A very close friend of mine recently got divorced, as in a couple of months ago. She has two children below the age of seven.
This is going to be her first Christmas in nine years as a single woman and mum and she is angry because she wants to spend Christmas day with the children and he wants the same. Neither of them wants to give in and it's not looking good.
Theirs was a long drawn out divorce that was shrouded in anger, animosity, hate and so much name calling that I almost forgot what their real names were!
Unfortunately, they often forgot that the children were present when they chose to fight out their negative (to put it mildly) feelings for one another.
Regrettably, this happened all too often, to the point where their little six-year-old would take her little brother out of the room as soon as she sensed that an argument was brewing.
While speaking the other day, Anna (I will call her that because that is her name), wondered out loud what she should get her little ones for Christmas.
"Peace," I responded.
She kept silent for a moment or two before asking what I meant.
"Give them the one thing that would make their Christmas a great experience. Give them peace. Stop the fighting and bickering while they are around and do it at your own time."
Ok. It didn't go down as well as I had hoped because according to Anna, I was blaming her for the disagreements and taking sides with her ex, who also happens to be a friend of mine.
That was not the case and to be honest, I refused to indulge her in this thread of a row waiting to happen and explained that I would have said the very same thing to Stefan had he asked me the same question.
If you, like them are trying to decide what gift to give your children, if you like Anna and Stefan are constantly fighting or arguing then consider, for your children's sake, to pull a ceasefire for as long as possible.
I mean, from the children's perspective, does it really truly matter, what day or date they get to spend time with you? Is that more important to them than actually spending some quality, fun, undisturbed time with you? Can you, for them, practice some flexibility around dates, days and time?
Celebrating Christmas with them on the 26th as opposed to the 25th for example, is really neither here nor there for them. They want a celebration, a ritual that they can enjoy and experience with you. And, sorry to be the one to tell you this, but once you are a parent, holidays are no longer about you.
Or look at this way - the parent that shows the most restraint in engaging in an argument is the one the children will grow to see as the one who provides them with the security that they need and the one with whom they feel safe.
So for Christmas, along with whatever else you're thinking of getting them, nothing is as special and as meaningful as a bag full of glorious peace. That goes much further than any other gift around.