Surviving the Holidays Without Your Children

It’s December again!  My office tends to see an uptick of restraining orders during this period.  Not necessarily due to increased violence, but rather as a strategy to obtain custody of the children over the holidays.

Hopefully, this blog post will help you if your parenting plan doesn’t provide you with custody this year (or in odd years).

  1. Have Christmas one week (month) early!  As with all things involving children, plan accordingly.  If your parenting provides you with Christmas custody on EVEN years, then you will need to celebrate early this year!  Purchase gifts, put up a tree, and explain to your child thta you are NOT skipping Christmas this year.  Rather, you are having TWO Christmases!  Incidentally, you can provide for parenting time every  year during Christmas.  Another good option.
  2. Facetime your children!  Even if you are not getting along with your ex, you can request a parenting plan clause that states that the children be able to Skype or Facetime you during the season.  This would also be great for the grandparents, who love to spoil grandchildren during the holidays.  It’s always best for children to have MORE love.

3. Do adult things!  If you and your ex cannot agree to a parenting plan that allows you to have time this year, do not fret.  There was a time you enjoyed holidays without any children!  Go to a real movie without cartoons.  Enjoy a long massage, and lounge in the steam room.  Take a long, uninterrupted bath.  CLEAN your house!  Drink a glass (or bottle!) of champagne!  Listen to adult music (no Elmo)!

4.Volunteer your blues away.  You think your life sucks?  Perspective!  There are plenty of organizations that allow you to spend time at the orphanages, donating gifts to needy children.  Cook a meal for a needy family with the Los Angeles shelters.  Go Christmas caroling!  Singing is always a pick-me-up.  I just googled it for you here, “holiday volunteer opportunities los angeles”.

5.  Consider hiring a mediator to redo your custody order.  As a Christmas present to yourself, consider asking your ex to visit a mediator (you can pay for it – Merry Christmas!), to change your parenting plan.

6.  Make a slideshow, photo/video gift from the pictures you took all year.  THIS TAKES TIME!!!  Time you don’t have when you are with your children.  Consider using this time to make memories of your children.

7.  Spoil yourself rotten.  Burke Williams.  Cartier.  Starbucks.  Quiet time.

8.  Take a trip.  LONG trip.  International.  With a passport.  Go to a place with a time change.  Enjoy.  Shop for souvenirs for your children to give them when you get back!!!

9.  Remember the true meaning of Christmas.  It is the season for giving.  Not receiving.  Don’t let your ex’s antics spoil your day.  Believe in the true spirit of Christmas.  Find the joy, dispel the anger.

10.  Remember that all parents (separated or still together) will eventually have to deal with not having the children over the holidays.  That’s right.  All children grow up.  Consider your trials and tribulations blessings.  You get to deal with this tragedy earlier in life!


For all of you – children, no children, single, divorced, married, “it’s complicated” — HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON, from the Law and Mediation Offices of Kelly Chang!!!!

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