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don't be a Grinch after your divorceThe jolly old man in the funny red suit is sure to come to most homes with children this holiday season.  However, does he come pursuant to the standard possession schedule for Christmas access before December 28th?  Or does Santa opt for a retro Family Code celebration mid-day on December 26th?

At the end of the holiday, if the transition from mom’s to dad’s house is smooth and seamless, you can give your child a gift they never ever knew they needed but will cherish forever: effective co-parenting.

Whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply winter break from school or daycare, it is important to make it a special time for the children.  Arguments over exchange times or final custody orders can flare up at these times, and you need to remember that these are also the times that matter the most to your kids.

They deserve a wonderful holiday season. Just because you do not live together with your spouse does not mean that you both cannot work together to provide this to them.

Even if you practice different religions from your former spouse, or don’t observe religious holidays at all, you should embrace the secular extravaganza as a chance to remind your children that they are loved.  If this is your first holiday post-order, consider making new traditions: Elf on the Shelf, cookie baking, the Nutcracker, Dickens, fireside chats or even Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve.  If you want to cling to the old traditions that your kiddos hold dear, so be it.  But don’t begrudge your ex for the traditions that they are building with your children.

So when you get the last minute call that dad is running late because of that “darn traffic at Northpark mall,” cut him some slack.  Likewise, if mom is harried and frenzied over her new in-laws coming over and asks if you can pick up little Sammy at 4:00 instead of 6:00 p.m., work with her to create the best holiday possible for your children.

Above all: Don’t be a Grinch!