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Christmas Eve With Young Children After Divorce

Christmas Eve (December 24) is an important day for families who celebrate the Christmas season, and it's often a key part of parents' holiday visitation schedule.

Deciding Christmas Eve plans after a divorce can be especially fraught for parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Often both parents want to be part of the young children's early Christmas memories.

Putting a detailed Christmas Eve schedule in your parenting plan makes coordinating much easier, especially when your children are young.

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Christmas Eve schedule options

You can agree with the other parent on any Christmas Eve arrangement that works for your family.

Keep in mind that holiday schedules may need to change as children grow.

Split the day

Parents can divide Christmas Eve equally or according to their standard division of parenting time (e.g., 70/30).

In this example, children spend Christmas Eve morning with the parent who has custody the previous night. Then they're with the other parent for the afternoon and evening.

Since young children tend to wake up early, the morning parent still gets lots of interaction with the kids.

Give one parent the entire day

You can agree to give one parent the entire day based on each parent's preferences and celebrations. The other parent could have Christmas Day in exchange.

For example, if one parent's family attends midnight Mass or opens gifts on Christmas Eve, the children can spend the 24th with that parent, then spend Christmas Day with the other parent.

Celebrate together

Parents can choose to celebrate the holiday together, perhaps sharing a family meal or taking the kids to see Santa. However, this arrangement is only recommended for parents who had relatively amicable divorces and who can spend time together without conflict.

Alternate yearly

Many parents alternate who has Christmas Eve each year. Your children might spend Christmas Eve with you in even-numbered years and with the other parent in odd-numbered years.

Use the court's standard schedule

When parents can't agree on their parenting time schedule, the court decides in a custody hearing or trial. Many courts issue a standard visitation schedule that includes Christmas Eve.

For more information, see our guide to visitation in your location.

The easiest way to make a holiday visitation schedule

There's a lot to think about when you build a holiday schedule. You'll want it to address weekend and midweek holidays, reflect special occasions unique to your family (like birthdays) and work for years to come.

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. Just open your Custody X Change calendar and follow our steps to make a holiday schedule.

To make a custody schedule quickly and affordably, turn to Custody X Change. You'll get written and visual versions that meet your family's needs, as well as court standards.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Explore examples of common schedules

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