Stepfamily Holiday Survival Tip #2:
Develop flexibility in your holiday plans.
Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Again, realize that this is only one celebration out of many others to come over the years. Next year, everyone will be a little more familiar with each other, and hopefully they’ll also be a little more accepting.
This is just one small step in the blending process, not the whole thing.
If Cousin Dave or Aunt Bertha just has to make a comment on the fact that, unlike last year, there is only one kind of pie for dessert, or that it looks odd that all your presents are wrapped in the same color paper, or asks where some particular decoration is that just didn’t have room with all the others, just let it roll off. Smile and comment on how much you like their home made fruitcake, and then tell them some little positive story to brag about your stepkids.
Being in a stepfamily means dealing with multiple family plans. Your ex — or your spouse’s ex — will most likely have family celebration plans of their own, involving your kids. Naturally, it will be easier if you can work together in cooperation to coordinate both sets of parents’ programs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. If your spouse’s plans conflict with yours, you will have to find a way to compromise.
(More on scheduling later.)
Remember that the purpose of family holidays is supposed to be for loved ones to gather and — well, love each other. If your family gets snippy about the seating arrangements around the dinner table, love them anyway. If they can’t seem to get over the changes, remind them how lucky you all are to have new family members with you. Don’t get sidetracked. Your goal is to have a relatively positive experience to help unite the whole family.
You are building a new family, with new traditions. Maybe one of those new traditions can be that little things don’t matter so much. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look back on a season of no big fights? Aim for that – no big problems. Little ones come with the territory.
Besides, if you get every little thing perfect this year, what will you have to do next year to improve on it?!
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[NOTE: this is an excerpt from our guide book, Beat the Holiday Blues.]
Watch for more guidelines between now and Christmas to help you survive and enjoy holidays with your family!
You are NOT alone! We love you and we can help.
God bless your whole, wonderful family,
STEPcoach Bob Collins