Considering the Designated Holiday Schedule

Have you considered the Designated Holiday Schedule?  Have you even heard of it?  Unlike the Alternating Holiday Schedule where the child flip flops between parents every other year, the designated schedule allows your child to experience the once a year holiday the same way, year after year.

As a twice divorced mom I can hear the caring parent’s hesitations about considering this schedule (“No fair I don’t get my child at all on Thanksgiving!”), but this isn’t about what you want. This isn’t about getting “your fair share” of your child’s holiday time.  This isn’t about your winning or losing out on holidays. This is only about making your child’s holidays the best they can be.  And your child’s holidays are the best when they are filled with tradition, consistency, and love. 

Designating holidays allows your child to repeat traditions every year. (And not comparing it to the other parent’s traditions, which is inevitable in the Alternating approach.) Foster that sense of tradition, continuity, and security by adopting the designated holiday schedule.

As your child is spending yet another Christmas [or said holiday] with his or her other parent, you can smile knowing that you allowed their beautiful tradition to continue and grow.  Acknowledge through any of your sadness that you truly did nurture your child’s spirit in giving them that gift of tradition.  But remember that part of that tradition includes you!  Whether it’s a card or video message to be opened that morning, a mid-day call, or your child passing out party favors that you made together - the options are endless as to how your child can know your love when you’re apart.

Delving into the designated holiday schedule may be one of the toughest parts of your divorce negotiations but looking back 15 years later for my older and 4 years later for my younger child, I can tell you that they have both greatly benefited from the designated holiday schedule.  … and I’ve learned to adapt - and even enjoy -  the solo holidays.

It’s worth considering.


Mindful mom, thinker, and author, Ellen Kellner, guides parents through The Pro-Child Way® of nurturing their child’s spirit through her intuition, discernment, and experience.  Designated Holidays relates to “Divorce Situation #12: Setting the Holiday Schedule” from The Pro-Child Way®: Parenting with an Ex  Available on

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