11 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Your Kids to Give Your Co-Parent

The holidays are fast approaching. But after a divorce, the holidays can be a mixed bag of emotions for co-parents. You may not have the kids for the holidays. Your traditions won’t be the same. You may have had a contentious divorce and aren’t feeling especially jolly toward your ex. 

But despite your feelings, you know that keeping things positive and harmonious for the kids is your most important responsibility as a co-parent. Helping your children choose gifts for your ex can help turn the tide of antagonism into one of unity and may even help bridge some gaps between you. Go ahead and put your animosity aside for now. The kids will appreciate it – and hopefully, so will your ex-spouse.

Gifts for your co-parent

The age-old tradition of gift-giving at the holidays is all about love and appreciation. Given the last few months or even years, it can also be a peace offering. After all, what matters now is how to make this time the best possible for your children. So put on your jolly elf hat, grab the kids, and seize the (shopping) day. 

Gifts for $15 or less

Kids, especially younger ones, get a lot of joy out of giving the simplest gifts. These can even be more meaningful (and cost next to nothing) when they’re handmade. Homemade gifts will be especially appreciated by a co-parent who only sees the kids some of the time or is missing them around the holidays. Online, you can find plenty of crafting options and online tutorials for handmade gifts. Or, consider some of our ideas.

1. Wish jar717gYsaa7FL._AC_SL1500_

If you have an empty vase or jar around the house, you and your kids can decorate it as a holiday wish jar and fill it with holiday trinkets, photos, and special wishes. You can find ideas and printable wish templates here. Or, if you’re not especially crafty, you can find some cute and sentimental gift kits like this one.

2. Handmade coupon book

Let the kids think of all the fun ways they can spend time with your ex. Then, make a coupon book for these activities. Need some ideas? Here’s a good resource

3. Handprint note cards

Your ex will appreciate a handmade gift reminding them of how small your kids once were. These handmade note cards are as functional as they are adorable, and your younger kids will get a kick out of making them. 

Read: Celebrating Holidays with Divorced Parents: Minimizing Guilt and Grief

Gifts for around $30

Practical gifts with a touch of personalization? What could be better than something functional that reminds them of the kids or that they can use with the kids? Here are some options.

4. Personalized artwork water bottle

Consider giving your co-parent something they can use every day to remind them of your kids’ love and appreciation. How about a personalized water bottle with your child’s artwork, handwritten message, or photo? 

5. Gift cards

While gift cards can seem impersonal, that doesn't have to be true when they’re for places and activities that your kids and ex can enjoy together. Putt-putt golf, bowling, the movies, their favorite pizza restaurant – these kinds of gift cards can encourage more time spent with the kids, and the kids will have fun choosing where they want to spend special time with their other parent. Tuck it in a card with a photo of them enjoying this place together in the past for an extra tug at the heartstrings.

6. Personalized gifts with meaningScreenshot 2023-11-15 at 3.52.54 PM

Your co-parent will appreciate anything that lets them know they’re loved. Whether it’s a book personalized with your child’s name, a family tree frame,  or a personalized tee shirt, they’ll love the sentiment and effort you put into it. 

Suggested: Your Divorce Holiday Survival Guide

Gifts for around $50

Consider your former spouse’s hobbies or likes. Capture some memories to compile together. Gifts don’t have to be overly expensive to pack a lot of emotional punch and let your co-parent feel cared for by your kids. 

7. A curated gift basket

Whether your ex is an Epicurean foodie or just a junk foodie, your kids will have fun filling a basket full of their favorites as a personally curated “gourmet” basket. What about a s’mores gift basket, a Super Bowl snack basket, or a DIY charcuterie basket? You can get some other ideas here

8. Personalized calendarMIN-S6C-CLD-002A_A_PZ

Nothing speaks to a parent’s heart more than pictures of their children. And a personalized calendar with photos of the kids will be a treasured gift.

9. A photobook of memories

Speaking of photos, sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish make it easy to assemble a beautiful memory book that your ex will love and make the holidays special. Let your kids choose images to put together in a photobook for your ex

Gifts for $100 or less

10. Create an experience

You’ve always believed that experiences were more meaningful than stuff, right? Plan an experience that the kids can share with your ex. It might be a ball game, a spa day, a fishing outing, or dinner and a movie night.

11. Digital picture frame loaded with kids’ pictures 

Digital picture frames are perfect for family members (and ex-spouses), and many allow you to share photos of the kids easily through an app. 

Your divorce may have been difficult, but creating new ways to share positivity and respect can make your co-parenting arrangement more pleasant and respectful. At the very least, your kids will have fun shopping for or making a heartfelt gift for their mom or dad. 

Take the kids shopping, let them choose a gift, and talk about how happy it will make the other parent when they open the package. This is the perfect time to show your children that even if two people choose different paths, their relationship can still be harmonious. 

Divorce and co-parenting can be tricky around the holidays. At Hello Divorce, we have plenty of resources to help you along the way and make the transition easier for you and your children. 

Suggested: Is It Better to Get Divorced before or after the Holidays?

Head of Content
Communication, Relationships, Personal Growth, Mental Health
As Hello Divorce's Head of Content, Katie is dedicated to breaking down the stress and mess of divorce into clear, helpful content that delivers hope rather than fear. Katie most often writes about the emotional toll of divorce, self-care and mindfulness, and effective communication. Katie has 20+ years of experience in content development and management, specializing in compelling consumer-facing content that helps people live better lives. She has a Master's in Media Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Katie lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable cats, and you can find her hiking and bird watching in her free time.