It’s time to talk about holiday gifts with your co-parent

It’s time to talk about holiday gifts with your co-parent

Do you think it’s too early to talk about the holidays and gift-giving? Think again. Wal-Mart has already started its holiday layaway program for the year, and it won’t be much longer before all the Christmas goodies start showing up in stores.

This means it’s time to talk to your ex-spouse about setting some “gift guidelines” for the holidays.

Why should you and your ex work together on this?

You’re living separate lives, so why aren’t you both free to do as you want? Well, because you can end up either in competition with each other or driving each other crazy — and that is going to set a frustrated, unhappy tone for the season.

If you both want what is best for your children, the best thing you and your co-parent can do is work together to create a frictionless holiday atmosphere and a united front where the kids are concerned.

What sort of things should you discuss?

The number one thing that you need to discuss (and agree upon) is a budget for the kids’ gifts. According to a 2017 survey, the average parent spends about $330 on gifts per child, However, everybody’s budget is different.

Ultimately, you want to avoid financial strain for either party — particularly if one of you is more financially secure than the other. Establishing a workable budget and deciding — in advance — how much each of you will contribute to the overall cost of gifts can avoid a lot of tension.

You should also sit down with your co-parent and set some ground rules in place around the following subjects:

  • What gifts are not acceptable? Is there a ban on R-rated video games? Is your pre-teen too young for an iPhone?
  • What gifts should come from you both? If your child wants an expensive laptop, for example, is it fair to split the cost (and the joy) of providing it?
  • Can gifts travel back and forth between homes? If your ex buys your child an iPad, are they allowed to take it to your house? Can the game system you bought travel to your ex’s home?

Working these kinds of issues out early can help you avoid nasty conflicts and unpleasant custody and parenting plan disputes over the holiday season.