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Christmas As A Separated Family - Part 2 Letters to Santa

View profile for Liz Headley
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Ivy aged 6

Dear Santa, I hope that you don’t mind me writing to you, it’s just so you know that I am not in my usual house this Christmas. Something terrible has happened – my Mummy and Daddy told me that they don’t love each other enough to stay together in the same house and they both now have new houses quite a long way from each other. I don’t really like either of those houses and I now have to spend half my time with Daddy and half my time with Mummy.

I really, really miss Daddy when I am with Mummy and really, really miss Mummy when I am with Daddy. Neither of them really seems to understand how sad this all makes me feel. They keep telling me, it is for the best and I will soon get used to it, but I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon.

Santa, have you helped other children whose parents do not love each other anymore? Do their Mummies and Daddies ever start loving each other again and go back to their old house and live together again?

If I talk about Daddy when I am with Mummy, her face looks sometimes sad, sometimes angry, so I think it’s best not to say anything. If I talk about Mummy when I am with Daddy, he just walks away or starts talking about something different, so I can’t speak to him either. If they were so unhappy when they were living together, which is what they told me, why aren’t they happy now? Santa, could you help them realise that they have made a dreadful mistake and they will only get better if they start loving each other again.

Thank you, I will try my hardest to be good and please can you bring presents to both houses so I can open some with Mummy and some with Daddy.

Love Ivy


Ivy aged 7

Dear Santa, I hope you and your elves are well. I wrote to you last Christmas to tell you about my Daddy and Mummy splitting up and me having two homes. I asked if you could help them see that they had made a bad mistake and not being together was making them sad not happy, but you didn’t do that bit. Maybe you couldn’t? Maybe you can only give presents to children? Thank you for my presents, by the way. I did get some at Mummy’s house and at Daddy’s house.

I had really hoped that the three of us would be back living together this Christmas but that hasn’t happened, so I am sad about that. I had got a bit more used to spending time with Mummy, then spending time with Daddy each week and I have a nice bedroom in both houses, so that is good.

They both have to work a lot though to pay the bills, that means that I have to spend quite a lot of time on my own, which isn’t always fun. Both Mummy and Daddy say they get stressed – I think that’s when they tell me off sometimes, when I don’t think I have done anything wrong. They definitely get stressed with each other. They sometimes yell down the phone to each other, or text each other angry texts ( I can tell they are angry texts by the way they push their fingers and thumbs really hard on their phone when they are sending a message), I hate that. I also don’t like it when they moan about each other to me, it’s horrible Santa, I feel I have to agree with both of them. I also don’t like it when I’m asked to give a message to Daddy from Mummy or from Daddy to Mummy. What will happen if I get it wrong?

Please can you help me to make them happier Santa? I try to be good and not be a nuisance, but sometimes I just wish they would spend a bit more time with me.

Love Ivy


Ivy, aged 8

Hi Santa

It’s me again. I need to tell you about lots of things that have changed this year; some have been good and some not so good. I bet you are wondering if my parents have got back together? Well, no they haven’t, but my Daddy has got a girlfriend. She is really nice and she has got a daughter who is the same age as me! Daddy met her online and he says he is really lucky to have found her. She comes over at weekends and we do fun stuff together. I hope she will like me and Daddy enough to stick around, I hope she doesn’t decide that her and Daddy don’t love each other anymore and they split up. Can you help me to be the best girl I can be please Santa, so they stay together for ever?  

I also need your help with Mummy, she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet although I know she is looking for one as I heard her talking to her friend about it. Do you think she will get one soon, she is very pretty when she smiles? Mummy got very sad when I told her about Daddy’s girlfriend, she made me promise I would never love her like I do my Mummy. I know that would ever happen Santa, but please can you help me make sure that Mummy believes me.

Mummy also looks cross and upset if I tell her what we have all been doing at Daddys, so I need to make sure I don’t mention the fun stuff.

It’s all very tricky Santa, when will it get easier?

I really like making friendship bracelets, could you get me two kits? Could one please go to Daddy’s house, so I can make them with Beth and her daughter and the other one to Mummy’s house so I can make them with her?

Thanks, love from Ivy


Children have to try and manage their own emotions and sometimes those of their parents too.They can take on certain responsibilities which aren’t theirs to manage. Christmas can be a very emotional time for many different reasons, so please be mindful of the effects that your responses might be having on your children and seek out some adult support from family, friends or professionals for yourself so that you can allow your children to enjoy the magic of Christmas without feeling responsible for you.

Liz Headley has worked as an individual, couple and family therapist for well over 20 years and specialises in relationship issues and family breakdown. She can be contacted at Brethertons LLP, email: or mobile: 07387647791