giving a gift

Gift Giving for Divorced Parents

Gift Giving for Divorced Parents

With holidays around the corner, many parents are considering their best options for gift giving. However, divorced parents have a few more factors to consider when buying a gift that go beyond what their child put on the Christmas list this year.

The holidays are fraught with complications for divorced parents, but there are ways to approach the holiday season with confidence. Keep reading to learn more.

Buyer Battleground

Parents almost always have the best intentions when purchasing gifs for their children, but even the best intentions could be based on a sense of competition. After divorce, parents may feel the need to compete with one another on the price of a gift, or the exclusivity of a trip. Parents might be more inclined to spend more and/or buy in excess.

For example, if one parent buys their child a new video gaming system, the other may feel compelled to top the gift with a more state-of-the-art present.

Even if parents decide to share a gift, there can still be a sense of competition. For example, if one parent buys the gaming console while the other purchases several games, one parent may still feel slighted and believe that they should have gotten the console over the games.

This buyer battleground is complicated and often appears most keenly during the first post-divorce holiday season. Of course, this mentality can continue over time, but the first Christmas after a divorce is often the hardest.

So, how can parents avoid competitive gift giving?


While it is probably impossible to eliminate competitive impulses in some cases, it is important that parents do what they can to uphold a non-compete approach to gifts. Parents should not buy gifts to top the other spouse’s contribution. Instead, they should focus on fostering positive memories around the holidays and listen to what their children actually want.

Often, children want quality time with their parents and while material gifts are appreciated, having the chance to spend a holiday with both parents is more important. Parents should listen to their children to find out what their child is looking for from the season.


It is also important to note that not all gifts can be transported from house to house. Depending on the situation, one spouse may have the big TV or the game console while the other parent does not. This can make parents feel like their children have a preference or that the other parent is attempting to bribe the child.

Even if the latter were true, it is important to recognize that there are solutions to these issues that do not result in favoritism or disappointment. Parents should look for presents that can be shared between households so the child can have something they can cherish and both parents can rest easy.

Divorce During the Holidays

Divorce is a painful situation that can impact your family’s peace during the holidays. While the urge to compete with your ex about the value and grandeur of gifts, it is important to remember what the holidays are really about: spending time with loved ones. Children want the love and support of their parents more than material possessions so focusing your attention on creating memories rather than out spending one another should be a priority.

If you are considering divorce or are ready to file, Nichols Dixon PLLC can help you make an informed decision. Contact our experienced attorneys today for more information.