ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Divorce Strategies: Should You Make Your Child Attend Two Thanksgiving Dinners?

Updated on June 2, 2014
Attending two Thanksgiving dinners can be stressful for children of divorce.
Attending two Thanksgiving dinners can be stressful for children of divorce.

Dealing with your divorce at Thanksgiving presents both emotional and logistical difficulties.  Issues surrounding the holidays are even more complex when you are sharing custody of your child with your ex-spouse.  Both parents want to be involved in the child’s celebration of the holiday, but this can result in the child being stretched thin in a painful tug-of-war.  Besides causing short-term frustration for you, your co-parent, and your child, memories are created over the holidays that will affect the child’s long-term psychological development.  The challenge of making everyone happy can add unwelcome stress to your Thanksgiving celebration.  And the question remains: Should you make your child attend two Thanksgiving dinners?

To answer this question, several others must be answered first.  Here are some things to consider when deciding how to share custody over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Can You Set Aside the Issues of Your Divorce so You Can Do What’s Best for Your Child?

Even if some time has passed since your divorce became final, the holidays can resurrect old hurts and resentments.  It may be difficult not to bring your own emotional pain to bear on your decision-making concerning your child, but that must be your goal.  If you have a binding custody arrangement, dragging in issues surrounding the breakup of your marriage will only complicate matters.  You’ll end up conforming to the rules of custody, in all probability, but will cause more stress for you and your child in the process. 

Celebrating Thanksgiving together with their children is possible for some couples even after divorce.
Celebrating Thanksgiving together with their children is possible for some couples even after divorce.

Can You and Your Ex-Spouse Celebrate Thanksgiving Together?

As far-fetched as it may seem given the animosity and trauma that typically accompany divorce, some co-parents eventually reach a point where they can celebrate holidays together amicably for the sake of their children.  If you decide to try this, it might help to have dinner in a restaurant rather than in someone’s home.  If the divorce is still fresh, or if you, your ex, or you child harbor fantasies that you and your co-parent will reconcile, this option may not be feasible.

Can You and Your Co-Parent Celebrate Thanksgiving on Different Days?

This option minimizes discussion about details, so it is a good option if this is your first Thanksgiving after the divorce. For example, your co-parent might celebrate on Thanksgiving Day, while you serve turkey and dressing the following Saturday. This allows you and your co-parent time with your child and acknowledgment of the tradition while alleviating the stress – and too-full tummy – of two Thanksgiving dinners on your child.

Can You or Your Co-Parent Forego Thanksgiving Dinner with Your Child?

The other parent can take the child out for shopping and lunch on Black Friday or to a fall festival or other community event.  This neutralizes the holiday so your child won’t feel pulled between her parents, or, even worse, forced to choose. 

Whatever Your Decision, Can You and Your Co-Parent Present a United Font to Your Child?

Try to have discussions with your ex-spouse about holiday logistics out of the range of your child's hearing, particularly if things tend to get heated.  Then present the final decision to your child as one you have reached together and on which you are in complete agreement.  Though you aren’t a couple any longer, your child needs to know that both parents are on board with the arrangements to feel comfortable with your decision and safe in her world.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)