The holidays are stressful for many people, but can be especially so for blended families. Unique families require unique solutions to their problems, so here are some tips to help navigate the holiday season and still have some good cheer.
- Communication and planning- think of the entire holiday season, not just a couple of days. That will give you the opportunity to spread out the events so that all family members can participate. Consider that the days leading up to and after the holiday can be a part of the festivities.
- Communicate with all family members well before the holiday, to try and avoid any last minute changes. Families and children get along better when they know what to expect, as much as possible. Be flexible on time but strict on communications.
- Start your own traditions and rituals, blending some of the old with new. Have each child bring one idea that was meaningful to them, into the new family. Make time for all the children’s ideas to be a part of the new family tradition.
- Put aside your ill feelings towards your ex and model some good behavior for your own children- adhere to the custody agreements, help your children with picking out gifts for their other parents and decorations for the other house. This will help them feel more in control of the situation, and give them a sense of belonging.
- Do something different from the usual- try having appetizers and finger food instead of a full sit down dinner, open presents three days before Christmas, plan a craft or game instead of the usual movie. Being different will create a sense of fun and energy.
And if things seem to be falling apart, remember two things:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is not perfect and the holiday won’t be either, so try and relax
- It will get easier with time- as the years pass you will have more traditions that you can count on.
Have a good Christmas!
Kelly Chicas 2011