Stepfamily Holiday Survival Tip #5:
Begin new traditions just for your new family.
Every family, every clan, every culture has its own special traditions for holiday celebrations. You developed deeply rooted patterns in your former household, and so did your spouse’s family. Many stepfamily conflicts involve couples trying to continue to do things the same way they always did them. This is a recipe for trouble!
Some stepfamilies have been successful at this by keeping some elements from each side’s traditions and blending them into a new pattern. But the selection of what to keep and what to toss out can lead to feelings of “What I want is not important to you!”
Far better, many believe, is to scrap all the old ways and find new traditions.
Begin by letting everyone have a say about what they would like to do. But it is important that everyone is part of the process. Keep a positive attitude about the process.
Ask other families what they do. If you are members of a stepfamily support group (and you should be!), you may find suggestions there. Look for unique activities. There are more ways to celebrate than eating contests followed by TV football marathons.
Here are a couple of examples from post support groups:
Have a cookout. If you live somewhere warm, that’s OK, but this activity will be more of an adventure if there is snow involved! Roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Look at the stars in the crisp, cold sky. Tell funny ghost stories. Carols are optional.
Make a time capsule. Place photos, notes, letters, items with special significance in the capsule, make sure it is water tight (use super glue or caulking), and hold a ceremony as you bury it.
The point is to look for new activities you can repeat year after year to develop a kinship between the new family members.
Changes don’t have to be bad. Keep a positive mental attitude and lead your new family into a new future together!
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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