When there are step children and step parents involved things get a lot more complicated, but when you throw in the extended step families, holidays can get downright chaotic.
- Make sure that you have a calendar with all of the dates and times of the events that your family has coming up over the holidays. Be sure to mark school, church events, special movies and most especially when you will have the kids. Share this information with grandparents, aunts, uncles and the other set(s) of parents and step parents.
- Talk with your spouse about what the most important things are for each person in your family to attend. Sometimes you need to be in one place while the other parent is in another place. This happens a lot more often with kids in separate school districts. Some things you will not be able to attend, but make sure that the kids all understand what you can, and cannot attend up front. If you are not sure if you can attend, let it be a surprise instead of disappointing the kids. If you have grandparents nearby involve them in activities that you may not be able to make the date. Grandparents love being involved with their grandkids.
- Talk to the kids about what’s important to them. You may have wanted to plan a night of caroling or viewing Christmas lights, but if the kids would rather stay in and have cocoa and watch a Christmas special a family night at home may be what you all need at a busy time. Kids, especially those who don’t live with you most of the time, want to spend time with you, and could care less if it’s a “big deal” as long as you put in time with them.
- If you or your kids feel like one relative or group of relatives treats the step kids differently when it comes to gift giving, than they do with their blood relatives, ask for a new tradition of going to an event together, family passes to a theme park, or just not exchange gifts. No one wants to feel like they aren’t being treated the same as their peers, especially when it comes to blended families.
- Make new traditions while preserving the traditions that the whole family enjoys. Maybe your kids enjoyed the tradition of chopping down their own tree each year before your divorce, if this isn’t possible for your blended family pick something new to try out like making a Christmas video for the family blog.
No matter what you do this holiday season, be sure to include the kids in your decisions. Whether it is what they want on the menu for Thanksgiving, or if they would like to go to their grandparents church service to be near their other parent, let them have a voice in your blended family.