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After having divorced from my wife, I am trying to maintain a sane relationship with her, and one of the things I have strived for is complementarity with our three kids.

In other words, I try to avoid duplicating toys, games and paraphernalia between her place (when the kids reside 50% of the time) and my place.

She has already prepared a nice Christmas tree with the kids at her place. Should I disregard altogether the Christmas tree at my place, or should I prepare with the kids another one (possibly different in some fashion)?

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    This is very much a personal opinion question -- How much does Christmas mean to you personally, either from a religious or tradition perspective? How much did it mean to your family, how much does it mean to your kids? – Acire Dec 11 '17 at 18:47
  • @Erica I don't think it is opinion-based. In general terms, after divorce, should we strive for duplication or complementarity? – Joe_74 Dec 11 '17 at 19:07
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    Some things will always be duplicated (various necessities of life) in a multi-household family and others not -- so where Christmas trees fall on that spectrum of "necessary" is where this becomes subjective. Ultimately only you, your wife, and your kids can evaluate how different a holiday decoration should be in your different homes. – Acire Dec 11 '17 at 20:26
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I admire the practical desire to not duplicate toys, items and experiences with your kids. They probably don't need two of the exact same toy or need to go to the zoo with mom one day then back the next day with dad. But some things will be duplicated out of necessity (your kids have clothes, beds, food, etc at both houses right?).

Other things will be similar but not the same. For example, if your ex-wife takes the kids to the park to play, does that mean you are henceforth prohibited from taking the kids to the park? I should hope not. You can both take them to the park and bond with your kids. And I'd bet that how you do the park is a bit different from how your ex does it.

So if celebrating Christmas is important to you, by all means, set up your own tree. You shouldn't restrict how you live life with your children just because your ex did it first. Live your life according to what's important to you. Let your kids bond with you over those things. Some of those things are probably important to both you and your ex. And that's ok. That just means your kids might get two Christmases with two loving parents that they will remember fondly for years to come. And more positive experiences like that will be very good for them.

Personally, I can't imagine celebrating Christmas without some kind of tree. For our family, we always got ornaments to commemorate different things we did, like family vacations, births of children, etc. And decorating the tree with those ornaments has always been a very important part of Christmas. So if I were in your shoes, a second Christmas tree would be non-negotiable. It would be time to relive memories with the kids and make new ones.

  • I had two xmas trees growing up. One at Mom's, one at Dad's. Oh boy were they different, but both special. Xmas trees for me and my sister represented family and the act of decorating them was very much a "family activity" to us (not to mention, both parents simply liked have a tree). – BunnyKnitter Dec 12 '17 at 19:19

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