Christmas Parenting Time

Families that celebrate Christmas want to share the holiday with their children. Christmas holidays are loaded with exciting times and traditions. It’s a holiday filled with Christmas movies and music, decorations, Christmas trees, presents, baked goods and traditional meals enjoyed with loved ones. Christmas is even more magical for families with young children. Some families encourage their kids to believe in Santa Clause and to write letters, set out cookies, milk and carrots for the reindeer. These fun and exciting memories can last a lifetime. 

After separation, parents want their children to spend Christmas with them to continue with the fun traditions and loving memories. In fact, two Christmases is one of the few perks for children of separated parents. In some situations, separated parents find flexible ways to split the holiday. In other situations, a parent could need a court order to even call to say “Merry Christmas.”

How do court orders share Christmas?


Example #1 – Stat Holidays

Sometimes, the regular parenting schedule is only varied to share holiday time on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day:

          Commencing in 2022 and in even numbered years thereafter the (parent) shall have December 24 at (time) until December 25 at (time) and the (other parent) shall have December 25 at (time) until December 26 at (time).

          Commencing in 2023 and odd numbered years thereafter the (other parent) shall have December 24 at (time) until December 25 at (time) and the (parent) shall have December 25 at (time) until December 26 at (time).


Example #2 – Full Week

In many other situations, each parent is given a full week of holiday parenting time:

          Commencing in 2022 and in even numbered years thereafter the (parent) has the first half of the school break starting at (specified time) and the (other parent) has the second half of the school break until (specified time). The exchange is halfway at noon with the parent ending their time dropping off at (specified location).

          Commencing in 2023 and in odd numbered years thereafter the (other parent) has the first half of the school break starting at (specified time) and the (parent) has the second half of the school break until (specified time). The exchange is halfway at noon with the parent ending their time dropping off at (specified location).

In high-conflict parenting situations, it is very important to have well prepared court order or parenting plan that does not leave any room for interpretation. Learn more.

Interim court orders occasionally overlook the Christmas holidays when setting a temporary schedule. If Christmas is left out for whatever reason, the regular schedule decides which parent will have Christmas. A parent could be left without seeing the child during the holiday if the other parent is not cooperative. 

In high conflict situations: it’s uncommon for a parent to give up their time with the child without a court order. The child isn’t put first in these situations.

If you need a parenting order or if you want to change your current one, we strongly recommend working with a professional. An experienced family lawyer, a mediator or a parenting coordinator can help identify and avoid potential issues before they arise.

The Edmonton Family Network has connections to legal professionals and community support services available to help with difficult parenting situations. Email us to learn more.

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