Christmas is a funny beast when you’re separated

My eldest daughter arrives home from her school band tour of California this morning. My ex and I are heading to the airport to collect her soon.

I’m presuming the trip went well, going by the photographs I saw on the P&C’s Facebook page.

I received two brief text messages from her while she was gone, the last was sent over a week ago.

Ah, the joys of parenting a teenager.

I wonder how tired and grumpy she will be when she gets off the plane? Will she let me hug her? I think I might cry.

She’ll sleep off her jetlag for a few hours at my place, then head over to her dad’s apartment for the night, before coming back to me until Friday. We’ll have a pre-Christmas lunch with my family before the kids head off to spend 10 days with my ex’s family.

I’m joining them on Christmas Eve so we can be together on Christmas morning. Kinda weird, but also kinda good.

I’m glad we can celebrate together as a family, despite all that’s happened. It would feel a little empty to wake up on Christmas morning and not see their joyful faces.

I hear so many awful stories about exes using their kids as weapons against each other at this time of year.

I can’t imagine being that selfish.

Mind you, Christmas is a funny old beast even when you’re civilly separated. Two trees, lots of awkward decisions to make about gifts.

My ex and I buy each other presents for the kids to give us. What on earth do you give your ex partner? I think I’m getting a dust buster from mine.

I still buy all the gifts for my nieces and nephews on both sides post-split too. It’s always been my thing.

From the moment I got my first job, I’ve delighted in buying trinkets for my family. In the early years, I even sewed special little stockings to fill with treats for everyone.

Those days have passed, but the pleasure in finding the perfect gift remains.

I finished this year’s Christmas shopping last night. I’m pretty stoked with how it’s gone.

One of the presents actually brought a tear to my eye when I wrapped it.

I’m also pretty convinced the eldest will be blitzed by some of the stuff I’ve hunted down for her … fingers crossed a special delivery arrives from the US over the next few days.

And I’ve gone out on a bit of a limb with my mum’s gift … buying something for the woman who has everything gets trickier every year.

I’m a little sad my sister and I have decided not to exchange presents this year – I love choosing something special for her. But we’re both poor as church mice, both financially and time-wise, so it’s more a big relief.

We’ll simply clink glasses with each other on December 23, then I’ll pop in for a repeat clink on my way home from Christmas lunch with my ex on December 25.

What are your plans for Christmas?

Song of the day: Billy Mack “Christmas is all around”






6 thoughts on “Christmas is a funny beast when you’re separated

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  1. Separation is indeed a funny beast! It’s so different for everyone. I’ve been separated for almost 5 years now. To me, my ex is like a brother. I love him but I’m not ‘in love with him’. We always celebrate Christmas as a family – Me, my ex and the kids. I imagine we always will.

    However, I’m acutely aware of how fortunate I am that we can be so ‘functional’ about it. If he were just a teeny bit different or if I were just a teeny bit different, perhaps it would be impossible to get along.

    So many people out there are doing it tough in their separations and Christmas must be a very lonely time for them as they wave their children off to spend time with the ex. I think most people out there are doing the best they can – even the ones who are in dysfunctional marriage/relationship breakdowns. One can only control one’s own behaviour. If one’s ex is impossible or unreasonable, then the other is also doomed to suffer.

    Anyway, here’s to the people who have to cope with those difficult situations day after day! Those people deserve a medal for enduring!

  2. I would rather eat shit and keel over than have Xmas with my ex so your kids are very lucky. Hope you have something lovely planned for yourself while they are away. Happy Christmas 🎅

  3. My parents are divorced and honestly, it doesn’t affect me much, sure there’s more of travel time between my mom and dad’s house but other than that we’re just happy that they’re happy.

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