The holiday season can be viewed as important family time. There are extended-family dinners, gifts to exchange, and cross-country treks to each other’s homes. This sounds like a wonderful time of year, right? Well, for blended families (who now make up over 50% of US households), spending this time together isn’t always so easy. There are schedules to coordinate, feelings to manage, and different traditions to somehow combine. The pressure of the holidays is enough for anyone; a stepfamily holiday can be even more difficult. When my husband Kevin and I spent our first holiday season together we were a few months into dating and had three teenagers between us. This led to a few less-than ideal situations, and I promised myself that I would find ways to make our new holiday celebrations truly feel happy and festive.
Twelve years later, I’m proud to say our family is bonded and looks forward to our holiday time together every year. It took effort from all of us, and now we are truly a chosen family. Read today and tomorrow’s blogs for practices to help you create your chosen family this season.
Create new traditions: It can be difficult to continue old traditions when your family looks different than it used to be. Instead of looking at the past and comparing how things were, do something totally new. One of my favorite holiday traditions was going to the Macy’s Department Store decorations on its 5th floor. Kevin and I took our kids to do this that first holiday, and the girls did not enjoy it because all they could focus on was the holiday traditions they no longer had. Now, we’ve created a new tradition of going to dinner and The New Standards holiday show together. It’s now a highlight we all look forward to every year and it’s our shared tradition.
We’ve also created a “Seafood and Sweats” night in place of traditional Christmas dinner. When we sat down and were creating new traditions as a family, we discussed what was important to us about celebrating; the kids landed on comfy clothes and really delicious food. Our new tradition was born! Every year we get together in our sweatpants, eat a delicious meal, and play games late into the night. There is a lot of laughter and the pressure to have a fancy, picture-perfect holiday event went away. It’s a little out of the box, but it’s exactly what works for us.
Find more practices on tomorrow’s blog!