We get excited for the holidays in our house! As a blended family, holidays change each year depending on if it’s an even or odd year. One year we have all four kiddos for Christmas Day and the next year we have them Christmas Eve morning.
This was a challenge for me to come to terms with. Why do the littles have to change how they celebrate every other year? As a blended family, I wanted to share a mom’s viewpoint. The joys and sometimes difficulties of a blended family seem far more apparent during the holidays.
Blended Family Holidays
I try to keep positive as I consider how blessed we are. We have 4 healthy kiddos and a roof over our heads. But thoughts sneak back into my mind. “It’s not fair that Santa has to come on Christmas Eve every other year.” Or I am talking with my husband and we see we can’t go to an extended family event because we need to be back to take custody of the girls in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend.
Family. Schedules. Traditions. Schedules. Holiday Parties (Virtually). Schedules. I had not considered how schedules would rule my holidays when I became a stepmom. How my “perfect” holidays were going to have to look very different now.
Holidays are unique with a blended family. Especially a family that includes two toddlers and a 9 and 13-year-old. Traditions were made before I came into my husband’s life. Not the same traditions I had or pictured for my children. So how do I handle the holidays? I have three ways to survive the holidays so I can keep the holiday spirit and my sanity.
The first way I survive is to find one tradition and make it a priority. Plus keep an iced coffee handy! By having a yearly tradition, I can count on having normalcy in the holidays. In our family, we always pick out a special ornament for one another. We draw names. Then we are able to keep it a surprise and secretly get one. And these always turn out to be memories we don’t forget. One year my son got his biggest sister a pink dog. Mind you that she hates the color pink and we don’t have a dog. I remember him being so proud when he picked it out. The beaming smile and excitement when his sister opened it. We will always treasure these ornaments.
The second way I survive is to set aside time each week to journal or think about the past year and all the events or moments we have had. Being a stepmom can be difficult when you feel you are constantly being compared to another person. From the first day, I promised myself the comparison game was not going to consume me during the holidays.
That is much easier to say than to do. With our situation, we sometimes get the girls after they have just received all their presents at their mom’s house. They come back all excited about what they got. I then doubt that our gifts will be as good as what they just got.
I make sure to have them give each family a different list of gift ideas (and always get a gift receipt!) unless it’s something they want at both houses. After four years of having blended family holidays, I now know what triggers my negative thinking. I keep my journal near and go back and read all the wonderful memories I have from the year.
The third way I survive is to either buy or make a handmade item for each kiddo. I decided I would buy one based on a memory I have of them from the past year.
I know how much the older girls enjoy getting one on one time with me or my husband. Last year I bought tickets for my younger daughter to go to Dancing With The Stars Live with me. We were able to have a girl’s night and make memories we both still look back on fondly. I made my son a room decoration wall I knew he would enjoy seeing each night because he loves every sport.
I have learned to keep my kiddos at the forefront of the holidays and be flexible on the day we celebrate. I can keep the holiday spirit alive for myself and take time to enjoy the small moments with my family. Each year may look different and Santa may come on different days but the holidays are always going to be special in our family.
By changing my attitude and views of the “perfect” holiday I can now see the beauty of a blended family holiday. And how wonderful our family traditions are!