Coping with children’s Christmas present competition after separation

Christmas present competition may be experienced between you and your ex-partner over Christmas. It is best to avoid gifts becoming a source of conflict, particularly as it is a conflict the children will be affected by and involved in. Here are our tips to minimise the tension around gift buying.

  1. Whilst together, you and your partner will have paid for your children’s gifts together. Decide what will work best for you in the new situation, whether it is buying separately or together.
  2. Communicate; you could consider agreeing on a maximum spend if buying separately to avoid financial issues and over-indulging the children. Discussing what you will buy for the children may be helpful in order to avoid the same gift being bought by each parent.
  3. A joint gift will show unity between you and your ex-partner. Consider a joint gift alongside smaller gifts bought separately.
  4. You could help your children to prepare gifts for their other parent. This could ease tension and demonstrate that you approve of their relationship with their other parent.
  5. Gift competition may extend to the wider family, so it may be useful therefore to discuss in advance the issue of gifts with any grandparents who may want to spoil the children, or even attempt to be in competition with each other.

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