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How to Shop For The Holidays as a Divorced Parent

gift bags in car trunk

The holidays are a time when many divorced parents feel the pressure to get it right. How do you shop for your children when you no longer share a home? It can be tricky, but with a little bit of organization and cooperation, it can be done!

Plan Ahead Before Shopping

While it might seem excessive, planning ahead before doing your holiday shopping can help save you stress and money over the holiday season. Discuss with your ex what types of gifts you would like to get for your child and plan your holiday shopping list before you search for Black Friday and other holiday deals.

When working with your ex, it may also be helpful to set a budget or agree on how larger gifts should be gifted to your child. While you might not notice that one parent tends to buy the “bigger” gifts for your child, your child might notice that one parent tends to gift them smaller gifts while the other tends to go all out. With this in mind, you might consider splitting the cost of larger items and gifting them jointly or agreeing that one parent will buy the gift while the other will gift something similar of value to your child.

Together, you can build a general holiday shopping list for your child, so you can make sure your child’s holiday season is extra special. Once this list is done, then you should go ahead and begin shopping, wrapping, and preparing for holiday gift exchanges.

Avoid Alienating Your Child from the Other Parent

While it may be tempting to use the holidays to one-up the other parent, remember that this is about making your child happy — not winning a gift-giving competition.

Gift-giving should not be used as a way to exclude or alienate your child from their other parent. No matter how difficult co-parenting may be, remember that your child deserves to have a relationship with both of their parents. Choose gifts that will bring your child joy, not fuel tension between you and your ex.

If you believe your ex is giving high-valued or highly desirable gifts to your child with the intent of parental alienation, contact a trusted child custody attorney. They can help you determine if your child is undergoing parental alienation and help you create a plan to move forward.

Practice Best Shopping Practices

Shopping over the holiday season can be thrilling, especially with stores decorated and sales encouraging you to shop your best.

When holiday shopping, you can do a few things to make the process easier:

  • Be intentional with your shopping: While you’ve made your holiday shopping list with your ex, you can always continue to plan ahead to determine where you will buy each item. Some stores will have gifts on sale while others offer price matching, curbside pickup, and even next-day delivery. Planning these purchases can help you as you begin your shopping experience.
  • Keep your receipts: In the event of duplicate purchases between yourself and your ex, keeping your receipts can help make the return or exchange process smoother. Make sure to keep these receipts away from your children so they can’t guess what you have in store for them!
  • Discuss any last-minute gifts with your ex: While you don’t need to run everything by your ex, you might wish to share any last-minute gift items you’ve picked up so they can be prepared. It is totally understandable to pick up a few extra gifts that you believe your child would love, but keeping communication open can help limit conflict regarding gifting in the future.
  • Shop without your children: While this may seem like a no-brainer, carving out time to holiday shop while your child spends parenting time with their other parent can be helpful during the holiday season. You can take the time you need to shop and wrap gifts alone without the worry your child will interrupt your planning.

With these tips in mind, you can help keep the holidays magical for your family.

Offering Diligent & Devoted Legal Counsel

The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and celebrating family. Don’t let gift shopping add unnecessary stress to what should be a happy time. By planning ahead and keeping open communication with your ex, you can easily navigate holiday shopping as a divorced parent.

Are you preparing for your first holiday season after your divorce? Schedule an initial phone consultation with our attorney today to learn more about how we can help you with your family law matters this holiday season. Call us at (310) 736-2063 to get started.

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