the Kids At The Holidays?

We all have family traditions we want to pass down to our children. When you get married or live with someone, those traditions usually change a little. They transform and before you know it, you are sharing the holidays. You spend Thanksgiving with one side, and Christmas with the other. Or you host one year and next year, you don’t. Even though you’re sharing the holidays, it’s not so bad because you’re always with your children.

But now, you and the other parent no longer live together…so, what happens now? The situation feels a lot different. But the fact is, you still share the holidays.

It’s very typical to divide the holidays into even and odd years. One parent gets Thanksgiving on even years and the other gets it in odd years. But questions still invade:

  • Whose time is it?
  • Whose holiday is it?
  • Do I get the make-up time?
  • What happens to our regular parenting time?
  • When am I supposed to celebrate?

While these questions are important, the answers aren’t the most important thing to remember around the holidays. The most important thing to remember is to share the joy with your children no matter what day you celebrate!

Kids just want to be with you. It’s less important to them to be with you on the exactly right date. They’re happy to have two Christmases, two birthdays, two Thanksgiving dinners, and two Easters! They won’t be upset to have twice the fun, twice the presents, and twice the dessert.

As adults, we sometimes lose our focus, especially when it comes to holidays, traditions, and our kids. But don’t let your focus be a specific day of the week or the date on a calendar. Instead, focus on being with those you love, cherishing that time, and sharing the joy of time together. So, this holiday season instead of dwelling on the typical issues, try thinking:

  • When can I get my family together?
  • What activities should we do?
  • How do I make the most of the time we have?
  • What food should I make?
  • How do I make this holiday special for everyone?

Remember if you are feeling the strain of the holidays, your children are, too. So instead of trying to fight over who gets what holiday, make every holiday count, whether you celebrate on the true “holiday” or not.

Looking For More Advice?

For more helpful tips on navigating holidays post-separation or divorce, read up on a few of our other blogs! If you have additional questions, we've compiled helpful resources for divorcing parents in North Dakota and Minnesota. Additional resources on child custody in North Dakota and child custody in Minnesota are also available.

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Victoria S. Konidaris

Victoria joined Gjesdahl Law, P.C. in 2018. Victoria is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba where she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Winnipeg. She is d…
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